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Ethanol business will drive up Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd.’s (IAIS) traffic next year. So, the regional is taking delivery of 12 new Evolution™ Series locomotives from GE - Transportation this year to meet the demand.
Costing $2.2 million each, the 4,400-horsepower GE ES44AC locomotives will be 18 percent more fuel efficient than other alternatives, including rebuilt locomotives, that the railroad considered, said IAIS President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Miller in a prepared statement. GE will manufacture the locomotives at its Erie, Pa., plant and deliver them by Oct. 1.
“One of the new units will pull a train equivalent to what two or three of our current units can handle, further reducing our fuel consumption and maintenance costs,” Miller said, adding that the locomotives will comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s latest emission requirements.
IAIS’ traffic has increased more than 50 percent during the past five years. After five new ethanol plants start up within the next year, the regional’s traffic will jump up another 25 to 30 percent, Miller said.
Founded in 1984 and owned by Railroad Development Corp., IAIS operates 500 miles of track between Omaha, Neb., and Chicago, and interchanges with seven Class Is.