N.J. Transit Moves to End Locomotive Idling

NEWARK, N.J. — N.J. Transit is moving to a new policy that aims to significantly reduce diesel locomotive idling, Executive Director Richard Sarles said earlier this month.

The new policy would be effective Jan. 1, 2008.

Earlier this year, N.J. Transit ended locomotive idling above 40 degrees, but is expanding the policy to include temperatures down to zero degrees to further reduce noise, diesel fuel consumption and emissions.

“Our new policy of turning off our locomotives to reduce idling will mean quieter rail yards and an improved quality of life for the communities we serve,” Sarles said.

N.J. Transit has worked over the last six months to upgrade locomotive equipment and rail yard infrastructure to allow for the locomotive shutdowns, officials said. More than 100 diesel locomotives have been retrofitted with new starters, block heaters and batteries, and new external — or “wayside” — power stations have been installed in rail yards to enable maintenance work to continue, even with engines turned off.

The guidelines are in place for Raritan, Port Morris, Bay Head, Port Jervis, Spring Valley and Suffern yards.

The benefits of the new procedure will be especially noticeable in the overnight hours when more locomotives lay over in rail yards. While the new procedures will significantly reduce noise, residents near N.J. Transit lines may still notice some level of activity as trains arrive and depart the yard, and during short layovers.

— Special to Railfanning.org