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Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad

UP to power up locomotive fleet with environmentally friendly units

Yesterday, Union Pacific Railroad announced it ordered 315 diesel-electric, emission-reducing locomotives. To be delivered in first-half 2005, the environmentally friendly units — designed to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) "Tier 2" emission regulations that take effect Jan. 1 — will be supplied by GE Transportation and General Motors Corp.'s Electro-Motive Division (EMD). UP did not disclose the number of locomotives ordered from each supplier.

GE produces the 4,400-horsepower Evolution Series™ locomotive designed to reduce air emissions as much as 40 percent. The units feature GE's GEVO-12™ 12-cylinder diesel engine that offers the same horsepower compared with 16-cylinder, 4,400-horsepower locomotives. EMD markets the 4,300-horsepower SD70ACe, which features a modified EMD 710 diesel engine, advanced self-diagnostics, predictive health capabilities and an ergonomic cab design. During the past year, UP has tested each locomotive model.

Currently, about 35 percent of the Class I's 7,861-unit fleet is certified under the EPA's Tier 0 and Tier 1 air-emission regulations.

Meanwhile, UP plans to acquire a few environmentally friendly locomotives for yard switching operations, too. The railroad has ordered a prototype diesel truck-engine switch (TES) locomotive from National Railway Equipment Co. and leased a hybrid Green Goat® unit from RailPower Technologies Corp. Both locomotives are designed to reduce NOx and other emissions between 70 percent and 90 percent, and cut fuel usage.

The TES features two state-of-the-art diesel engines — developed for large, over-the-road trucks — that power a traction-producing generator; the Green Goat features a 130-horsepower diesel generator and long-life recyclable batteries.

"Union Pacific has been a leader in pursuing new technology to reduce diesel air emissions," said Bob Grimaila, UP senior assistant vice president-safety, environment and security, in a prepared statement. "These locomotives will continue to advance our fleet as the most environmentally friendly on the continent."

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More News from 10/1/2004