Monday, September 30, 2013

GE Transportation showcases new technologies at Railway Interchange 2013

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
At Railway Interchange 2013 in Indianapolis, GE Transportation is featuring new technologies in the areas of EPA Tier 4 emissions compliance, LNG fuel, and web-based asset management.

“These latest technologies are helping drive productivity and create sustainable outcomes for customers,” GE says. “They help solve complex rail challenges, reduce operating costs, decrease fuel use, minimize downtime, increase safety and improve environmental performance.

GE Transportation’s new Evolution Series Advance Power 4 locomotive meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) stringent Tier 4 emission standards without the use of any type of aftertreatment. GE expects that the Advance Power 4 will be the first main line locomotive on the market to meet such standards.

“Part of the ecomagination-certified Evolution Series, this locomotive will decrease emissions by more than 70% and will save railroad customers more than $1.5 billion in urea infrastructure and operational costs,” GE says. “We have invested $600 million in the Evolution Series since its introduction in 2005 and started field testing a Tier 4 compliant locomotive along 100 miles of track through western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. Additional field testing will take place in the near future.”

GE Transportation’s new NextFuel™ Natural Gas Retrofit Kits enable existing Evolution Series locomotives to operate with dual-fuel capabilities. This gives railroads flexibility to run on both diesel fuel and liquefied natural gas (LNG) with up to 80% gas substitution as well as run 100% diesel. “Our NextFuel kits allow railroads to use LNG as a fuel source, reducing emissions and potentially reducing fuel costs by 50% while not compromising performance,” GE says/

GE has been testing this low-pressure natural gas technology since the spring of 2013 and is working closely with its Class I partners for further field testing. The use of LNG, which is cryogenically stored in a tender in consist, provides enough fuel for a fully-loaded train to travel longer distances without refueling stops. An Evolution Series locomotive equipped with the NextFuel Natural Gas Retrofit Kit meets EPA Tier 3 emission standards. A pilot program with the BNSF to test the use of LNG as a fuel source for locomotives will proceed in 2014.RailDOCS is a web-based, mobile solution providing an asset management platform for track, signal, and wayside assets.

A new addition to GE’s RailDOCS asset management software suite is the Bridge Structure Inspection System, a web-based application designed to manage bridge information and inspections for railroads and transit agencies. Bridge Structure Inspection System allows online access to bridge inventory data, inspection records, and critical safety information. The software meets the need for rail carriers and transit agencies to conduct regular evaluations of their bridge assets, complying with the federally mandated Bridge Management Program.

RailDOCS Hours of Service, released in 2011 for railroad signal employees, now supports train crews (transit and freight) and train dispatch employees. It is a web-based solution that electronically records employee work hours and provides real-time access to employee rest status and availability. It complies with the Code of Federal Regulations which governs hours of service for railroad employees and mandates undisturbed rest periods