CATS: Diesel-electric versus pure electric train operations – pros and cons

Number 10 in the Clean Air Technologies Series. When it comes to powering a locomotive, electricity wins hands down, or does it? Before going any farther, a brief review of 20th century U.S. transportation history is in order. I was born in the age of the diesel loco. Steam as locomotive propulsion power, although reaching a zenith right around … Read more

California high-speed rail looks to renewable resources for electricity supply

In “Trains prove their worth in helping improve air,” I offered, “In the final analysis if the growth in passenger train ridership is to continue, then additional service will be necessary. ….Electrified California high-speed rail service, on the other hand, expected to break ground later this year, when built and operational, will provide a viable alternative to meet … Read more

Trains prove their worth in helping improve air

In “CATS: Decline in smog-forming emissions from California cars a bright spot,” I credited improvement in state motor vehicle smog-forming emissions to “initiatives such as the state’s Smog Check and other programs.” California’s Smog Check Program, by the way, went into effect in 1984. Moreover, noted in “Planning for a Better Future: California 2025: 2010 Update,” a Public Policy … Read more

For ‘green’ transportation, San Francisco’s got it goin’ on

When I first stepped foot on Golden State real estate (I’m not a California native), I had little idea what to expect. The year was 1972 and I was all of 19 years old. For me the California experience was like no other I had had up to that time. Included in that was Disneyland, Lombard … Read more

Beyond Oil/Sierra Club ‘Smart Choices, Less Traffic’ report gives transit the green light

By the time the mid-20th century rolled around, the American streetcar had seen far better days. But for this inspiring institution, it was neither the end of the road nor the end of the American electric street railway story. Yes, the near-total disappearance of the once-mighty and utilitarian trolley network is sad, but it’s also profound, though … Read more

CATS: Maglev – an iron horse of a different stripe

Number four in the Clean Air Technologies Series. There is something about a train. In fact, it was none other than Poetry Pulitzer Prize winner Edna St. Vincent Millay who, in true poetic form, in “Travel,” wrote: “Yet, there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take, No matter where it’s going.” Amen! One would not be incorrect … Read more

eMission control – Focus: Railways

At the end of “Cutting-edge transportation: Effective emissions-reductions approaches,” in closing, I wrote: “With that said, transit might just be the best thing going when it comes to mitigating negative environmental impact.” Well, time has come to expound upon that thought. For starters it is helpful to clarify “negative environmental impact.” In the context of … Read more

What’s it gonna take…to tackle dirty air?

Today’s thread: Food for thought. Up until now, I have presented information on many different air-pollution aspects: the pollution types, the sources, the implications – both health- and monetary-cost-impact-wise, how and where pollution travels, its makeup, properties and, for one type of pollution, at least – polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (or PAHs) – how it interacts with … Read more