Amtrak Biodiesel Heartland Flyer Named One of the Year’s 50 Biggest and Coolest Breakthroughs

CHICAGO – Amtrak and the Oklahoma and Texas state transportation departments are honored to announce the test of a cleaner and renewable biodiesel fuel blend to power the daily Amtrak Heartland Flyer train has made TIME magazine’s list of “The 50 Best Inventions of 2010.”

With a whimsical cartoon pointing out the biodiesel blend includes beef byproduct, what TIME calls “Amtrak’s Beef Powered Train” joins the ranks of Apple Inc.’s iPad and better 3-D glasses on the “50 Best” list. Operating daily between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, the Heartland Flyer is the only one of TIME’s ten transportation innovations to be publically available.

“This recognition from TIME magazine is an honor to our state partners and all of us at Amtrak who are working on this project, the nation’s first test of biodiesel in an interstate passenger train,” said Roy Deitchman, Amtrak Vice President, Environmental, Health and Safety. “Amtrak travel is already more energy efficient than most other forms of intercity transportation. If the test shows this use of a renewable fuel in our locomotive is successful, it’s a home run for our passengers, for our partners and for the planet.”

Amtrak received a $274,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to carry out the research project in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (Okla. DOT) on the train operated by Amtrak with state support from both Oklahoma and Texas. The biodiesel blend is provided by a Texas-based vendor.