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Union Pacific Hybrid Trains

Union Pacific hybrid trains are flocking to California. In fact, 10 of the diesel-electric hybrid locomotives, nicknamed "Green Goats," are being built by RailPower Technologies of Vancouver, British Columbia for Union Pacific. These green locomotives have a price tag of at a price tag of $8.2 million and will be shipped to Union Pacific facilities in the southern portion of the Golden State. Delivery of the hybrid locomotives is expected the end of 2005 or beginning of 2006.



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According to Union Pacific, "The original hybrid test locomotive was nicknamed "Green Goat" for its environmentally symbolic green paint scheme by its builder, Railpower Technologies, of Vancouver, British Columbia. Goat is a traditional railroad term for locomotives used in yard switching operations. The Fresno unit is painted in Union Pacific's yellow and gray colors. Union Pacific tested the experimental Green Goat in its Roseville, California, and Chicago yards during the second half of 2002 and the first half of 2003, respectively."

The diesel-electric hybrid trains are expected to cut emissions between 80 to 90-percent and decrease fuel consumption between 40 to 60-percent compared to conventional diesel-powered locomotives. The Green Goats will be used in rail yards to separate to sort out railcars for inbound trains and lining up outbound trains.

Union Pacific's hybrid locomotives meet or exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's most stringent Tier 2 requirements. The UP green trains have been designated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as ultra-low emitting locomotives, primarily because the nitrous oxide levels significantly exceed the federal limits.

The Green Goats are powered by large banks of batteries connected to the hybrid power-train. When the batteries start to become depleted, the clean-burning diesel engine kicks in to power a generator to recharge the batteries. The hybrid locomotives are the world's largest and heaviest hybrid vehicles in production.

Besides CARB and the EPA, Union Pacific has also been working with BNSF Railway and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District in cutting emission both in the rail yards and along its rail lines. On September 13, 2005, Union Pacific hosted a clean rail symposium for elected officials, air board members and other invited guests at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

The days of trains belching black soot and smoke may finally be coming to an end. One may long nostalgically of this for a time, but when we notice that we no longer cough when a locomotive passes, the nostalgia will turn to thankfulness. Clean trains, mean clean rains and would could ask for any more than this?