FRA wants Rails to commit to climate change targets

The Federal Railroad Administration is urging railroad companies and manufacturers of rail equipment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to its new Climate Challenge initiative.

The initiative, announced Friday in honor of Earth Day, will build on the inherent fuel efficiency of freight trains relative to trucks while encouraging stakeholders to adopt measures that promote sustainability and resilience, the FRA said.

The initiative is part of a broader effort by the federal government per the infrastructure bill to promote emission reductions. FRA looks forward to continuing to partner with industry in research and development involving renewables and clean energy.

“FRA is committed to supporting innovation in the rail industry to make rail one of the most sustainable transportation options,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose in a release. “Together, we will expand access to passenger and freight trains, ensure that they are supported by environmentally friendly technologies and eliminate emissions across the rail supply chain.”

FRA also partners with the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program, where freight transport companies measure, compare, and improve their energy efficiency.

The new infrastructure law calls for a 500% increase in the recent funding rate for rail projects eligible for federal grants, according to the FRA. These grants are awarded to projects that aim to improve access to passenger rail or encourage a mode shift to rail and more energy efficient means of transport.

In response to Friday’s announcement, the American Railroad Association noted freight rail’s decades-long partnership with suppliers, academic institutions and government partners, and the group urged the FRA to promote actions that will not stop innovation.

“Today, the industry is actively developing new low- and zero-emissions technologies, with several railroads conducting service trials on hydrogen fuel cells and battery electric locomotives that can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kristin South, vice president. AAR senior for communications. “We look forward to working with the federal government to usher in the next wave of sustainable innovation through continuous collaboration, investment, and regulation that makes progress — not hinders — sustainable progress.”

Amtrak said it plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% and shift its electricity consumption to carbon-free sources by 2030. To that end, Amtrak acquired 75 locomotives between now and 2024 that produce fewer emissions. The ALC-42 locomotive, which Amtrak has run between Chicago and Seattle, emits more than 89% nitrogen oxide emissions and 95% less particulate matter than locomotives from the 1990s. The new locomotive consumes less fuel, according to Amtrak.

Amtrak also said Friday that it is developing a company-wide climate resilience plan.

“The United States has the opportunity to leverage an unrivaled asset — our rail infrastructure — to support the expansion of the low- and high-capacity intercity passenger rail network that can reduce the country’s carbon emissions,” said Amtrak CEO and President Stephen Stephen. gardener. “Creating a future in which trains run on clean energy, Amtrak is stepping up to President Biden’s Climate Change Commitment and the FRA challenge as we aim to shift to carbon-free electricity to power our trains.”

Subscribe to the FreightWaves e-newsletter and get the latest shipping insights right in your inbox.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

Sign up today for the Future of the Supply Chain #FOSC22

Leading voices in the supply chain are coming to Rogers, Arkansas, May 9-10.

*limited time price available.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: