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AAR recognizes UP's Iden, Sen. Udall as 2012 Chafee award recipients


The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has named Union Pacific Railroad General Director of Car and Locomotive Engineering Michael Iden as the recipient of the 2012 John Chafee Environmental Excellence Award. The association also honored Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) with the 2012 John H. Chafee Congressional Environmental Award.

The awards are named after the late senator from Rhode Island, who was a strong advocate for conservation and environmental causes, and appreciated the environmental advantages of rail transportation. The Chafee awards recognize a railroad employee and member of Congress who have demonstrated “the highest level of environmental stewardship,” according to the AAR.

In New Mexico, Udall worked to pass some of the state’s first environmental laws. He has continued the work in Washington, D.C., by promoting policies to protect natural resources, improve air quality and clean up hazardous waste.

A 38-year rail industry veteran, Iden has helped pioneer more than 40 new fuel efficiency improvement and emissions reduction technologies, such as battery technology in locomotives, materials that reduce friction on rails and aerodynamic drag from double-stack trains, and ultra-low-emitting locomotives.

In addition, Iden’s work with distributed power on longer trains has helped improve UP’s locomotive productivity 20 percent. Testing he did with older locomotives on coal trains led to a 20 percent increase in locomotive productivity and fuel improvements.

Five other railroaders were nominated for the award:
• Keith Ebbeskotte, a work equipment plant manager with CSX Transportation, who has reduced the Class I’s carbon and emissions footprint through the introduction of Tier 3 engines in all new and rebuilt equipment. Ebbeskotte also has reduced hazardous waste at the facility he manages and developed programs to recycle diesel fuel, hydraulic oil, engine oil, antifreeze and batteries.

• Michael Hartung, a mechanical supervisor with Norfolk Southern Railway, who has helped ensure the Class I’s locomotive shop is in compliance with environmental regulations. He is a lead environmental trainer for employees and manages all wastes, air emissions, pollution prevention and petroleum storage. Hartung also developed an environmental tracking program that has been used as a model for other shops and took a boiler maintainer course so he could perform repairs and environmental upgrades on the shop’s steam boiler, making it more reliable.

• Robert Jones, senior director utilities management at Amtrak, who in 2010 planned and implemented the shutdown of the central steam plant at Amtrak’s Chicago Yard. The move reduced natural gas usage without sacrificing productivity, according to a press release. He recently led two initiatives to implement energy-efficient lighting systems and reduce natural gas usage system wide, and developed plans for Amtrak’s first-ever Energy Reduction Goal.

• Jim Langan, a signal supervisor with BNSF Railway Co., who worked on his own time to identify the cause of a hydraulic fluid leak after noticing unusually large quantities of hydraulic fluid for skate retarders being purchased at his freight yard. Langan designed a custom-made retro-fit that sealed the leak point, improving efficiency and conserving fuel. He also designed a system to collect hydraulic fluid from potential future leaks.

• Richard McFadyen, director of corporate facilities at CN, who implemented an energy management system across the Class I’s network that makes it possible to identify and manage problem areas in real time. He also initiated an energy review of all shops and introduced a lighting replacement effort to conserve electricity.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/26/2012