San Pedro & Southwestern named SmartWay partner

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated San Pedro & Southwestern Railroad as a partner in EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership program.

The Benson, Ariz.-based short line was recognized August 7 for its success improving both fuel efficiency and environmental performance by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

“This is an exciting development,” said Scott Parkinson, president of ARG Transportation Services, SPSR’s parent company. “We are one of only 18 rail carriers in the nation to earn this distinction.”

SPSR Operations Manager Richard Archunde and Administrative Assistant Ellie Islas were instrumental in gaining this recognition. Archunde credited SPSR employees. “They have helped us save fuel, lower costs, and reduce adverse environmental impacts,” he said, noting that “compared to trucks, railroads typically move four times more freight per gallon of fuel while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75%.”

Islas added, “The Smart Way program will help SPSR keep close track of how efficient we are running and help us look into areas to further improve our efficiency from year to year.”

According to the EPA, since the SmartWay program began in 2004, its 3,000 members have saved 65 million barrels of oil, and reduced emissions by eliminating 28 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 478,000 tons of nitrogen dioxide, and 22,000 tons of particulate matter.

ARG Transportation Services acquired San Pedro & Southwestern Railroad in November 2003 from RailAmerica, Inc. (now Genesee & Wyoming Inc.). SPSR serves regional businesses in Cochise County from connections at Benson and Willcox, Ariz., with Union Pacific’s Los Angeles-Chicago main line. ARG also operates the 133-mile Coos Bay Rail Link, headquartered in Coos Bay, Ore.

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