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Queens Chronicle

Clean, quiet trains around the bend

Federal EPA grant to upgrade two locomotives serving in Queens

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Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:55 pm, Thu Dec 29, 2011.

A federal grant should help the city to reduce air and noise pollution around its rail yards and conserve energy while still making the freight trains run on time.

The $2 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will allow the city and CSX Transportation to refit two conventional freight locomotives with low-emission state-of-the-art diesel technology.

The funding was secured through the cooperation of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the departments of Sanitation and Small Business Services.

The locomotives will remain in the city’s freight rail network and will be refitted in partnership with CSX, plus the New York & Atlantic Railway and Waste Management of New York. They are expected to be operational by late 2013.

The engines will be used frequently in conjunction with the city’s plans to ship more solid waste by rail and barge as a means of reducing truck traffic and pollution.

Bloomberg administration officials said the grant furthers their aims of establishing greener and more efficient transportation.

Both locomotives will be retooled with Generator Set technology. GenSet replaces single conventional diesel engine with several smaller motors that each can be activated when the locomotive is working at full power and deactivated when their power is not needed.

This ability to tailor horsepower is expected to save an estimated 31,000 gallons of fuel each year.

Several city officials made note of the effect reducing pollution could have on the high rates of childhood asthma in Queens.

Elected officials who have spent years helping Glendale and Middle Village residents fight noise and odors from nearby rail yards also hailed the grant and the level of public-private cooperation behind it.

The first retrofitted locomotive will be based at the Fresh Pond Rail Yard in Glendale and run by the New York & Atlantic Railway for service in Queens and Brooklyn.

It will be operated by Waste Management, which will cover some conversion costs along with New York & Atlantic.

The second, operated by CSX Transportation, will be based at the Oak Point Rail Yard in Port Morris in the Bronx and will service that borough and Queens.

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