#41 – Inside Our Industry – Short Lines: Part of the ‘Green’ Solution

Posted on | Inside Our Industry

Over the past several months we have shared a variety of articles about electric vehicles and the push to a greener transportation system. The U.S. railway system already provides an ecologically friendly mode of transportation, but it is exploring ways to further reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. As many of our loyal readers know, Agracel is a partner on two local short line railroads, so this is something we take great interest in. Following are excerpts from an informative piece from Railway Age.

Short Lines: Part of the ‘Green’ Solution
Chuck Baker, President, ASLRRA  |  March 23, 2021

Already the leader in fuel-efficient surface transportation, the railroad industry is now making every effort to be a part of the solution to improving the environment, and the short line industry is all in on a variety of fronts.

Our friends at the Association of American Railroads (AAR) have done an excellent job of quantifying the substantial environment benefits of railroad transportation, and the data is now familiar to most Railway Age readers: Railroads account for roughly 40% of U.S. long-distance freight volume, but account for just 2.1% of transportation-related emissions. If 10% of the freight shipped today by the largest trucks were moved by rail, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would fall more than 17 million tons annually or the equivalent of removing 3.35 million cars from the road. A ton of freight moving by rail instead of truck reduces GHG emissions by 75%.

What is the short line industry doing to promote this?

Last fall, the ASLRRA (American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association) launched an Environmental Committee (…to) address environmental issues on two fronts: sustainability and compliance. 

The short line industry is also looking toward new locomotive technologies. Anacostia Rail Holdings’ affiliate Pacific Harbor Line (PHL) recently signed an agreement with Progress Rail to use its EMD Joule battery electric locomotive in a demonstration project at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA. The new six-axle locomotive is zero-emission, zero-idle and low noise. …the Joule is the first battery electric switcher locomotive in North America that appears robust enough for the demanding PHL environment.

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