Freight railroads find more ways to cut fuel consumption

Although it’s cheaper than it was three to four years ago, diesel still eats up a big chunk of freight railroads’ annual expenses — as in more than $1 billion for some Class Is. Freight roads long have sought to better manage their fuel usage, not only to help cut operating expenses, but to be better environmental stewards by reducing air emissions.

They employ various means to better manage fuel, such as by acquiring more fuel-efficient locomotives, increasing the amount of freight in rail cars and lengthening trains, adopting technologies to control locomotive idling or monitor performance, and refining engineers’ operating skills.

So what methods are working best these days for freight railroads, including some Class Is? And what benefits are they deriving from their efforts? For answers, read this article I wrote for our July issue.

If you have a good fuel-management example to share, please do so in the comment section.

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