Posts Tagged ‘EPA Tier 4 emissions standards’

EPA Eyes Stricter Locomotive Emission Rules

November 11, 2022

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is eyeing promulgating stricter regulations for locomotive regulations.

The agency has formed a study group to examine options and recommendations for possible new regulations that would seek to cut emissions from locomotives.

Higher standards are being sought from the EPA by the California Air Resource Board, which has cited complaints from workers and those who live near railroad yards and ports of respiratory illness and premature death caused by locomotive emissions.

The existing EPA locomotive emission standards, known as Tier 4 regulations, were created in 2008.

Although Class 1 railroad motive fleets include Tier 4 compliant locomotives, many carriers continue to rely on older locomotives, although some older units have been rebuilt to reduce emissions.

However, these rebuilt locomotives do not need to meet Tier 4 standards.

Class 1 railroads have pruned the size of their motive power fleets in response to the adoption of the precision scheduled railroading operating model, which relies on fewer and longer trains.

In 2021 U.S. Class 1 railroads ordered no new locomotives and in 2020 they ordered just 94 units.

A report posted on the website of Trains magazine observed that locomotive builders believe the future of railroad motive power lies more with such technology as batteries, battery-diesel hybrids, and hydrogen fuel cells than it does with diesel power alone.

NS Testing EMD SD70 ACe Demonstrators

November 15, 2016

Norfolk Southern has been testing Progress Rail’s EMD SD70ACe Tier 4 demonstration locomotives on its Winston-Salem District in Virginia and North Carolina.

NS logo 2Nos. 1607 and 1608 were recently moved from the facility in Muncie, Indiana, to Roanoke, Virginia and will operate on the route between Roanoke and Winston-Salem.

The demonstrators have a livery similar to that of Union Pacific and are similar to EMDX Nos. 1609 and 1610, which are still being tested on CSX.

NS To Take Delivery of Tier 4 Locomotives

May 20, 2016

General Electric Transportation expects to deliver Tier-4 compliant locomotives to Norfolk Southern this spring, making it the fifth Class I railroad to receive ET44ACs.

The units are being built  in Fort Worth, Texas, and are part of a 47-unit order.

NS logo 2Tier 4 emission standards were issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and took effect last year.

The first of the locomotives, No. 3600, will be tested by the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio before being delivered to NS. The units will have roster numbers 3600-3646.

NS also has on order three ES44AC locomotives that meet Tier 3 emission standards, but are permitted under existing regulations by having the builder apply emission credits already banked toward the locomotives.

Those credits were earned by applying energy-saving design technologies to locomotives already built and in operation.

Carrying roster numbers 8166-8168, those units are being built in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern are the only North American Class I railroads that have yet to buy Tier 4-compliant locomotives.

Market for New Locomotives Has Gone Soft

April 10, 2016

They look good, perform well and garner a lot of favorable publicity. But during a time when freight traffic is down, environmentally friendly locomotives are having a tough time finding buyers.

An analysis by Railway Age of Tier 4 compliant locomotives compared them with DOT-117 hazmat tank cars.

Both are well suited to achieve desirable goals, but those are not necessarily the most pressing or immediate goals of the railroad industry.

train image2Tier 4 refers to emission standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Although the railroad industry has embraced Tier 4, it doesn’t have enough Tier 4 compliant locomotives to pull its trains.

The railroad industry remains profitable and is outwardly optimistic about its future.

But month after month of reports from the Association of American Railroads show freight traffic in decline, particularly the coal business.

Some freight business has remained stable or achieved some growth, but that hasn’t been enough to offset the large losses resulting from falling coal traffic.

Those are not the conditions that are likely to lead to railroads wanting to buy new locomotives or tank cars.

Another falling commodity has been crude oil and the number of available tank cars exceeds the demand for them.

Likewise, Class 1 railroads have many locomotives in cold storage.

