Union Pacific to introduce low-emission switchers in Northern California

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ROSEVILLE, Calif. — Union Pacific is working with two Northern California air quality districts to repower 10 diesel-electric locomotives into new Tier 4-compliant switchers, the railroad announced this week.

The new single-engine locomotives will ultimately replace genset locomotives pioneered by UP in 2005.

"The new low-power switchers will be an invaluable addition to our fleet," said Mike Iden, Union Pacific director of locomotive engineering. "The coordination with Progress Rail and our partnerships with the Air Districts are pivotal in ensuring this new technology comes online to provide environmental benefits to our California operations."

Funding for the project comes from the Proposition 1B: Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program, a partnership between the California Air Resources Board and local air districts. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District and Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District are working with UP on the project.

Tier 4 technology is the EPA's cleanest locomotive emission standard. Utilizing its multi-engine genset locomotive, Union Pacific is the only Class I railroad operating Tier 4 switchers and is the first Class I to pursue Tier 4 repowers.

The locomotives are being repowered at a Progress Rail facility in Patterson, Ga., and will start joining Union Pacific's yard locomotive fleet in the Bay Area and Sacramento later this year.

Union Pacific has worked closely with Progress Rail since 2015 on an updated, emission-reducing Tier 4 switcher design. The companies are working together during the switcher's demonstration operations and in-service verification testing taking place in Union Pacific's City of Industry, Calif., rail yard.

— From a Union Pacific press release

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