Thursday, September 29, 2011

SoCal "Green" Railroad Takes Delivery of New Tier III Locos

The short-line railroad servicing the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, already recognized as one of the greenest in the nation, has received the first of 16 locomotives the rail line is retrofitting with state-of-the-art clean-burning engines to slash rail-generated emissions in the port-area even further.

Pacific Harbor Line, which provides rail switching services for the ports and their nine on-dock intermodal terminals, as well as dispatching services for about 90 intermodal or unit trains per day, began retrofitting the locomotives with the new ultra low emission “Tier 3-plus” engines this summer, and expects to have all 16 upgraded by early 2012.

The new Tier 3-plus engines emit 85 percent less diesel particulate matter and 38 percent less nitrogen oxide than the previous generation engines they are replacing. The older engines, which came online three years ago, had already reduced pollution dramatically compared to previous generations. Overall, the Tier 3-plus engines represent a reduction of diesel particulates by 95.6 percent and nitrogen oxide by 67 percent compared to engines that were servicing the ports just five years ago.

PHL operates a total of 23 locomotives servicing the ports complex. The new engines are being installed in Tacoma, Washington, by Progress Rail Services Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc.

About 85 percent of the retrofit program funding was provided through a $12 million grant from the Carl Moyer Program, administered by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and California Air Resources Board.

The Long Beach and Los Angeles ports facilitated this project by entering into agreements with PHL that made it possible for the railroad to commit to the long-term use of ultra low emission locomotives.

Railway Age Magazine, one of the oldest railroad industry trade publication in the nation, named PHL the top US short-line railroad in 2009, citing the railroad's environmental efforts.