“Two years ago, every serviceable locomotive was reactivated,” said Oliver Wyman’s Jason Kuehn at Rail Equipment Finance 2016 in an interview with Railway Age. “Now, 15 percent or more of the road locomotive fleet is in storage. The price spread between natural gas and diesel has choked off interest in LNG and CNG-fueled locomotives. And Tier 4 emissions levels are so strict that they’ve halted the virtuous cycle supporting locomotive replacement. We’ve gone from the perfect storm to a dead calm in two short years.”

Railway Age reported that some locomotive builders and leasers are looking to the export market for business.

Progress Rail/EMD, GE Transportation, National Railway Equipment, MotivePower, Railserve, RJ Corman, Brookville Equipment, Knoxville Locomotive Works and Republic Locomotive are among the companies that have sent represents traveling to such places as China, India, Russia and South Africa in search of sales.

As a result of the soft U.S. market for locomotives, Railway Age said that you won’t find this year a builder offering something new and/or innovative.

Nonetheless, the companies are seeking to do what they can with what they have to serve what markets exist and to prepare for what they hope will be better times ahead.

That means tinkering with existing products and seeking to use technological advances to tweak them.

GE Pushing Internet Connectivity in Locomotives

March 22, 2016

General Electric expects that more than 3 million locomotives and other GE-built products will be connected to the Internet by 2020.

The company said in a recently published report that digital interconnectivity plays a critical role in its newer locomotives and industrial vehicles developed and produced by its transportation division.

GE transportation“By the end of 2016, we expect it to have 200,000 assets under management, 100 GE applications and 20,000 developers creating many more applications,” said GE CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt.  “Our aspiration is to offer with every GE product a pathway to greater productivity through sensors, software and big-data analytics.”

GE estimates that more than 700 of its locomotives that meet Environmental Protection Agency Tier 4 emission standards have digital components that have saved their railroad owners $197 million in fuel expenses.

Digital components also have reduced the amount of time needed to make a diagnosis of problems and to make repairs.

Norfolk Southern began to adopt in 2010 GE’s Movement Planner software to streamline train operations.

In its factories, GE uses Predix software, a cloud-based productivity management system that may have applications for the railroad industry.

GE Transportation, which has an assembly plant in Erie, Pennsylvania, produces the majority of locomotives for the North American market.

1st CSX Tier 4 Unit Expected to Begin Testing

August 25, 2015

CSX is expected to begin testing soon on an EPA  Tier 4 emissions standards compliant ET44AC that was built by General Electric at its Erie, Pennsylvania, assembly plant.

Trains magazine reported on Monday that No. 3251 was part of the motive power consist of train Q696, albeit in a trailing position.

The ET44AC, the first in the CSX fleet that is Tier 4 compliant, is expected to undergo testing on the former Clinchfield by being used in heavy haul service on the Blue Ridge Subdivision between Erwin and Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Trains said it is not known how long the locomotive will be tested before being released for duty across the CSX network.

A noticeable external differences between Tier 4 locomotives designated as ET44AH models and other locomotives is the large flared radiator section at the rear of the former.

CN Getting 25 Units it Can’t Use in U.S. Service

April 10, 2015

If you see a Canadian National locomotive numbered in the 2951 to 2975 series in the United States, be sure to photograph it.

That’s because if one of those locomotives operates in revenue service the U.S. it will be doing so in violation of federal law.

The 25 locomotives in the 2951 to 2975 series were built by GE as “export” ES44AC units. They do not meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tier 4 emissions standards that took effect on Jan. 1 for new locomotives built after that date.

If CN uses one of these non-compliant locomotives, it would face fines from the U.S. government.

CN plans to assign the locomotives to Prince George, B.C., which would minimize the risk of placing them in trains headed across the border.

Earlier, CN received 26 ES44ACs from GE that are U.S. EPA emissions-compliant and plans to receive an additional 39 ES44ACs later in 2015 after Tier 4 locomotive production begins.