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Union Pacific Railroad investing $20 million into CO² reductions

Follow @WDMEllaCopeland Union Pacific Railroad is investing $20million in new technology designed to reduce the diesel emission output of freight locom...

Freddie Pierce
|Aug 20|magazine5 min read

Union Pacific Railroad is investing $20million in new technology designed to reduce the diesel emission output of freight locomotives in California.

Twenty-five experimental locomotives will be based in two of Union Pacific’s Californian rail yards as part of rigorous testing on a rage of emissions-reducing technologies. This is the latest move by Union Pacific to reduce emissions in accordance to the US EPA’s Tier 4 locomotives emissions standards for new vehicles commissioned from 2015.

The experimental locomotives are intermediate line-haul units, which have an operating range of approximately 200 miles. The vehicles will be used exclusively in California, where nine units will be tested through operations in the Colton rail year, whilst the remaining 16 experimental units will work out of Roseville for operations in northern California.

One locomotive based in Roseville will test the combined use of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), diesel oxidation catalyst and diesel particulate filtering. By testing the combines benefits of these three technologies in one vehicle, this unit is the closest an Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) has come to achieving Tier 4 standards. The move towards Tier 4 is made of a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen emissions compared to the current Tier 2 standard, in addition to an 85 percent reduction in particulate matter emissions. The emissions reduction will be analysed over the next 18 months by the California Air Resources Board in collaboration with Union Pacific.

All of the experimental units based in Colton will be fitted with EGR technology, whereas the remaining 15 have the capability to be retrofitted with EGR and other emissions reductions technologies as a testing progresses. The 15 vehicles in Roseville are partially funded by the Proposition 1B – Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program.

"The testing and analysis of these locomotives is part of an ongoing initiative at Union Pacific to develop and use technology in pursuit of emissions reductions," said Mike Iden, Union Pacific general director, car and locomotive engineering. "This effort is emblematic of our continued commitment to provide environmentally responsible freight transportation."

Photo credited to Vincent McMorrow-Purcell