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Railroad operator Norfolk Southern has rolled out five new rail yard locomotives that are low on greenhouse gas emissions, in Georgia, US.

The new Eco locomotives will be used to haul freight cars around the rail yard, at Norfolk’s Inman Yard, Atlanta.

Georgia governor Nathan Deal said: "Norfolk Southern has been a valued partner for economic growth in Georgia for many years.

"I applaud the company’s environmental consciousness and its work to achieve public benefits through cooperative efforts with municipalities and government agencies."

The new 3,000hp engines, which will be capable of reducing emissions and fuel consumption, meet the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA’s) Tier-3 emissions standards for locomotives.

"Rollout of the Eco units demonstrates Norfolk Southern’s continuing commitment to industry leadership in sustainability best practices and environmental partnerships."

The ten low-emission locomotives that Norfolk will press into service this year are expected to cut 6.6t of particulate matter and 155t of nitrogen oxides pollutants generally associated with smog and acid rain.

According to the operator, the locomotives also provide operating efficiencies as each unit can replace two older, less-efficient locomotives.

Norfolk designed and built the Eco locomotives at its Juniata locomotive shops in Pennsylvania. The components were supplied by locomotive builder Electro-Motive Diesel, a division of Progress Rail Services, a Caterpillar company.

The locomotives were built using grants from the federal congestion mitigation and air quality improvement programme (CMAQ). Norfolk expects to introduce Eco locomotives at its Macon and Rome yards in Georgia and in Chicago with additional grants from CMAQ.

Norfolk Southern chief operating officer Mark Manion said: "Over the last five years, we have significantly lowered greenhouse gas emissions of our locomotive fleet, achieving an 8.5% reduction per revenue ton-mile. Rollout of the Eco units demonstrates Norfolk Southern’s continuing commitment to industry leadership in sustainability best practices and environmental partnerships."

Norfolk Southern employs more than 4,700 people in Georgia and has about 1,800 rail miles in the state.

Annually, it transports 1.3 million shipments by rail in Georgia, totalling about 55 million tons of freight.

The company aims to reduce locomotive greenhouse gas emissions by 10% for each revenue ton-mile of freight.


Image: The new Eco locomotives were unveiled at Norfolk Southern’s Inman Yard. Photo: courtesy of PRNewswire / Norfolk Southern.