The Pacific Surfliner, an Amtrak route along the sun-drenched California coastline now runs on biodiesel (known as renewable diesel by the rail operator) for the entirety of its 351-mile (564km) track.
The line runs from San Luis Obispo through Los Angeles (and the Southern California conurbation) all the way to San Diego. It stops off at several popular surfing destinations such as Santa Barbara and Lompoc Surf – a station quite literally a stone’s throw from the beach and the waves.
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Amtrak, the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, and San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority were all involved in the decision and actioning of the biodiesel plan.
But the executive decision to make the change in 2023 was the Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency.
The Surfliner already runs diesel-electric Charger locomotives, effectively making them hybrids.
The Siemens’ Charger locomotives have received the US Environmental Protection Agency Tier IV emissions certification, which indicates it is one of the most climate-friendly diesel locomotives currently in operation in the US.
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“The adoption of renewable diesel for our Pacific Surfliner service is an important milestone in our ongoing commitment to environmental preservation and the fight against climate change,” said Jewel Edson, Chair of the LOSSAN Agency board.
LOSSAN Agency did not reveal where it would source the biodiesel but said it would be refined from used cooking oil and other renewable sources.