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Q: Diesel Trains ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Diesel Trains
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: buffalo1975-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 09 Nov 2005 09:21 PST
Expires: 09 Dec 2005 09:21 PST
Question ID: 591065
Why must diesel passenger trains sit and idle all day long when they
are not going anywhere and the weather is nice? Are there
laws/regulations (federal or state of Illinois)that mandate that the
trains emit the least amount of air pollution possible, e.g., that
they not sit and idle unless it is absolutely necessary?  I ask b/c I
live in Chicago
next to the metra train station--their trains emit tons of diesel
fumes all day long while the trains sit.  We can't even open our
windows on a nice day w/o eating the fumes from idleing trains going
nowhere.
Answer  
Subject: Re: Diesel Trains
Answered By: wonko-ga on 09 Nov 2005 10:04 PST
 
Although there is an EPA program intended to reduce diesel engine
idling, it is voluntary.  There are legitimate reasons to idle a
locomotive when the weather is below 40 Fahrenheit.  At warmer
temperatures, locomotives idle in order to provide climate control to
the cab and passenger cars, as well as to keep the locomotive ready to
move at short notice.  I suspect that the need to keep the passenger
cars at a comfortable temperature so that they are ready to receive
passengers at all times, as well as the need to ensure comfortable
conditions in the cab, explains why passenger trains are kept idling,
although it seems to be a deeply ingrained habit for diesel engine
operators to keep their engines idling as well.

Illinois does not seem to have any regulations about diesel engine
idling, although many other states do.  The good news is that the EPA
is in the process of formulating regulations to greatly reduce
locomotive emissions.  The bad news is that these will not take effect
for several years even if they are established soon.

I would suggest contacting your elected representatives and the train
operating authority about your concerns.  If enough people complain,
action might be taken.

Sincerely,

Wonko

"Locomotives, on the other hand, must idle their engines when the
temperature reaches about 40 Fahrenheit.  Since most locomotive
engines do not have anti-freeze, the engine risks freezing at about
this temperature.  Heat is needed to maintain the locomotive's engine
coolant, fuel, oil, water and to maintain battery charge.  At
temperatures above 40 F, locomotives may idle to maintain a readily
available engine, maintain comfortable temperatures inside the
operator cab, and, like trucks, out of the habit of always keeping a
diesel engine operating."

"For locomotives, the focus is mostly on freight locomotives, less on
passenger engines.  While passenger engines idle, freight locomotives
idle more.  There are two freight railroad engine types:  line-haul
and switcher.  Line-haul engines travel throughout the country, while
switcher locomotives remain in rail yards to push and pull other cars
and engines around the yard.  Of the two, switchers idle about 60% of
total engine operating time and line-haul engines idle about 38% of
total engine operating time.  Typical annual idling times for
switchers range from 2,500 to 3,000 hours per year."

"Idling Reduction: Frequent Questions" United States Environmental
Protection Agency (January 4, 2005)
http://www.epa.gov/otaq/smartway/idle-questions.htm#why-idle

"EPA is considering emission standards modeled after our 2007/2010
clean highway and nonroad diesel engine program, with an emphasis on
achieving large reductions in PM emissions as early as possible
through the use of advanced emission control technology. These
standards, which could apply as early as 2011, would be based on the
application of high-efficiency catalytic aftertreatment enabled by the
availability of clean diesel fuel with a sulfur content capped at 15
parts per million. The low-sulfur fuel is already being produced in
some U.S. markets, and its availability is expected to readily
available for locomotive and marine engines by 2012."

"Clean Diesel Program for Locomotives and Marine Engines" United
States Environmental Protection Agency (June 29, 2004)
http://www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/nonroad/420f04041.htm

"Summary of Anti-Idling Regulations in Other States" California Air
Resources Board (October 2, 2002)
http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/sbidling/appb.pdf (Illinois is not
listed.  Most do not appear to apply to locomotives.)

Search terms: diesel idling regulation train; diesel engine idling
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