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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Iowa Interstate expands locomotive fleet, tests bio-diesel blends


By year’s end, Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. (IAIS) expects to begin using two additional 4,400-horsepower GE Evolution® Series locomotives.

Last year, the more than 600-mile regional purchased 12 of the locomotives and immediately registered fuel savings, reduced maintenance costs and efficiency gains, said IAIS President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Miller in a prepared statement.

The two GE ES44AC units were in various stages of production last year when the economic downturn hit, causing GE Transportation to postpone completion of the locomotives. Now, the units are scheduled to be completed at GE’s Erie, Pa., plant and delivered by Dec. 1.

Meanwhile, IAIS also has begun to test bio-diesel. The regional is working with a Renewable Energy Group plant in Newton, Iowa, to test the blended fuel in one unit at a Council Bluffs, Iowa, yard.

The tests, which began in June, call for measuring wear and tear on movable engine parts, horsepower ratings and emissions. A number of different blends will be tested to determine a correct mixture containing various vegetable oils and fatty acids

“This could open the door for over 600 other railroads to have another source of fuel to use in their locomotives that burns cleaner and is environmentally friendly,” said Miller.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/10/2009