Bombardier TRAXX, dual-power high speed locomotive. Image credit:Wikipedia
US railroad companies are considering an idea that will help the nation meet renewable electricity goals and make rail freight even more environmentally desirable. Railway Age reports that BNSF Railway and other rail companies are exploring the possibility of electrifying rail networks and hauling freight trains with dual-fuel electric/diesel locomotives. Bombardier already makes such engines.
BNSF would allow electric transmission line companies to use rights-of-way like its Transcon, for example, to send electricity from massive wind farms to major population centers in exchange for drawing low-cost power for electric locomotives. The concept has taken on additional importance with the Obama Administration’s emphasis on developing high speed passenger rail corridors and cleaner forms of energy like wind, hydro-electric, and solar.Perfectly suitable to the present and the future. Railroad rights of way extend through portions of the US where wind potential is highest but where, currently, major transmission corridors for electricity are lacking.