BNSF is among three Class I railroads that are looking at using natural gas as an alternative fuel for locomotives. Fort Worth-based BNSF will begin testing a small number of locomotives using liquefied natural gas (LNG) later this year, while Union Pacific and Canadian National are currently doing research. Low natural gas prices are a driving factor. Prices are some of the lowest since booms in 1995 and 2002. Last week, natural gas prices were up slightly to $4.30 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), a stark contrast to 2002 pricing that reached about $19 per MMBtu. Demand and pricing for diesel fuel has risen in recent years in Europe, China, India and the United States, “The use of liquefied natural gas as an alternative fuel is a potential transformational change for our railroad and for our industry,” said the company’s CEO, Matthew K. Rose. “While there are daunting technical…
Category: Class 1 Railroads
Conductor trainees can get hands-on experience soon without having to go far from Kansas City Southern’s new training center in Shreveport, LA. The Transportation Engineering and Mechanical Training Center will soon have a trio each of box cars and tank cars, plus five couplers, in a stationary display adjacent to the Center. The next new class of conductors can walk from the TEaM Training Center to the adjacent tracks where multiple trainees can simultaneously get hands-on experience with the cars. Currently, new conductors get field training at the yard in nearby Bossier City. The new interactive displays, constructed in the Shreveport car shop by carmen Larry Kirby and Duane Smith, are expected to be set on track panels soon. Many people who have the repairs they need paid for by their car insurance policies (like those here) will be happy to see such advancements in the field. Superintendent of Cars…
From staff reports and news releasesU.S. freight railroads are opening their pocketbooks in 2013 to enhance their rail networks. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) announced this week that the nation’s major freight railroads plan to invest an estimated $24.5 billion in 2013 to build, maintain and upgrade America’s rail network. Projected capital expenditures which upgrade or enhance network capacity within the year is expected to reach $13 billion. “While most other transportation modes rely on government funds, America’s freight railroads operate on infrastructure they own, maintain and upgrade to serve their customers and power our economy,” AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger said. “This year, freight railroads plan to continue to focus on investments that maintain and enhance our physical infrastructure and safety systems, including cutting edge technology that ensures we are ready to deliver for the future.” With hundreds of nationwide transportation infrastructure projects under way, railroads…
OMAHA, NE — Union Pacific Railroad unveiled in December one of the seven next-generation Genset diesel locomotives being used in a rail yard in the Chicago area. UP developed the environmentally friendly locomotives to reduce air emissions in cooperation with federal, state and local environmental agencies. The Genset switcher reduces emissions of oxides of nitrogen by 80 percent and particulate matter by 90 percent, while using 37 percent less fuel compared to older switching locomotives, the company says. The 2,000-horsepower locomotives at Proviso Rail Yard in Northlake, IL, are powered by three 667-horsepower ultra-low-emission EPA off-road Tier 3-certified diesel engines. The Gensets are equipped with six traction motors instead of four found on a traditional rail-yard locomotive. The two additional motors provide increased pushing power for “hump” service. At low throttle settings, only one of the engines operates. When additional power is needed, the second and third diesel engines automatically start…
Union Pacific Railroad announced last week that it acquired complete ownership of a rail line in Oklahoma decades after state officials saved what continues to be a link of commerce through the Sooner State. The agreement was originally drafted 30 years ago when Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Co. filed for bankruptcy, potentially eliminating a critical rail connection that linked Texas and Kansas through Oklahoma. Oklahoma purchased 351 miles of track that runs through Enid, El Reno, Oklahoma City, Chickasha, Duncan and Lawton. The tracks were operated by Oklahoma-Kansas-Texas Railroad Co. through a 30-year-lease purchase agreement signed Nov. 1, 1982. Union Pacific acquired the tracks after several mergers and finished paying $35 million plus accrued interest for the rail line last year. “This type of agreement was unique, but we felt it was critical that we preserve the rail corridors and work towards getting them back in the hands…
Current Issue: Nov/Dec 2022
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
With some painting and hand-crafting, workers come to life and improve a scene on the On3 Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington model railroad. Owner and Master Model Railroader Pete Leach, a frequent Cowcatcher contributor, explains how he studied the techniques of others to improve the appearance of two figures in a secondary scene on the layout. The final product is now a featured spot on the WW&F.
Railroad in Focus: The NDW
The Meteor had to make tracks to beat the Katy from St. Louis to Oklahoma City in November 1946. Pat Hiatte records the action on his trek across the U.S. in the golden age of passenger travel.
A solid year since model train shows have returned, the new Great American Train Shows is drawing crowds similar to those before the pandemic. …
Travel on Amtrak and public transit rail lines is moving closer to a full return of levels prior to the onset of covid-19. …
Model railroaders should be thankful they are part of this hobby and think before complaining, says columnist Michelle Kempema. …
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Product News & Review
InterMountain HO ADM Corn Syrup Car
The Cowcatcher reviews InterMountain Railway Co.’s newly released HO-scale Trinity Industries 19,600-gallon corn syrup car. The tank car is one of several in the company’s second release.
Railroad in Focus
Whitehurst & Pine Ridge Railroad
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