These Norfolk Southern lower-emission locomotives were photographed in one of its Chicago railyards. (Norfolk Southern photo)

Norfolk Southern Running Greener Locomotives in Chicago

They are 3,000-horsepower engines that meet EPA's Tier-3 emissions standards for locomotives. NS will have 15 of them working at its five major Chicago railyards by the end this year and said the locomotives are expected to prevent the release of 7.58 tons of particulate matter and 196 tons of nitrogen oxides pollutants annually.

Norfolk Southern recently dedicated a new fleet of environmentally friendly railyard locomotives for Chicago. The company announced that the branded "Eco" locomotives produce lower emissions and fuel consumption and were acquired using more than $19 million in grant funding through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.

NS also announced Oct. 30 that it has rescinded its notice of cessation of Poisonous-Inhalation-Hazard service that was to take effect Dec. 1, 2015. This revocation followed an Oct. 29 action by Congress extending the positive train control deadline of Dec. 31.

The new locomotives "will be rolling billboards in Chicago for years to come of one of the finest examples of collaboration between public and private partners to think and act big on diesel emission reduction technology," NS Vice President Mechanical Don Graab said. "The bottom line is cleaner air quality for Chicago residents. We thank the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Department of Transportation, and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning for their partnership in helping us achieve this goal for our locomotive fleet."

They are 3,000-horsepower engines that meet EPA's Tier-3 emissions standards for locomotives. NS will have 15 of them working at its five major Chicago railyards by the end this year and said the locomotives are expected to prevent the release of 7.58 tons of particulate matter and 196 tons of nitrogen oxides pollutants annually while using less fuel than older switching locomotives. "In programming federal CMAQ dollars for the metropolitan Chicago region, our agency uses a competitive review process to seek the most meritorious projects," said Joseph C. Szabo, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's executive director. "These locomotives will reduce particulate matter emissions by 76 percent, significantly benefiting the region's air quality."

NS also announced it is taking additional steps to reduce emissions in Chicago by pairing three of the "Eco" units with "slugs," which are engineless locomotives equipped with traction motors that add emissions-free pulling power, and installing plug-in engine heating systems to eliminate locomotive idling in collaboration with U.S. EPA Region V.

Ten "Eco" locomotives already are in use in NS' Atlanta yard and three more will be at work at its Macon and Rome, Ga., yards next year.

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