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Metra forms task force to examine, resolve emissions issues


Yesterday, Metra announced it hired an independent firm to study the agency’s diesel emissions and will form a task force to propose ways to improve air quality. The actions are in response to a recent Chicago Tribune article that raised concerns about Metra’s diesel emissions on downtown Chicago platforms and onboard trains, according to the agency.

Metra has contracted Carnow, Conibear & Associates to test air quality at stations, and onboard locomotives and passenger cars as soon as possible. The agency is seeking assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to help develop protocols for the tests and interpret the results.

Meanwhile, Metra held a summit yesterday with union representatives, freight-rail partners, Amtrak, and federal and state regulatory agencies — including EPA and OSHA — to review its response to the news article. Metra officials asked the attendees to join a task force to investigate the emissions issue and propose ways to improve air quality. The task force will examine: ventilation systems at Chicago Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center; air filtration systems onboard Metra trains; cleaner alternative fuels; and ways to invest in cleaner technologies.

“We have done testing in the past addressing the issue of locomotive emissions,” said Metra Acting Executive Director Bill Tupper in a prepared statement. “However, we must now come together to reassess what work has been done regarding this issue and collectively determine meaningful and tangible solutions as we go forward.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/10/2010