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Rail News: Mechanical

Canadian railway association report: Roads' fuel usage, emissions haven't risen along with traffic, ridership


The Railway Association of Canada (RAC), Environment Canada and Transport Canada recently released a report showing the nation’s railroads reduced fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in 2003 despite moving 30 percent more freight and passengers compared with 1990.

Entitled “Locomotive Emissions Monitoring Program for 2003,” the report shows railroads moved more than 323 billion revenue ton-kilometers and 57 million passengers three years ago, but used only 1 percent more fuel, and emitted fewer air contaminants and about the same amount of NOx compared with 1990.

Railroads are using more modern, environmentally friendly locomotives, and lighter-weight freight and passenger cars, which have helped reduce fuel usage and emissions during the past decade, the report found.

“The whole 2003 workload — freight and passenger — was handled by just 2,893 locomotives, said Bruce Burrows, RAC’s acting president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. “The railways, and their customers, [also] have benefited from federal demonstration programs that have helped fund fuel reduction initiatives, such as electronic fuel injection and electronic stop-start systems that reduce the amount of time engines idle.”

To continue cutting fuel usage and reducing emissions, railroads will need to make more changes to train handling practices, create advanced training programs and form additional co-production arrangements to improve asset utilization, the report states.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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