Tuesday 6 May 2014
News from UIC Members

United States: Amtrak celebrates Earth Day with repowered locomotives that reduce diesel emissions

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Amtrak is doing more to solidify its energy efficiency and highlighting a project this Earth Day (held on 22 April) that replaces the engines in two locomotives with new energy-efficient generator sets at terminals that switch railcars between trains and in shop facilities. The newly-repowered generator set “GenSet” locomotives are now used daily in Washington, D.C. Amtrak previously began using GenSet locomotives in Los Angeles, Oakland and Chicago.

Traditional locomotives have a large diesel engine idling continuously when in service. GenSets have two or three smaller, independently controlled engines that shut down when not in use. This engine configuration helps reduce diesel fuel consumption by about 50 percent and produces fewer pollutant emissions.

Using GenSet locomotives improves air quality and reduces the direct exposure of rail employees, passengers and nearby residents to diesel emissions. “GenSet technology is an example of our commitment to providing environmentally-sustainable and energy-efficient service,” said Joe Boardman, President and CEO. “Amtrak is working to meet the nation’s travel and mobility needs while mitigating the impact of our operations on the environment.”

A $1.8 million Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grant awarded through Environmental Protection Agency’s National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program is supporting the repowering of two older switching locomotives into GenSet locomotives for use at Amtrak facilities in Washington D.C., and in partnership with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen/District of Columbia – State Legislative Board.

“This repower project shows how area leaders are working together to continue the trend of improving air quality in our National Capital Region, which experienced no Code Red unhealthy days last year,” said Washington, D.C., Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who serves as COG Board Chairman.

Visit the Amtrak blog for more about Amtrak sustainability efforts.

(Source: AMTRAK)

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