NS to Test CNG Tender

Norfolk Southern plans to put into service a locomotive tender that won’t be carrying coal but compressed natural gas.

The tender was built by Kasgro Rail in New Castle, Pennsylvania, for CNGMotive.

It resembles a traditional well car for containers with the well section containing natural gas storage and the ends of the car having a control system and pressure reduction system.

Tender GCNX No. 5001 has 28 separate CNG storage tanks in two groups for a storage capacity equal to 4,600 gallons of diesel fuel, also known as diesel gallon equivalent.

NS plans to use the tender on trains hauling export coal between Williamson, West Virginia, and Lamberts Point, Virginia.

It will begin revenue service once final assembly and testing of the tender is complete and NS receives a letter of concurrence from the Federal Railroad Administration.

The tender is designed to provide compressed natural gas to one or two locomotives and its design complies with the upcoming AAR Tender Specification M-1004 for crash worthiness, shock, and vibration.

NS does not have any six axle locomotives with the capacity to operate on both diesel fuel and compress natural gas so it is borrowing a pair of SD70ACE units from BNSF that are so equipped.

Testing of the tender on NS is expected to begin later this year or in early 2020 and last for a six month trial.

Refueling will occur at Shaffer’s Crossing in Roanoke, Virginia.

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