BNSF to Expand Use of Environmentally Friendly ‘Green Goat’ Switch Engines in Los Angeles Area and Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas – BNSF Railway Company and RailPower Technologies Corp. have announced that BNSF will keep its Green Goat, an environmentally friendly hybrid switch engine, in service for five years in the Los Angeles area and that it is acquiring four cabless Green Goat units for use in Texas.

In Los Angeles, the Green Goat(R) joins BNSF’s four Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) locomotives in service elsewhere in the area; the four are the only LNG locomotives in the country. The Green Goat uses a relatively small, clean, efficient, diesel genset in conjunction with over 300 batteries to improve fuel economy and reduce pollution.

The four GG20B cabless hybrid locomotives for Texas service will be delivered later this year. BNSF was awarded clean-air grants in July 2004 by the Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP) for implementation of the hybrid technology.

"BNSF works hard to improve air quality in the communities it serves," says Mark Stehly, BNSF’s assistant vice president environmental and research and development. "BNSF is also reducing emissions on other locomotives by installing automatic start-stop technology on locomotives, retrofitting older engines, and reducing train resistance (drag) through low torque bearings, wheel/rail lubrication to reduce friction and reduced aerodynamic drag."

"The cabless hybrid locomotive is an important development for RailPower as we seek to go forward providing product for specific needs of our partners in the railroad industry," said RailPower President and CEO Jim Maier.

"This product, the first of its kind and based on our core hybrid design, is purely for remote control use. The operator will be able to control the locomotive from onboard or trackside using a portable RC system.

"Remote control is a growing trend in switching service as railroads seek to reduce costs and make yards even more efficient. At the beginning of this year, there were an estimated 1,500 systems in use by North American carriers, including 23 U.S. railroads," stated Maier.

RailPower’s hybrid locomotives feature small diesel gensets and large banks of recyclable lead-acid batteries. Remanufactured from existing switcher locomotives, they cut oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulates 80-90 percent, while reducing greenhouse gases and diesel fuel consumption 40-70 percent when compared to conventional yard switchers in the 1,000 to 2,000 horsepower range.

The Green Goat(R) and LNG locomotives are part of BNSF’s commitment to improving air quality across its system. The railway also is acquiring new locomotives and retiring older and less efficient ones. Between 1996 and 2004, BNSF acquired more than 2,250 cleaner burning, fuel-efficient locomotives representing about half of its current fleet. BNSF will acquire an additional 285 locomotives for 2005.

According to data tracked by the Association of American Railroads, U.S. freight trains have become so fuel efficient that they are now moving each ton of freight over 400 miles on each gallon of fuel consumed. That is about three times the fuel efficiency of moving the same tonnage exclusively by truck. And each double stack intermodal train can carry more than 300 truckloads.

— PRNewswire-First Call