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Rail News: Mechanical

Idle reduction initiative pays dividends for Alaska Railroad


The Alaska Railroad Corp. (ARRC) on Friday announced it has marked significant progress with a recently launched Locomotive Idle Reduction Program (IRP).

As part of the program, the railroad moves inactive locomotives indoors during the winter to avoid unnecessary idling, and reduce fuel usage and emissions. The IRP changes a standard practice of allowing diesel locomotives to idle in a yard to keep engines from freezing. ARRC employees now move locomotives into a warmer shop area, where engines are turned off.

Proposed by ARRC employees in part as a cost-savings measure, the IRP required a coordinated effort to make room in shop space that's typically limited, particularly in winter, ARRC officials said in a prepared statement.

"This is a perfect example of an employee-driven idea producing great results not only for the company, but for our railbelt neighbors as well," said President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Aadnesen.

In the first three weeks of implementation, IRP helped the railroad reduce fuel usage by more than 24,000 gallons, equating to savings of nearly $80,000.

"As we gather more information and history, we expect to further validate our numbers," said David Greenhalgh, ARRC's director of crew management and transportation services. "The next phase will track the positive environmental impact from fewer emissions."

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