Green diesel locomotion: Some new-switcher-oo ‘pulling’ for a change

In all of my live-long days I have never heard a diesel locomotive described – for all practical purposes – as a black-soot-belching volcano; that is, not before today. But, seriously. If the majority of diesel locomotives contribute a fair amount of locomotive-engine-sourced pollution released into the atmosphere then I could definitely understand why efforts aimed at “greening” diesel … Read more

Electric, steam, diesel, and LNG: Locomotive development on a roll

Back on Jan. 17th in “CATS: Diesel-electric versus pure electric train operations – pros and cons,” I wrote: “I was born in the age of the diesel loco. Steam as locomotive propulsion power, although reaching a zenith right around World War II, quite interestingly, maintains a presence, albeit a shadow of its former self by … Read more

In a nutshell: The good and bad of Valley air-pollution reduction

I keep hearing or reading where San Joaquin Valley, California business owners have paid billions of dollars over the years to reduce their contribution to air pollution by as much as 80 percent. Directly related to this businesses, since the 1980s, are credited by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD or Valley Air District) … Read more

Reducing black carbon, carbon dioxide, particle pollution in California air

The California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board (ARB) in “Fact Sheet: California’s Plan to Reduce Diesel Particulate Matter Emissions,” notes, “In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter (diesel PM) as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer and other adverse health effects.” Added ARB in 2004: “Each year in California, … Read more

Clean air: Not a pressing-enough matter, apparently

I can say with a high degree of confidence that when air pollution is viewed as a serious enough problem (taken here to mean that such is viewed by the vast majority of people to be a serious health threat and one of considerable concern) and/or the issue becomes important enough to enough people, then … Read more

A ‘conditional’ go-ahead re fracking in California

With an estimated 250 million motor vehicles plying American roadways daily, I can’t help but think of all of the gasoline being consumed yearly. Using an annual average per-capita vehicle miles traveled rate of 9,363 and an arbitrary average vehicle-miles-per-gallon rating of 17, in doing the math, that works out to the burning by each vehicle … Read more

Polluted air: A global health threat of epic proportions?

While bandied (and sometimes heated) climate change debate seems inexorable (see: “Global warming ‘hiatus’ puts climate change scientists on the spot,” in the Sept. 22, 2013 Los Angeles Times), there is no denying air pollution or its effects. In support of the latter position is a Sept. 23, 2013 report in U-T San Diego (formerly … Read more

Port of Long Beach, California clamping down in air pollution cleanup efforts

To repeat: 3.2 million yearly premature deaths worldwide are air-pollution related. An estimated 200,000 are in the U.S. Numbers have been on the upswing: none of which is good news. And the largest contributor of these deaths: transportation-sector-produced emissions, apparently. Through my reading and research, one factor I found perhaps to be more influential than … Read more

Past could set future direction of transport

I can think of no one better than author and historian Oliver O. Jensen to put into sharp and accurate perspective past transportation’s air pollution, energy aspects. With no fewer than 12 books to Jensen’s credit, according to Trains magazine, the one I am about to reference has the title: “The American Heritage History of … Read more

American Public Transportation Association recognizes transit’s commitment to sustainability

In the context of transportation, public transit, not only does it fulfill a need but it plays a vital role. Think of it this way: In America in 2012, there were 10.5 billion public transportation trips taken. In the same year American drivers drove 2.939 trillion miles. So what if no one used public transit? … Read more