Progress Rail unveils new EMD Tier 4 switcher in California

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Progress Rail officials unveiled their new Tier 4 emission standard-compliant EMD GP24B at Long Beach, Calif., on Monday.
Charles Freericks
LONG BEACH, Calif. – There is a new Tier 4 road switcher option for railroads now demonstrating on the Pacific Harbor Line in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Progress Rail, a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., and Pacific Harbor Line Inc. hosted an event for port officials on Monday at the Port of Long Beach to provide a closer look at Progress Rail’s single engine Environmental Protection Agency Tier 4-certified switcher locomotive, the EMD24B. The locomotive, rebuilt from a 1971-era GP40, has successfully completed its California Air Resources Board verification testing on the short line during the last year.

Pacific Harbor Line officials say they plan to lease the unit. The locomotive retains its demonstrator Progress Rail mustard-and-black colors, but is now adorned with Pacific Harbor Line logos on its flanks, nose, and rear.

“Progress Rail has already delivered Tier 4 passenger locomotives in the state of California that meet lower emissions standards set by the U.S. EPA. Today, we are pleased to share that [Pacific Harbor Line] will utilize our latest switcher locomotive and continue to operate with a lower fleet emissions footprint — vital for the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles,” said Gary Eelman, vice president of transit, leasing and re-powers at Progress Rail.

Eelman is a long-time railroad executive who began as a car man, cleaning commuter coaches, with the Penn Central in 1971. He rose to executive positions with Amtrak and NJ Transit before joining Progress Rail.

Eeleman says that the locomotive is powered by a Caterpillar 3512C HD engine and was built with re-manufactured core parts, offering a sustainable solution for railroad customers.

“[The railroad] is pleased to work with Progress Rail once again and looks forward to leasing the new EMD24B, not only for its performance, but also to continue to create awareness of the need for implementing greener technology in the ports,” says Otis Cliatt, Pacific Harbor Line president.

He also spoke of a future desire to replace some of the railroad's aging genset fleet with additional EMD24Bs. Progress Rail and the railroad have a long-term relationship as Progress has already re-powered the railroad’s fleet of MP20C-3s and MP20B-3s with Caterpillar prime movers.
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