A Special Event Report and PHOTOS by Bill Kerby, RailPAC Treasurer
July 22, 2009
Building on a theme that greener technology is better technology, Amtrak California unveiled at the Sacramento Valley Station the first FP 59 locomotive to be EPA certified emissions standard at Tier 2.
With this certification, NOX emissions are cut in half and other smog producing components are also slashed. After three months of testing the locomotive at the Electro Motive facility near Chicago, this power unit proved that processing the air entering the diesel’s combustion chambers can be at least as helpful as treating exhaust gasses. Under the leadership of Steve Fretwell, Chief of Locomotive Technology Branch at Caltrans, the nine partners creating a cleaner diesel locomotive-including Electro Motive’s experts-redesigned cooling systems, modified internal components of the 12 cylinder diesel and installed latest versions of microprocessor controls. In these modifications, no catalytic converters or urea treatment of exhaust are deployed.
Randy Iwasaki, tapped by the Governor to be the next Director of Caltrans,
made a few introductory remarks in the Sacramento Area Station, including the fortuitous outcome that lower emissions come with lower fuel consumption Gene Skoropowski, Managing Director of the Capitol Corridor and Jim Spering Chairman of the Capitol Corridor Board reported on the growth of the system to 32 daily trains with more than 500 million vehicle miles taken off the highway. Replacing future vehicle trips with lowered emission trains will create an even smaller carbon footprint in California. Deborah Jordan, US EPA Region 9, expressed her satisfaction that the locomotive standing for it’s unveiling on Track 4 had the lowest emissions of any passenger diesel locomotive in the United States. Chief Fretwell stated that while some Tier 2 freight locomotives are in service, “this is the first passenger type locomotive of this Tier level.” James Goldstene, representing the California EPA, expanded on Jordan’s remarks by pointing out health benefits from reduced diesel emissions and expressed the view that California EPA wants every locomotive to meet Tier 4 emission standards soon. Darryl Clare of the Sacramento Metropolitan Area Air Quality Management Board told the audience while there are 14 F 59 locomotives in the repower program; funds are available to start work on only half of this number.
Sacramento County Supervisor, Roger Dickinson, (first photo) worked on the theme that policymakers should think locally and act globally. Solutions on reducing air pollution come from many local communities working toward shared goals. He is pictured next to the B end of this pioneering power unit.
(left to right) Lisa Martin, Caltrans Marketing; Randy Iwasaki, Deputy Director, Caltrans; Lori Priosio, Katz and Associates; Debbi Mullins, Caltrans Marketing; Steve Fretwell, Caltrans Technology; Andy Morse, Caltrans Equipment.
Caltrans staff followed some officials who elected to climb aboard the engine and peer into the cavern where the prime mover idled quietly, making both familiar and some new sounds, as the new components marshaled the operation of the engine, which was built in October of 2001 and repowered in 2009.
There were no marching bands accompanying a few balloons for the fifty to sixty people at the event. Similarly, there were no dynamic tests of the locomotive during the event.
Yet, standing within 50 feet of the repowered engine, another recently rebuilt piece of rolling stock glided past as the last car of the California Zephyr: the oldest AMTRAK certified and operating Pullman observation car in the U.S (built 1911): the Federal, based in Rochester, NY. Mr. David Luca, Manager of Building and Grounds of the Rochester and Genesee Valley Railroad Museum posed for RailPAC just before departure. Both front end and rear end units were on stage at Sacramento July 22nd.