GREEN RAIL NEWS “Green” Locomotive Roundup

Edited by Jody Moore of


Norfolk Southern


NS 999 is a prototype battery-powered locomotive is a 1,500-horsepower plug-in locomotive to bring about cleaner transportation and near zero emissions on the Norfolk Southern.   Equipped with a string of 1,080 lead-acid energy storage systems, its 12-volt batteries keep on recharging when the brakes are applied. The electric locomotive ensures zero exhaust emissions owing to the absence of a diesel engine. It does not ask for recharging before it is operated for three shifts on single charge. An elaborate battery-management system ensures safety and maximum battery life.  Developed jointly by Norfolk Southern, the US Department of Energy, the Federal Railroad Administration, and Penn State University, the $1.3 million train aims to bring down the overall carbon footprints of the transportation sector in the Norfolk region.



Electro Motive Diesel

All throughout the month of December, EMD’s new assembly plant in Muncie, IN has been churning out the first units of CANADIAN PACIFIC’s order for GP20C-ECO rebuild units. The first

Brian Marsh, affiliated with Overland Models, has provided a wealth of photos of the GP20C-ECO program as part of the research for the model making process. The first photos of the locomotives showed up online in early December, including a front and rear view of CP 2207:



And a photo of the 2205 on the EMD test track:

On Dec. 22, he posted two more shots showing the growing lineup of locomotives awaiting delivery:


The initial order is for 30 locomotives, with more orders expected longer-range.

GRN is investigating the possibility that rebuilt UNION PACIFIC rotary snowplow unit SPMW 222 may be fitted with an ECO-line 710 engine. The so-called Snail, rebuilt by the Southern Pacific railroad as the power unit for rotary snowplow SPMW 207, was moved to Relco in Albia, IA in March 2012 for rebuild along with her mated plow. It has been stated that the unit will get a 1,500 hp 12-710 engine as part of the rebuild. We are still trying to determine if this is factual, and if this will be an engine package out of EMD’s ECO line.

In its Dec. 14, 2012 meeting, METROLINK, the rail commuter agency in Los Angeles, CA,  recommended to its board that they enter into an agreement with EMD for up to 20 model F-150 Tier 4 passenger locomotives, conditional on funding from the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The contract is worth up to $129,400,000 including spare parts and engineering support.

According to the meeting notes from the Metrolink board (found online at the locomotive bid “proposed Alternating Current (AC) propulsion as required by the RFP, but also offered Crash Energy Management (CEM) car body, consolidated cab electronics, and health monitoring. The truck design has been tested in Europe and will be tested in the United States.”

In addition, the recommendation contained the finding that “even though EMD’s proposal does not contain the lowest initial price among all proposers, it offers a technically superior solution, at the best value to SCRRA measured over the life of the Locomotive.”

The chief competitor in the bid process was MotivePower, which proposed an interesting dual-engined MP56 rebuild locomotive rated at 5,600hp. According to the meeting notes, “MPI proposed Direct Current (DC) propulsion engines for the rebuilt locomotives and included some CEM elements but did not incorporate body frame improvements that the RFP requested, even for a rebuilt solution. MPI engines had the highest horsepower at 5400 HP, made up of two 2700 horsepower engines. Two engines provide limp-home capability. As a rebuilt locomotive, MPI’s solution incorporates the MP-36 locomotive structure which is currently operating in the Metrolink service.    Currently, the MP-36 has truck/ride quality issues that likely will exist in any rebuilt solution absent design changes that MPI did not propose.”

National Railway Equipment

Robert Muir sent along several photos of the INDIANA HARBOR BELT’s 3GS21C fleet for our perusal. They include:

IHB 2162 has not been delivered yet. Interestingly, the same thing occurred with the 3GS21B fleet, IHB 2140-2143 – IHB 2142 was the last of the group to be delivered.

Joe Ferguson sent along an interesting photo of a completed genset locomotive for export service. The three engine locomotive, numbered 1202, is believed to be for Australian demonstration service. The locomotive was photographed outside NRE’s Mt. Vernon, IL plant on Dec. 18.

One of two 2GS14B locomotives built for GERDAU AMERISTEEL has been deployed to the Chaparral Steel plant in Midlothian, TX. Roberto Alainz shared his photo of GAXX 2287 working the plant on Dec. 16:

Green Rail News has submitted an inquiry with Gerdau Ameristeel’s press office to find out where GAXX 2286 has been deployed, but has not yet received a response. (Probably due in large part to the holiday season.)

