Norfolk Southern Corp. has announced a five-year goal to reduce its carbon footprint through fuel-savings technology and improvements in operating efficiencies.
In a statement, NS said it plans to lower its greenhouse gas emissions per revenue ton-mile 10% by 2014, compared with 2009 emissions.
“Establishing this goal is an important step toward fulfillment of Norfolk Southern’s objective to achieve industry leadership inenvironmentally responsible business practices,” said Blair Wimbush, vice president real estate and corporate sustainability officer. “Disclosing our carbon footprint last year was the first step. Now, we move forward with an aggressive yet realistic goal, and we have the tools to measure our progress toward attaining it.”
In 2009, Norfolk Southern transported 158.5 billion ton-miles of freight, producing 4.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, mostly from diesel-burning locomotives. Emissions per revenue ton-mile were 30.0 grams. Using 2009 as the baseline and at the same traffic level, a 10% reduction of emissions—to 27.0 grams per revenue ton-mile—would result in 475,000 fewer metric tons going into the atmosphere annually by 2014.
Wimbush said the company's emissions reduction strategy will focus on ways to achieve better fuel economy, including purchase of new, more fuel-efficient locomotives; continued deployment of idle-reduction and trainhandling technologies; and refined engine maintenance practices.
Further efforts will address direct and indirect emissions from energy used for heating, cooling, and lighting buildings and other facilities on the railroad. Nearing completion is a systemwide lighting upgrade that is reducing electricity consumption, and the company continues to adjust its nonrail vehicle fleet to save fuel and emissions.
In addition, Norfolk Southern expects significant efficiency gains from its major infrastructure improvement projects, such as the Heartland and Crescent corridors.
Earlier this week, NS’s Heartland Corridor Clearance Improvement Project was awarded the 2010 Dr. William W. Hay Award for Excellence during the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) Annual Conference and Exposition in Orlando, Fla.
By reaching a mitigation agreement with Long Grove, Ill., late last week, Canadian National Railway has come to terms with 23 of the 33 municipalities along the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway, many of whom expressed concern or outright opposition to CN’s acquisition of the latter.
Under CN’s agreement with Long Grove, CN will provide funding to Long Grove for maintaining a quiet zone as well as safety training. Long Grove lies northwest of Chicago. The Surface Transportation Board approved the acquisition on Dec. 24, 2008, with conditions, and CN began operating over the EJ&E early in 2009. But several municipalities, forming the umbrella group The Regional Answer to Canadian National (TRAC), filed an appeal of the STB’s decision. While opposition and the organization still exist, CN’s step-by-step approach to the situation appears to be slowly outflanking those still protesting the acquisition.
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said Tuesday it has won a $12.5 million engineering services contract from Phoenix’s Valley Metro Rail, Inc. for the Central Mesa Light Rail Extension project. The project will extend LRT 3.1 miles through downtown Mesa, a Phoenix suburb. Jacobs will provide both preliminary and final engineering services for the project.
Jacobs expects the project to take approximately two years to complete and will be followed shortly thereafter by construction. The extension is scheduled for completion in 2016.
Said Jacobs Group Vice President Robert Clement in a statement, “Jacobs is very pleased to be involved in the Central Mesa Light Rail Extension project and proud to support METRO's overall efforts to improve transit in the greater Phoenix area.”
At present, Valley Metro's LRT service ends in western Mesa, just across the border from neighboring municipality Tempe, Ariz.; the 3.1-mile addition will extend the line further east. Mesa, unlike some Phoenix-area suburbs, has been consistent in its support for LRT access.
Valley Metro began revenue operations on its current 20-mile route on December 27, 2008.