World’s cleanest diesel locomotives make California’s Central Valley their home

Imagine what it means for people to regularly have to breathe dirty, deleterious and deplorable air. San Joaquin Valley, California residents know all too well.

It was better than a dozen years ago on Dec. 16, 2007 that The Fresno Bee’s comprehensive “Fighting For Air” air-quality report was published. In it, it was brought out that, in all, the Valley suffered:

  • 260 hospital admissions
  • 325 new cases of chronic bronchitis
  • 460 premature deaths among people age 30 and older
  • 595 non-fatal heart attacks
  • 3,000 lost workdays
  • 23,300 asthma attacks
  • 188,000 days of school absences
  • 3.3 billion dollar annual cost for breathing Valley air

(Source: “Smog more than an eyesore – it’s a wake-up call”)

Understanding this to be the case, it should, therefore, come as little or no surprise that the Valley would be chosen as the place that the cleanest-operating diesel-locomotive fleet would be based.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (Valley Air District) in its Feb. 26, 2020 “District funds world’s cleanest diesel locomotive in Exeter: Four old switchers replaced with new ultra-clean equipmentnews release provides further details.

“Officials gathered today [Feb. 26, 2020] to celebrate the retirement and replacement of four Tier 0 locomotive switchers at the headquarters of the San Joaquin Valley Railroad in Exeter [California]. The new engines from Knoxville Locomotive Works, boast being the ‘world’s cleanest diesel locomotive,’ replacing three uncontrolled engines from 1977 and one from 1964.”

Specifically, in terms of emissions reduction, “[t]he project helps protect public health and improve quality of life in the San Joaquin Valley, by collectively reducing a total of 317.46 tons of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Particulate Matter (PM) and Reactive Organic Gases (ROG) over the life of the project, with a cost effectiveness of $24,644 per ton,” the Air District further related.

The Valley and its residents need all the help they can get in this regard and this locomotive addition arrived not a moment too soon.

The Valley Air District added: “A grant provided by the Valley Air District totaled approximately $10.67 million in funding from [California] Assembly Bill 134 and California Climate Investments (CCI). CCI is a state-wide initiative that puts cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment, with a focus on disadvantaged communities.”

A great and most welcome addition to the San Joaquin Valley and California these clean-diesel locomotives are!

To learn more, see: “District funds world’s cleanest diesel locomotive in Exeter: Four old switchers replaced with new ultra-clean equipment” Feb. 26, 2020 news release here.

California’s expansive and agriculturally fertile yet often air-polluted San Joaquin Valley