The locomotives were purchased with support from a $US 3.7m grant from California’s Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) through the proposition 1B Goods Movement Emission Reduction Programme (GMERP), a state programme aimed at incentivising freight operators to upgrade to more environmentally friendly practices.

Built by Knoxville Locomotive Works in Tennessee, the 1.7MW diesel locomotives use selective catalytic reduction technology to meet the highest EPA emissions requirements. The 12-cylinder MTU engines are expected to provide fuel savings of 25% and reduce CO2 and NOx emissions by 80% compared with the two 43-year-old locomotives being replaced.

“Short line railroads such as CFNR, which provide the first and last mile of freight service linking local customers to the large national railroads, are small businesses with duty cycles that don’t require brand new locomotives,” said CFNR president, Mr Brad Ovitt.

“We’re grateful to the Air District for making the purchase of these two low-emission, state-of-the-art locomotives feasible, as they provide benefits to the communities served by the railway that would not be possible for us to do on a stand-alone basis.”

“The Air District is on a course to be diesel-free by 2033 in the Bay Area, and these cleaner engines will help the region reduce diesel while newer diesel technology is being developed,” says Mr Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “Reducing diesel emissions is an essential element of the Air District’s continuing efforts to protect public health in communities that are highly impacted by the Bay Area’s freight movement infrastructure.”