Reducing diesel emissions from locomotives

A component of the EPA’s Diesel and Marine Emissions Management Strategy is to reduce diesel emissions from locomotives in NSW. Since 2013, the EPA has conducted studies and workshops to share best practice measures to reduce air pollution using the latest technology.  

Diesel locomotive fuel efficiency and emissions study

The 2016 Diesel Locomotive - Fuel Efficiency and Emissions Testing study is EPA’s latest investigation into emissions and fuel efficiency of diesel locomotives operating in NSW. The EPA collaborated with rail operator Pacific National to conduct testing on two classes of locomotives commonly used in NSW freight operations. This study is a follow-up to EPA’s diesel locomotive emission reduction technology study conducted in 2015.

The study

  • established baseline exhaust emissions and fuel consumption of General Electric (GE) powered locomotives operating in NSW
  • compared the measured exhaust emissions against the US Tier 0+ locomotive emission standards.

The study found that the two GE locomotive engine classes tested

  • achieved emission results below Tier 0+ requirements for particulate matter (PM), total hydrocarbons (THC) and carbon monoxide (CO)
  • exceeded Tier 0+ standards for oxides of nitrogen

Diesel locomotive emissions workshop

In March 2016, the EPA held a half-day workshop to

Following the workshop, stakeholders were invited to complete an online survey to help inform future locomotive policy. 

Read the summary of the survey results.

Workshop presentations

Diesel Locomotive Emissions Upgrade Kit Demonstration project - Fuel Efficiency, Emissions and Noise Testing (PDF 5.GB)

Natalie Roberts, Director, ABMARC

Reducing emissions from diesel locomotives (PDF 743KB)

Rod Finlay, Locomotive Fleet Manager/ PN Rail Asset Manager and Robyn Simpson, Environmental Specialist, Pacific National (Asciano)

Technology for locomotive emission reductions - manufacturer's perspective (PDF 578KB)

David Semple, Engineering Manager, EMD Australia

Proposed changes to regulatory framework for construction and operational aspects of the NSW rail sector (PDF 968KB)

Jacinta Hanemann, Head Infrastructure, Metropolitan Branch, EPA

Diesel locomotive emission reduction technology study

This study was conducted in 2015 to inform future management of emissions from diesel locomotives. The EPA partnered with rail operator Pacific National to measure the impacts of installing Tier O+ emissions upgrade kits on two Electromotive Diesel (EMD) locomotives.

The study measured

  • exhaust emissions and fuel efficiency - in accordance with requirements of the United States Code of Federal Regulations (Title 40, Volume 33, Parts 1033 and 1065)
  • locomotive noise - in accordance with AS 2377-2002.

The two locomotives were tested twice

  • pre upgrade - after engine rebuild to the original specification
  • post upgrade - after installing the original equipment manufacturers (EOM) Tier 0+ kit.

The study’s key findings were that installing the Tier 0+ kits resulted in

  • large reductions in PM emissions of 60–65%
  • significant reductions in CO and THC emissions of up to 70%
  • significant reductions in NOx emissions of 30–45%
  • small reductions in noise
  • compliance with emission limits specified by the US Tier 0+ standard.

However, both locomotives suffered a decrease in fuel efficiency.

The full report was published in February 2016: Diesel Locomotive Emissions Upgrade Kit Demonstration Project - Fuel Efficiency, Emissions and Noise Testing (PDF 4.8MB). You can also read an independent technical opinion of the report (PDF 273KB).

Locomotive emissions project - scoping study

In 2013 the EPA commissioned the report - Locomotive Emissions Project: Scoping study of potential measures to reduce emissions from new and in-service locomotives in NSW and Australia (PDF 967KB).

The report contains details of discussions with industry and investigates potential new measures to reduce locomotive emissions. Key components of the report include:

  • a review of local, national and international air emission regulation and policies for new and in-service locomotives
  • a characterisation of the locomotive fleet industry in NSW and Australia
  • quantification of air emissions from locomotives in NSW and Australia
  • an identification of potential cost-effective measures to reduce emissions from new and in-service locomotives in NSW and Australia.

Read a  Summary of stakeholder comments and EPA responses on the Locomotive Emissions Project (PDF 28KB).


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