L.A.-Long Beach ports introduce ôcleanö locomotive
After nearly seven years of development, two mayoral administrations pushing it, and the help of state environmental funds, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will unveil a new generation of clean-diesel switching locomotive today.
The new engine, which is 30 percent more fuel efficient than previous models, will be used by the ports' rail line to move container trains around the harbor area. The $23 million project, initiated in 2000 and signed off by the Los Angeles city hall's James Hahn administration in 2005, seeks to replace older locomotives now used by the ports' Pacific Harbor Lines with 16 of the new ultra-low-sulfur diesel-powered engines.
In addition to saving fuel, the new 12,000-horsepower engines also produce 46 percent less NOx — a smog formative — and 70 percent less particulate matter — often seen as smokestack soot.
Pacific Harbor Lines provides rail switching service to the two neighboring ports with an old fleet of locomotives, some up to 50 years old. These old engines have been identified as a major source of air pollution source emitted by the ports.
An additional component of the overall ports' locomotive strategy to cut emissions — the introduction of two alternative fuel engines to the PHL fleet — has experienced some glitches. Last year, the ports touted a 'Green Goat' engine that utilized a new hybrid diesel-engine setup. Essentially a prototype, the engine has reportedly spent much of its time out of service undergoing repairs.