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North American railroads, suppliers and government agencies are ramping up their efforts to promote environmentally friendly freight transportation.
Last month, the Canadian government announced it will launch ecoFreight, a $61 million program that aims to reduce freight transportation’s environmental effects. Comprising six initiatives, the ecoFreight program is designed to remove regulatory barriers, cut fuel usage and reduce air emissions.
For the railroad, air, highway and marine modes, the program calls for Transport Canada to create a “Freight Technology Demonstration Fund” providing up to $10 million for testing and analyzing new and under-used technologies; establish “Freight Technology Incentives” providing up to $10 million for purchasing and installing proven emission-reducing technologies; and spend up to $7 million to establish “Partnerships on Freight” to bring together a range of transportation sector partners to find ways to reduce air emissions.
Spreading the word
Also last month, Union Pacific Railroad and GE - Transportation hosted a week-long Green Locomotive Technology Tour in California to share details on how they’re making locomotives “cleaner and greener.”
UP and GE officials stopped in several cities to brief government officials and high school students on fuel conservation initiatives and railroad safety practices, and provide onboard tours of environmentally friendly locomotives.
The event showcased GE’s Evolution Series locomotives; generator set or “Genset” switchers featuring Tier 3-certified off-road diesel engines designed to reduce air emissions; a high-horsepower locomotive UP is field testing that features an experimental oxidation catalyst filter; and a low-horsepower yard locomotive featuring a diesel particulate filter.
By 2007’s end, the Class I will have invested more than $5 billion to purchase new environmentally friendly locomotives, as well as millions of dollars to test emission-reducing technologies, UP said.