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…
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Just about every weekend, Ron Natinsky mans the Model Train Garden, unofficially the OBGT (Our Big Garden Train), on a small plot a stone’s throw behind the Butterfly House at the Texas Discovery Gardens in Dallas. It has been his labor of love for four years, since agreeing to donate his time and what was left of his G-scale collection to create a public garden railroad experience. Each year, about 25,000 people visit the railroad at Fair Park.
Expanding a small oil company
On the N-scale Whitehurst & Pine Ridge Railroad, the Ozark Oil Co. has provided small-batch petroleum products for Whitehurst, Pine Ridge and Van Buren since 1961. Until recently, two small tanks were enough for Ozark to manage its customer base. But the arrival of Walthers’ Cornerstone Oil Storage Tank Kit signaled additional capacity to meet growing demand.
‘Loose car’ deliveries
Incorporating “loose car” deliveries is applicable for railroads large and small in modeling railroads in any era. An example is a small family-owned lumber company in Houston. The lumber transfer and storage facility near downtown is on the former Southern Pacific Sunset Route mainline and receives regular deliveries of centerbeam cars. It is a perfect fit for anyone looking to model a modern small industry served by a big railroad, either on a permanent layout or a module.
The Rocky Mountain Train Show returned with gusto in early April after being sidelined in 2021 because of the pandemic. …
Canadian railroads make the grade on Amtrak’s annual host railroad report card, but some U.S. freight railroads fell short. …
The Monon’s Thoroughbred was the Hoosier Line’s racehorse and the “lifeline of Indiana” on the Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville Railway. …
THESE STORIES AND MORE, PLUS A FULL CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS AND THE BUSINESS PULSE OF THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY!
Whitehurst & Pine Ridge Railroad
Product News & Review
Athearn EMD SD70ACu Locomotive
The Cowcatcher reviews Athearn Trains’ newly released HO-scale SD70ACu diesel locomotive in the March/April 2022 issue. The Canadian Pacific model sent for review is highly detailed and rugged, with plenty of gusto to pull a lot of cars.
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