Friday, November 20, 2009

FRA says railroads are getting more ton-miles to the gallon

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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released a study Thursday showing an improvement of around 22% between 1990 and 2006 in freight rail fuel efficiency.

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“While all types of transportation are vital to the distribution of goods across the country, this study shows that utilizing America’s freight rail system can lead to significant fuel savings,” said FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo (pictured at left). “The environmental benefits of these positive changes over the last two decades are enormous. We look forward to working with the freight rail industry to make sure these gains continue.”

As reasons for the increase in fuel efficiency, Szabo cited improvement in diesel-electric locomotives, increased use of double stack trains, track and signal improvements, and longer trains.

The Association of American Railroads Friday commended FRA for its report. "Railroads are continuously improving fuel efficiency--through new technologies, locomotive improvements, enhanced employee training, and other initiatives," said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. "The environmental benefits of freight rail--such as our ability to take trucks off the road and lower greenhouse gas emissions--are made possible by our fuel efficiency."