First fully battery-electric line-haul loco begins testing on BNSF between Stockton and Barstow

The below Jan. 4, 2021 news release is from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. BNSF Railway Company … and Wabtec’s … exploration of the future potential of battery-electric locomotives crosses another significant milestone this week as they begin testing the technology in revenue service between Barstow and Stockton, California. As BNSF seeks ways to further … Read more

Leading by example: California shows continued, strong commitment to state emissions reduction

California can be credited with many air-quality-improvement firsts. Listed among these is a waiver granted by the fed that allowed the state to establish its own more stringent light-duty vehicle tailpipe-emissions standards, that is, apart from those prescribed for the rest of the U.S. In an Oct. 19, 2020 news release, meanwhile, the California Environmental … Read more

A critical look at surface-air-temperature change: Influencing ground-level ozone or not is the question

Ozone (O3) is a colorless but not odorless gas. When ignited, ozone gives off a chlorine-bleach-like odor. So, obviously, based on this, there is a point at which ozone ignites, and it is when this ignition point is reached that the chlorine-bleachish smell from the ozone is produced and released. It is in this sense … Read more

Report findings: States committed to meeting 2030 climate goals ‘off track’

The below Dec. 8, 2020 press release is from the Environmental Defense Fund. A new report from Environmental Defense Fund using emissions data from Rhodium Group finds that U.S. states with climate commitments are not on track to bring their emissions down consistent with science-based trajectories for 2030. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate … Read more

Scientific analysis: Facts-driven. Any questions?!

Scientists are adept, expert, highly proficient at what they do and, what scientists do in the scientific sense is to investigate. Science, meanwhile, involves investigation. Early observations Thinking back to high school biology and chemistry classes, we students were required to have a notebook to take “notes” of what was observed in conducted lab exercises. … Read more

A story of two technologies – Part 3: With a keen eye on surface-travel’s future

An internal combustion engine is an internal combustion engine is an internal combustion engine. And like any working physical object it has limitations. Fact is, whether fueled by gasoline, kerosene, alcohol, ethanol, waste vegetable oil, natural gas (be it natural, renewable, compressed, liquefied) or even propane, these engines pollute. And as long as they are … Read more

Under the (car) hood – Part 2: Inroads made and then some

By the time the railroad had arrived on the scene, the seeds of what was known as the wagon road had already been firmly sowed. However advanced the state of the latter was, it had become patently obvious that this pathway for transport just didn’t measure up and something more resilient, more durable and way … Read more

Reflections on our rail past: Knowing where we’ve been could tell us where we’re going

Today’s biggest driver of air-pollutant emissions is transportation. And undergirding that is unabated population growth. At this juncture, prior to entering a brand new year and a whole new decade, global warming and climate change still remain top-of-mind concerns and for good reason. That the attention being paid to the duo appears to be getting … Read more

Will that be ‘renewable,’ ‘natural’ natural gas or neither?

Picture an operating dairy farm that is first rate in every way, including environmentally. Carrying this farther, now imagine that the electricity the farm uses to power such devices as automated cow-milking equipment and refrigeration units to keep the drawn milk chilled while in storage to name but two, well, that is farm-generated. If that … Read more

Should highways and/or roadways for buses/trucks and autos be separated?

I think trying to determine whether separate thoroughfares – be these primary or secondary vehicle-traveled ways – for buses and trucks apart from that for automobiles would make for an excellent case study. And, one of the locations where an old railroad corridor could serve as a proving ground is in Santa Cruz County, California, … Read more