Thursday, November 14, 2013

CSX to Test CNG Locomotives

CSX announced yesterday that it will commence a pilot program in 2014 in partnership with GE Transportation to test natural gas locomotives.  The locos will be powered by liquefied natural gas.  Other major railways testing LNG locomotives are CN and BNSF.

In the aforementioned press release, CSX's chief operating officer compares the potential for use of LNG to the conversion of trains from steam to diesel in the 1950's.  That's pretty strong language, especially before a pilot project has even started, but natural gas is attractive to railroads because it allows trains to travel longer distances before refueling and it is considerably cleaner than diesel.  Railroads have made considerable market share gains over the past decade and being able to promote an even more environmentally friendly transport method would certainly help the industry make greater gains.

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