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New, Less Polluting Locomotives Arrive at Ports Complex

Engines cut pollution by as much as 85 percent

September 29, 2011

A new generation of less polluting locomotives have arrived at the Port of Long Beach that will aid the port’s efforts to further cut air pollution in the region.

Pacific Harbor Line, which provides rail transportation, maintenance and dispatching services to Long Beach and the neighboring Port of Los Angeles, has begun retrofitting its locomotives with new ultra low emission “Tier 3-plus” engines. The program began this summer, and by early 2012 the company expects to retrofit all 16 of its older locomotives, making it one of the cleanest fleets in North America.

The new Tier 3-plus engines emit 85 percent less diesel particulate matter and 38 percent less nitrogen oxide than the previous generation engines they are replacing. The older engines, which came online three years ago, had already reduced pollution dramatically compared to previous generations. Overall, the Tier 3-plus engines represent a reduction of diesel particulates by 95.6 percent and nitrogen oxide by 67 percent compared to engines that were servicing the ports just five years ago.

PHL has a total of 23 locomotives servicing the ports complex. The new engines are being installed in Tacoma, Washington, by Progress Rail Services Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. The program was partially funded with a $12 million grant from the Carl Moyer Program, administered by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and California Air Resources Board.

The Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles facilitated this project by entering into agreements with PHL that made it possible for the railroad company to commit to the long-term use of ultra low emission locomotives. Five years ago, the two ports adopted the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), a sweeping plan aimed at significantly reducing the health risks posed by air pollution from port-related operations.

The Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles combined is the largest container port complex in the United States and the eighth-busiest in the world.

PHL, an affiliate of Anacostia Rail Holdings, provides rail switching services for the ports and their nine on-dock intermodal terminals, as well as dispatching services for about 90 intermodal or unit trains per day.

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