Thought it is older news, I ran across the following on the STB's site:


In June, BP WEST COAST in Blaine, WA and NRE entered into an agreement to lease 1GS7B NREX 700 for use at the plant. The lease was for 24 months, with purchase options after 12 and 24 months at $777,650 and $550,000 respectively.

The lease also calls for removal of radio and R/C equipment from the BP-owned Green Goat, RPRX 1703, that is on site, and makes allowances for purchase of the Green Goat and two other locomotives on site by NRE as a separate agreement. I have no idea (yet) if that has been executed or not.

Progress Rail Services

BNSF is acquiring four PR30C demonstrator locomotives, originally PRLX 3002-3005, from Progress Rail Services. They will be repainted and renumbered BNSF 1320-1323.

Craig Walker caught the BNSF 1320 - former PRLX 3002 - in fresh paint in San Bernardino, CA on Dec. 16 and shared this photo with us: Note that the PRLX 3004 in yellow and grey paint is coupled behind the 1320.

As mentioned in the November edition of the Roundup, the author noted the 3002 at Progress in Tacoma, WA on Oct. 10, 2012, still in its UP-like demonstrator paint.

A fifth PR30C demonstrator, PRLX 3006, was sold to Pacific Harbor Line in 2010 as their PHL 40.


A twin-engine LEAF genset (presumably the one mentioned in last month’s issue and Railserve press release) has been deployed to Cargill’s corn biofuel refinery in Blair, NE. RSSX 3021 is former Hartwell Railroad 3021, a GP30 originally built as Rio Grande 3021 in 1963. There are no photos of this unit available yet, bet we are told that it retains its GP30-stylized cab, but with the lowered long hood of a LEAF engine.

Railpower Technologies

 On Dec. 7, I paid a visit to the Port of Montreal to get photos of the two RP20BD locomotives that I missed in my August visit with CRO editor Will Baird. Three of the RP20's had slugs attached to them, and the only thing not being used was the recently arrived 1002, which still needed some work before going into service. 

 I did also get a frame number from the 1002, 5288-11, which would make it ex-BNSF 1358, a GP7u originally built in June 1953 as Santa Fe GP7 ATSF 2859. I have photos of the 1358 in storage in Topeka, KS in 2009. Also, I have compiled the builder's plate information for the fleet:

RPRX 1001 - b/n RP158-001 - blt Oct. 2010

RPRX 1002 - b/n RP169-001 - blt June 2012

RPRX 1003 - b/n RP169-002 - blt June 2012

RPRX 1004 - b/n RP169-003 - blt July 2012

1001, 1003 and 1004 were all mated up to slugs. I didn't get the number off of the one that the 1001 was coupled to, but the 1003 was coupled to 2008 and 1004 was coupled to 2009. 1001 was mated to the 2007 when we were out there in August. If I am not mistaken, POM only has the three slugs, so it has to be the one that was still with the 1001.

On Dec. 20, 2012, UNION PACIFIC held an event at Proviso yard near Chicago, IL to introduce the new Railpower RP20CD genset locomotives that the railroad has put into hump service at the yard.


Here’s the text of the press release from Union Pacific:

Robert Muir also provided us with an assortment of photos of the gensets at work at Proviso:

The first of two RP20BD locomotives for RailAmerica-owned CENTRAL RAILROAD OF INDIANA had a bit of a surprise when it was released from TMS Altoona on Dec. 12: instead of wearing the red, white and blue paint of RailAmerica, the locomotive was adorned in the orange and black scheme of Genesee & Wyoming. G&W purchased RailAmerica earlier in the year, but the transaction didn’t officially receive the blessing of the Surface Transportation Board until mid-month. Collin Reinhart shared this photo of the 2002 with GRN via our facebook page: posted photos of the second unit in the order, CIND 2002, at TMS Juniata Shops on Christmas day.


The announced RP14BD genset for the TERMINAL RAILWAY ALABAMA STATE DOCKS in Mobile, AL was moved by the Alton and Southern Railway in East St. Louis, IL on Dec. 22, 2012. Tommy Wolfe caught the engine trailing an A&S transfer job in East St. Louis that day:

According to a press release from Railpower ( and a brief from the EPA (, the locomotive is a direct repower of MP15 locomotive TASD 802, the number it presently wears. It is believed that the unit is headed to Metro East Industries in East St. Louis for paint.

©CRO January 2013