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Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad

Union Pacific to test locomotive emission-reducing technologies in California, help establish grain facility in Kansas


Yesterday, Union Pacific Railroad announced plans to invest $20 million to test new technologies in California that are designed to reduce locomotive diesel emissions. The investment is part of the Class I’s efforts to further reduce emissions and move closer to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Tier 4 emission standards for new locomotives that take effect in 2015.

Twenty-five intermediate line-haul locomotives — with an operating range of about 200 miles — will be based in two of the railroad's yards in California as part of a “rigorous test” of emission-reducing technologies, UP officials said in a prepared statement. Testing is scheduled to last through 2014.

One locomotive based in Roseville, Calif., will test the combined use of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), diesel oxidation catalyst and diesel particulate filtering. The combined benefits of the three technologies on one locomotive is the closest an Electro-Motive Diesel unit has come to achieving Tier 4 standards, UP officials said. The Class I and California Air Resources Board will jointly analyze the locomotive's emissions reductions capability for the next 18 months.

In addition, nine EGR-outfitted experimental units will be tested during operations in the Colton, Calif., area. The remaining 15 units, which will be stationed in Roseville, have the capability to be retrofitted with EGR and other emission-reduction technologies as testing progresses, UP officials said.

"The testing and analysis of these locomotives is part of an ongoing initiative at Union Pacific to develop and use technology in pursuit of emissions reductions," said Mike Iden, UP’s general director of car and locomotive engineering.

Meanwhile, Scoular Co. last week announced plans to build a shuttle train grain-handling facility with UP near Willis, Kan.

Construction is scheduled to begin in fall on the facility, which will feature high-speed truck unloading and grain drying capacity. The site will accommodate a loop track for up to 120 rail cars and a UP shuttle loading/unloading facility for grains and fertilizer.

“Scoular’s new facility fits perfectly into our franchise, will stimulate the local economy, and bring national and world markets within reach,” said Paul Hammes, UP’s vice president and general manager of agricultural products, in a prepared statement. “We are very excited about the increased grain origination and corresponding outbound traffic this site affords, as well as the future opportunity to handle inbound unit trains of fertilizer via [our] GroTrain service.”

The facility will be Scoular’s sixth shuttle train terminal in Kansas. The company — which buys, sells, stores and transports grain and ingredients for use in feed, food and renewable fuel markets worldwide — operates more than 60 grain-handling facilities in North America.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/14/2012