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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

New York agencies partner with short lines to cut gas emissions

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are working with two short-line companies to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions by keeping locomotive engines warm overnight in cold weather without idling.

With support from the two agencies, the Mohawk Adirondack and Northern Railroad of Utica and the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway of Cooperstown have invested in water-heating auxiliary power units (APUs) that heat and circulate water to keep the locomotive warm while the train is parked outside overnight, according to a NYSERDA press release.

The APUs replace the practice of running large diesel locomotive engines during the night, which will help reduce overnight fuel consumption and emissions by up to 80 percent.

The project is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's initiative to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

"Transportation makes up a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, and reducing unnecessary fuel use is imperative to address climate change," said NYSERDA President and Chief Executive Officer John Rhodes.

Funding for the project was provided through NYSERDA from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and DEC's Diesel Reduction Program. Due to its cost, anti-idling technology is less commonly found on short lines' locomotives. The generators can cost $25,000 to $30,000 each, officials said.

The Mohawk Adirondack and Northern Railroad installed two anti-idling engines on its locomotives. On 124 miles of track in New York's Mohawk Valley and Western Adirondacks, the short line transports steel products, stones and ore, chemicals, edible oils, fertilizers, plastic, forest products and other goods.

The New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway installed four anti-idling engines on its locomotives. The short line operates on 450 miles of track in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, serving 100 customers and transporting commodities such as feed ingredients, building materials, plastics, automobiles, steel and aggregates.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/9/2016