Amtrak said Tuesday that the testing of a cleaner and renewable biodiesel fuel blend on Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer has made Time magazine’s list of “The 50 Best Inventions of 2010.”
Amtrak received a $274,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to carry out the research project in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation on the train operated by Amtrak with state support from both Oklahoma and Texas. The biodiesel blend is provided by a Texas-based vendor.
In previously conducted stationary locomotive enginetesting, the biodiesel blend known as B20 (20% pure biofuel and 80% diesel) reduced hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide each by 10%, reduced particulates by 15%, and reduced sulfates by 20%, Amtrak said. Detailed measurements wil lbe taken on the locomotive at the end of 12 months so any impact of the biodiesel on valves and gaskets can be measured. Amtrak will collect locomotive exhaust emissions data for analysis in accordance with Environmental Protection Agency locomotive exhaust emissions federal test protocols.
“This recognition from Time magazine is an honor to our state partners and all of us at Amtrak who are working on this project, the nation’s first test of biodiesel in an interstate passenger train,” said Amtrak Vice President, Environmental, Health and Safety Roy Deitchman. “Amtrak travel is already more energy efficient than most other forms of intercity transportation. If the test shows this use of a renewable fuel in our locomotive is successful, it’s a home run for our passengers, for our partners, and for the planet.”
Since April, General Electric P32-8 locomotive 500 has carried an Amtrak decal indicating the use of B20 fuel and other special markings to make certain only the biodiesel fuel is used in 3,200-horsepower, 12-cylinder engine, through the conclusion of the test in next April. The trial has received support on fuel and engine component evaluation from Chevron Oronite. The engine manufacturer has provided input on warranty matters, Amtrak said.
Longtime labor negotiator Theodore Kheel died Friday at age 96. Kheel was a well-known figure in New York City, even to the general public, for his roles in mediating labor conflicts and/or strikes by the newspaper, teaching, and subway unions throughout much of the latter half of the 20th century, gaining the trust of both labor and management.
In later years, Kheel became an advocate for free public transit within New York, and with the help of transit advocate Charles Koumanoff and others, and funded largely by Kheel himself, advanced a plan for congestion pricing in Manhattan which would fund such a measure.
Amtrak says it has ended exploratory talks with New Jersey Transit about reviving the cancelled ARC trans-Hudson commuter rail tunnel.
In a brief statement, Amtrak said: “We’re no longer interested in this project. There were exploratory talks going on with NJT. The talks have stopped. That was commuter rail, and we are interested in intercity rail projects.”
Izmir, Turkey, has placed a $52.7 million order for an undisclosed number of light rail vehicles (LRVs) from China’s CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Research Institute Co., Ltd. The LRVs will begin being delivered in June 2012.
According to the English-language edition of People’s Daily, the order is the first where passenger rail vehicles incorporating China’s own intellectual property rights are being sold to “the European market.” Izmir lies on Turkey’s western coast along the Aegean Sea, making its actual location on the Asian continent.