GREEN RAIL NEWS “Green” Locomotive Roundup

Edited by Jody Moore of



Quietly, a new builder has dipped its hat into the often maligned hybrid switching locomotive market. ALTERNATIVE MOTIVE POWER SYSTEMS announced that it had opted to use Corvus Energy industrial use lithium-ion AT6500-48V batteries for a prototype hybrid switching locomotive that the company is developing. According to a press release, “the prototype is being developed with a New Technology Research and Development grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.”


Also according to the press release, AMPS anticipates “the hybrid GenSet package will reduce nitrous oxide emissions by up to 98 percent and achieve fuels savings of 65 percent. The testing phase will be carried out in early 2013. When completed, the locomotive will be operated in Texas to move rail yard rolling stock owned by Railserve Inc.”


Though there is no clear ownership connection between AMPS and Berkshire Hathaway-owned Railserve, the company did help devlop the genset technology that Railserve is now using in its LEAF rebuilds.


AMPS’ official website can be found here:





On August 22, UNION PACIFIC held an official unveiling of nearly EPA Tier 4-compliant EMD locomotives, including SD59MX rebuild UP 9900, which was mentioned as being fitted with special equipment in the January 2012 Roundup. At that time, Allan Williams sent a photo of the unit at Progress Rail in Waycross, GA:


According to press coverage in the Sacramento Bee, “The UP 9900 emissions systems include exhaust gas recirculation, which recycles 10 percent of the engine exhaust, reducing the amount of oxygen the engine runs on; diesel oxidation catalysts; and diesel particulate filters, which are in place in most modern diesel vehicles.


“UP is investing $20 million on 25 experimental locomotives, 16 of which will operate out of the Roseville railyard. The other nine will be based in the San Bernardino County community of Colton.


“The experimental locomotives are intermediate line-haul units, with an operating range of about 200 miles. They will be used exclusively in California. Testing on all 25 locomotives is scheduled to last through 2014.”


Read more here:>#storylink=cpy


The story cites a reduction in horsepower as part of the emissions upgrade, but doesn’t mention that this is in part because the 9900’s original 16-710 engine was replaced with a downrated 12 cylinder 12-710T3 engine. Presumably, with the information gathered in the testing phase, EMD will be capable of producing a 16 cylinder equivalent with the required EPA Tier compliance. Tier 4 becomes a requirement in 2015.


After the event, UP immediately placed the 9900 in service out of the Roseville, CA pool. It was noted in the middle of the Roseville Hauler consist on Aug. 27, bracketed by UP 9921 and 9922.





Meanwhile in Erie, PA, General Electric held a ceremony on Aug. 24 to introduce its first Tier 4 Evolution series GEVO engine, GECX 2015. made the following photos available online:


According to press releases by GE and an article in Railway Age, the 2015 and its brethren are able to achieve Tier 4 equivalency without the use of Urea filtration or other maintenance-intensive treatments. Initial comments regarding the methods of achieving that reduction via cylinder temperature management were later removed from the Railway Age site. GE’s press release states a little more vaguely that the locomotive features “Breakthrough diesel engine technology to reduce key emissions by more than 70 percent.”


The Railway Age article can be found here:®-series-locomotive.html?channel=35#.UDxSso4hPBw while the GE Press Release in PDF format can be downloaded from here:





2GS14B demonstrator NREX 1400 has finished up a tour on the CUYAHOGA VALLEY SCENIC RAILROAD and was noted back at NRE in Dixmoor, IL on August 5, 2012.


The INDIANA HARBOR BELT has taken delivery of the first of four six-axle 3GS21C locomotives. The engine was noted delivered to IHB’s Gibson yard in late July, 2012. When the author visited the yard in early August, the locomotive was inside the roundhouse there, and could not be viewed.





The second of four PR30B locomotives for SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY RAILROAD was shipped in early August. SJVR 3001 joins the 3000, which was tested briefly on the Arizona and California before being sent to home rails in June.


