Norfolk Southern, the giant Class 1 US railroad has unveiled the nation’s first of a new class of rail yard locomotives developed with federal funding assistance to reduce emissions in urban areas. The company operates over 22,000 route miles in 22 eastern states, with its most common hauled commodity being coal. The railroad also offers the most extensive intermodal network in eastern North America. These new engines are branded “Eco locomotives" for their operating efficiencies in reducing emissions and fuel consumption. The 3,000-horsepower engines meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s strict Tier-3 emissions standards for locomotives. Norfolk Southern’s Atlanta yard eventually will put to work 10 low-emissions Eco locomotives this year.
Annually, the 10 units will account for 6.6 fewer tons of particulate matter and 155 fewer tons of nitrogen oxides pollutants generally associated with smog and acid rain. As more Eco units are delivered to Atlanta in 2016, the clean-air benefits will be even greater.
The Eco units were designed and built by Norfolk Southern at its Juniata, Pa., locomotive shops using components from locomotive builder Electro-Motive Diesel, a division of Progress Rail Services, a Caterpillar company. The project was funded in part by grants from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ). The Eco units unveiled today feature a stylistic green paint scheme with a Georgia-shaped icon and the slogan “Working Together for a Cleaner State.”
Additional CMAQ grants will lead to future placement green rolling stock with Eco locomotives at Norfolk Southern’s rail yards at Macon and Rome, Ga., and at Chicago.
“In addition to lower emissions and fuel savings, benefits include operating efficiencies, as each Eco unit can replace two older, less-efficient locomotives,” Mark Manion, Norfolk Southern’s chief operating officer, said. “Over the last five years, we have significantly lowered greenhouse gas emissions of our locomotive fleet, achieving an 8.5 percent reduction per revenue ton-mile. Rollout of the Eco units demonstrates Norfolk Southern’s continuing commitment to industry leadership in sustainability best practices and environmental partnerships. Our transportation operations at Atlanta are central to serving customers throughout our network and beyond. We consider it a corporate responsibility to mitigate the environmental impacts of our rail operations, and we thank the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Division, the city of Atlanta, and other cities and customers all along our lines that partner with us to achieve this goal.”
“Through a phased implementation of lower emissions standards for locomotives, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has worked with the rail industry to bring about cleaner air for communities,” said Beverly Banister, division director of EPA’s Region 4 based at Atlanta. “The Eco units supported by grants from CMAQ will help ensure that yard switcher locomotives adhere to cleaner, healthier air quality standards.”
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