CSX Transportation began using the first of two low-emission GenSet switcher locomotives at its Curtis Bay Yard in Baltimore. The purchase was made possible by funds from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Officials from the big eastern-U.S. railroad unveiled the upgraded unit at Baltimore’s Camden Station Oct. 26, joined by officials from the EPA, Maryland agencies and the non-profit Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association.
An EPA grant from last year’s economic stimulus law covered 65 percent of the $1.4 million cost to repower the locomotive, or $910,000, with CSX paying the other $490,000. The regional association acted as local applicant for the federal funds.
By The Numbers: U.S. Rail Cargo.
A traditional yard or switcher locomotive moves railcars around a yard or shuttles between nearby shipper facilities powered by a single large diesel engine. Much of its operating time may be spent idling or in low-power use hauling a single railcar or two.
GenSets use smaller but multiple engines or “generator set,” sometimes adapted from truck power units, and can shut them down or crank them up as needed based on work load or put them into idle control and sleep mode when not needed. That means they burn much less fuel and generate far lower emissions.
Although CSX has deployed a few GenSets in other states after receiving grants, backers said these are the first such units in Maryland. “This project is an important contribution to MARAMA’s goal of reducing diesel emissions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Susan Wierman, the group’s executive director.
The EPA also said it will partner with CSX on a second GenSet through its Diesel Emissions Reduction program. The Maryland Department of Transportation applied for an EPA grant of $975,000 on behalf of CSX, which will pay the remaining $425,000.
Caitlin Hughes Rayman, assistant secretary for transportation policy and freight at the state agency, thanked the EPA for providing “incentives to the freight community to be smarter, greener neighbors.”
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