With Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on hand to celebrate the success of a public-private partnership for cleaner air, Norfolk Southern today unveiled the nation’s first of a new class of rail yard locomotives developed with federal funding assistance to reduce emissions in urban areas.
“Norfolk Southern has been a valued partner for economic growth in Georgia for many years,” said Gov. Deal. “I applaud the company’s environmental consciousness and its work to achieve public benefits through cooperative efforts with municipalities and government agencies like the one we celebrate here today.”
Gov. Deal and Mark Manion, Norfolk Southern’s chief operating officer, dedicated five of the locomotives during a ceremony at Norfolk Southern’s Inman Yard, a major hub of interstate commerce and intermodal transportation just northwest of downtown Atlanta.
The engines are branded “Eco” locomotives for their operating efficiencies in reducing emissions and fuel consumption. The 3,000-horsepower engines meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s strict Tier-3 emissions standards for locomotives. Norfolk Southern’s Atlanta yard eventually will put to work 10 low-emissions Eco locomotives this year. Annually, the 10 units will account for 6.6 fewer tons of particulate matter and 155 fewer tons of nitrogen oxides pollutants generally associated with smog and acid rain. As more Eco units are delivered to Atlanta in 2016, the clean-air benefits will be even greater.
The Eco units were designed and built by Norfolk Southern at its Juniata, Pa., locomotive shops using components from locomotive builder Electro-Motive Diesel, a division of Progress Rail Services, a Caterpillar company. The project was funded in part by grants from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ). The Eco units unveiled today feature a stylistic green paint scheme with a Georgia-shaped icon and the slogan “Working Together for a Cleaner State.”
Additional CMAQ grants will lead to future placement of Eco locomotives at Norfolk Southern’s rail yards at Macon and Rome, Ga., and at Chicago.
“In addition to lower emissions and fuel savings, benefits include operating efficiencies, as each Eco unit can replace two older, less-efficient locomotives,” Manion said. “Over the last five years, we have significantly lowered greenhouse gas emissions of our locomotive fleet, achieving an 8.5 percent reduction per revenue ton-mile. Rollout of the Eco units demonstrates Norfolk Southern’s continuing commitment to industry leadership in sustainability best practices and environmental partnerships. Our transportation operations at Atlanta are central to serving customers throughout our network and beyond. We consider it a corporate responsibility to mitigate the environmental impacts of our rail operations, and we thank the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Division, the city of Atlanta, and other cities and customers all along our lines that partner with us to achieve this goal.”
“Through a phased implementation of lower emissions standards for locomotives, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has worked with the rail industry to bring about cleaner air for communities,” said Beverly Banister, division director of EPA’s Region 4 based at Atlanta. “The Eco units supported by grants from CMAQ will help ensure that yard switcher locomotives adhere to cleaner, healthier air quality standards.”
In Georgia, Norfolk Southern employs 4,735 people and operates a network of 1,779 rail miles. The company annually transports 1.3 million shipments by rail in the Peach State alone, totaling 55 million tons of freight for some 1,200 customers. Together with industrial development activity that brings new business, jobs, and investment to Georgia, and service to the state’s ports, Norfolk Southern’s rail network connects Georgia communities to the marketplaces of the world.