Environmental Initiatives of AAR Members
America demands affordable, efficient and environmentally-responsible transportation — and freight railroads provide it. Below are just some of the ways that freight railroads are working to provide a cleaner, greener future for North America.
Anacostia & Pacific’s Pacific Harbor Line (PHL) won 2009 Clean Air Honors from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for slashing air pollution. In the past two years, PHL took delivery of 22 clean-diesel locomotives, lowering particulate emissions by 70 percent, cutting nitrogen oxide emissions by 46 percent, and reducing fuel use by an estimated 7 to 9 percent. PHL’s efforts also garnered a 2008 Environmental Excellence Award from the EPA.
BNSF Railway’s Fuel and Wastewater Treatment Programs
In recent years, BNSF has made dozens of state-of-the-art improvements at its fueling and wastewater treatment facilities. For example, at fueling facilities they’ve installed secondary and triple containment liners with leak detection systems, double-walled pipe for underground piping, and double-bottomed diesel storage tanks. They’ve also invested millions of dollars to reduce impurities discharged to surface water and municipal wastewater treatment systems at their facilities.
Canadian Pacific Anti-Idling Technology Program
As part of a sustained effort to minimize its carbon footprint, CP has equipped more than 80 percent of its locomotives with some form of anti-idling device, which under certain operating conditions will shut down the locomotives instead of letting them idle.
CN Wildlife and Vegetation Programs
CN uses a variety of strategies to minimize its impact on wildlife and vegetation, including scheduling work during periods of low wildlife occurrence; continuously removing spilled food products; providing alternative access across rights-of-way; and, where possible, mechanically removing unwanted vegetation rather than using herbicides. CN was awarded a 2008 Conservation Award of Excellence by the Ontario-based Conservation Halton for demonstrating stewardship in protecting the natural environment.
CSX’s Recycling Program
CSX strives toward a goal of zero waste. Facilities throughout its network collect and recycle scrap metal, including old locomotives, rail cars, and rails. Batteries used in locomotive and signal operations are collected and properly recycled. Millions of gallons of oil are recycled each year and used as an alternative fuel to heat CSX facilities.
Genesee & Wyoming’s Environmental Team
Genesee & Wyoming has created an Environmental Team comprised of employees from each of the company’s nine operating regions who serve as Regional Environmental Coordinators (RECs). Team members receive formal environmental training each year and lead Environmental Awareness Training for fellow employees at the company’s facilities.
Iowa Interstate’s Biodiesel Locomotives
Iowa Interstate has begun testing the use of biodiesel as an alternative to diesel fuel in its locomotives. In June 2009, the railroad began using a B10 blend in its Council Bluffs, IA yard. The blend level was increased to B20 beginning in September 2009.
From 2006 through 2008, KCS lowered the average age of its locomotive fleet from 17.2 to 10.9 years. This was accomplished through a combination of locomotive purchases, leases and overhauls, resulting in more fuel efficient, reliable and environmentally-friendly fleets. KCSR began fueling its locomotives with ultra low sulfur diesel fuel in 2007.
In 2007, Norfolk Southern embarked on a system-wide initiative to replace and upgrade to state-of-the-are energy efficient lighting in all offices, shops, and yard facilities. The project covers 600 buildings plus yard facilities at 300 locations and 600 buildings. NS anticipates energy savings of 50 million kWh per year, with CO2 emission reductions of approximately 76 million pounds per year.
Union Pacific’s Generator-Set (or “Genset”) Switcher
Union Pacific’s most environmentally-friendly yard locomotive, the Genset switcher, was first deployed in May 2008. These locomotives have reduced emissions of oxides of nitrogen up to 80 percent and particulate matter up to 90 percent. UP has more than 160 Gensets in service in yards and is adding newer, more powerful models to increase power to push rail cars.