Under the scheme, GE will supply its NextFuel natural gas retrofit kits to enable CSX's existing GE Evolution Series locomotives to operate with dual fuel capabilities and meet US EPA Tier 3 emissions standards. GE has been testing low-pressure natural gas technology since the spring and is also assisting other Class 1s on trials of the technology, including BNSF which is also working with Caterpillar on LNG.

CSX says it will work over the next few months to develop a test plan and secure regulatory approval and it expects field trials to commence in 2014. CSX says it will also work with GE to develop LNG for other classes of locomotives.

"LNG technology has the potential to offer one of the most significant developments in railroading since the transition from steam to diesel in the 1950s," says Mr Oscar Munoz, CSX's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "That change took many years to complete and began with a lot of unknowns, and this one is no different."

The December 2013 issue of IRJ will include an in-depth report on the development of LNG for the North American railfreight industry.