New Orleans Public Belt gets EPA grant for eco-locomotive

New Orleans Public Belt eco-locomotive
(Courtesy New Orleans Public Belt)

A conventional diesel locomotive owned by the New Orleans Public Belt is about to be transformed into an eco-locomotive, partly courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Port of New Orleans and the NOPB were awarded a National Clean Diesel Funding grant, which will provide 40% of total project cost, allowing NOPB to retrofit the engine of a conventional diesel locomotive to a cleaner engine with low emissions beyond current requirements. This will be the first locomotive of its kind in the New Orleans gateway.

This eco-locomotive will meet ultra-low emitting standards (Tier 4) and result in immediate air quality benefits such as reducing ozone precursors, diesel particulate matter, as well as fuel consumption and corresponding greenhouse gas emissions. It will boast a sleek new paint scheme with green accents. The retrofit of the locomotive will begin this spring, and once completed, will be officially dedicated for use on the NOPB system.

“EPA’s clean diesel grants fund cleaner, more efficient transportation to help protect the environment and keep our economy growing,” says EPA Regional Administrator Anne Idsal. “Port NOLA and NOPB’s efforts to upgrade its locomotive fleet will contribute to improved air quality and benefit the New Orleans community.”

NOPB transitioned from the City of New Orleans to Port NOLA leadership in February 2018.

(Photography by Cheryl Gerber) Brandy Christian

“With Port NOLA and NOPB now fully aligned, we are able to make strategic investments that provide air quality benefits for the community while providing superior service to our users and Class I partners,” says Brandy Christian, CEO of NOPB and president and CEO of Port NOLA. “Port NOLA’s commitment to sustainability drove the decision to apply for this EPA grant and we look forward to seeing the eco-locomotive on our system.”

NOPB and Port NOLA have each piloted other innovative emissions reduction initiatives, including the Port of New Orleans Clean Truck Replacement Incentive Program and NOPB’s locomotive idle reduction plan, as a part of their respective strategic plans. Now partners, they are working together to foster programs that address both the maritime and rail space.