According to a press release in April, the SJVR is to receive four of the repowered locomotives from Progress. Here is the body of that press release:





Two more LEAF rebuilds were noted by Ken Zeigenbein at North Little Rock, AR on August 22. The destination of RSSX 576 and 4130 was not known at press time.


Ken posted two photos of the units on this page:





In late August, Brian Tindle broke news that “DALLAS, GARLAND & NORTHEASTERN secured funds for seven more GenSet road switchers. Unlike their previous GenSets (DGNO 140, 141, 2000-2002) these will be from RJ Corman RailPower in the form of RP20BDs.”


Cores being moved to TMS Altoona for the order include CORP 3828 (GP38); DGNO 4025 (GP40); GEXR 4019 (GP40); NECR 4048 (GP40) and SJVR 3829 (GP38). Also moving toward Altoona and apparently for this order are RLK 2002 (GP38) and GEXR 4019 (GP40), both currently in Sudbury, ON.


RP20BD demonstrator RPRX 2010 was moved to San Antonio, TX and back during July and August. The unit was re-certified for EPA compliance by the Southwest Research Institute. By mid-August, the 2010 was back on “home” rails on RJ Corman in Lexington, KY.


PORT OF MONTREAL 2003 – their new RP20BD genset – was moved from Altoona, PA to Montreal, arriving at the Port on August 7, 2012.




We Tour the Port of Montreal

Diesel Shop


On August 3rd, Jody More and your Editor got an exclusive tour of the Port of Montreal POM facility. With permission of POM staff, we were able to photograph much of the roster including:

POM 8403 (EMD MP15AC)

POM 2008 (Slug, ex-GTW GP9 4137)

POM 8405 (EMD MP15AC)

POM 8406 (EMD MP15AC)

POM 2007 (Slug ex-GTW GP9 4434)

POM 1001 (Railpower RP20BD)

POM 1004 (Railpower RP20BD)


Inside the shop, we found MP15AC number 8403 coupled to slug number 2008, both receiving some attention. Outside, the Port’s other two MP15’s – 8405 and 8406 – were waiting between runs.

Port of Montreal is in the middle of adding four Railpower RP20BD gensets to its fleet. POM 1001 was the first to be ordered, and was received in Oct. 2010. Earlier this summer, the next genset, POM 1004, was shipped to the Port, arriving in June 2012.

The more recent RP20BD gensets are being built as slug mothers capable of being mated to one of the Port’s three yard slugs. When we toured the facility, we found that the 1004 had not yet been commissioned. However, after delivery, the 1001 had been modified as a slug mother as well, making it the first such locomotive to be built by Railpower. As it was the first set in North America, the pair are keenly being observed by Railpower and railways who own gensets! Our guide mentioned some tweaks to improve the locomotive performance – specifically modifications to the locomotive’s automatic shutdown – are needed.

You will also note the major differences with POM 1001 and the newest arrival 1004. Railpower had made several design changes, most notable is the nose area, with an almost a flat cab front save for the front sand boxes and cab steps. Unlike the MP15’s, which have the hood end designated the F-end, the flat end of the 1004 is designated the F-end or front. This means when configured with a slug trailing, the engineer is on the opposite side of the cab from where he would be on the older units.


CRO would like to thank Mr. Vick Monteforte for offering Jody and your editor such a thorough and fascinating tour of the POM facility.

 The first two of three Railpower RP20BD locomotives were delivered to the Port of Montreal from TMS during the month of July. POM 1004, which moved as RPRX 1004, and POM 1003 which was released from TMS for movement to Montreal in late July as RPRX 1003. Only one other locomotive remains to be delivered in the order, expected to be POM 1002, and coming from Relco in Albia, IA.

Richard Marchi posted these photos of the 1004 at St-Luc Diesel Shop awaiting delivery to the Port of Montreal. Note the new style “flat” nose.




The newest POM RB20BD RPRX 1003 was enroute to Montreal during our tour. It was delivered to the Port on Aug. 10th. Bruce Kerr snapped the unit at Enola, PA August 7th, 2012


©CRO September 2012