Road to Zero Emissions
A locomotive fleet modernization study is in progress to explore engine conversion options for older Tier 2 locomotives and other Metrolink locomotive fleets to Tier 4 or other alternative propulsion technologies which are zero emissions such as hybrid, battery and hydrogen applications.
The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA), one of Metrolink's member agencies, ordered the first hydrogen fuel cell-powered train in the United States to operate on the Redlands passenger rail project which connects the University of Redlands with the Metrolink San Bernardino – Downtown Station on a nine-mile extension of the San Bernardino Line. Service. The zero-emission vehicle is expected to be in service by 2024. This sets a new milestone for the United States rail sector in implementing zero emission technology and earned recognition of a 2020 Sustainability Award from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).
In partnership with LA Metro, Metrolink was awarded a grant for conversion of a rail multiple unit to zero emissions multiple unit (ZEMU) for use on the Antelope Valley Line in 2024. The pilot program will test new zero-emission technology with anticipated benefits such as cost savings, emissions reductions, travel time savings, and operational flexibility.
Tier 4 Locomotives
Metrolink is proud to become the first commuter rail system in the nation to operate new locomotives powered by Tier 4 clean technology. Tier 4 locomotives are the cleanest diesel locomotives in the nation and reduce emissions by up to 85% compared to our older locomotives. They have two-thirds more horsepower and are equipped with the latest safety upgrades. A major milestone was achieved earlier this year when the final legacy Tier 0 locomotive was retired from service. That means that going forward, only Tier 2 or higher locomotives will be providing service on the Metrolink System, advancing closer to our goals of zero emissions. To learn more about Tier 4 Locomotives, click here.
CLIMATE VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT
A study is in process to analyze the future climate risks on Metrolink’s systemwide infrastructure and facilities, including those impacts anticipated on surrounding populations and disadvantaged communities. The timing for this study is critical because Metrolink has begun a 10-year investment in a slate of projects known as the Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) Program. To safeguard these investments over their useful life, which ranges from 20-100 years, it is essential that they be protected from expected climate change impacts.
Fuel Conservation Program
To reduce environmental impacts from the unnecessary burning of diesel fuel, we reduced train idling by 35% system-wide and by 50% at the Central Maintenance Facility (CMF). In addition to saving fuel, we reduced noise in surrounding communities.
Metrolink increased our electric plug-in stations by 55%, with the use of an electric train car mover to shuttle rail cars at CMF. This technology enables trains to run on electricity for a portion of their daily servicing and maintenance routine, rather than relying on diesel locomotive power, thereby reducing emissions. Also, electric forklifts replaced diesel forklifts, and Metrolink amended its policy on the activation of bells, cutting noise by 85%.
Less idle time means cleaner air. Auto-Engine Start/Stop (AESS) technology prevents excessive idling while reducing fuel use and emissions. Installation of AESS on Metrolink’s locomotives was funded in part by South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD) Carl Moyer Program, which focuses on cleaning the air by replacing older heavy-duty diesels with electric, alternative-fuel or cleaner diesel technologies.
Metrolink’s 182 support vehicles include electric, hybrid, low-emissions and flex-fuel varieties. As part of our replacement program, we are committed to procuring fuel-efficient vehicles that meet our needs without imposing an excessive environmental burden.