US rail operator Amtrak may have given the term "cattle car" a whole new meaning with the first test of a biodiesel train that runs on beef byproducts.
Operating on a $274,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration, the state-owned rail company has begun operating its daily Heartland Flyer train, travelling between Oklahoma City and Forth Worth, using B20 biodiesel fuel.
The fuel, which mixes 80 per cent diesel with 20 per cent biofuel, cuts both hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions by 10 per cent, according to the company, which said that the fuel also reduces particulates by 15 per cent and sulphates by 20 per cent compared to standard diesel fuels.
The biodiesel trial is the latest in a series of environmental initiatives from Amtrak designed to highlight the operator's position as a green alternative to domestic US flights.
The company has switched from low-sulphur fuel to ultra-low sulphur fuel across the railroad to tackle air pollution, and has installed recycling receptacles in its trains and stations. It has also stepped up efforts to reduc e idling times for its diesel trains, and has introduced regenerative braking systems similar to those in hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius for its electric trains.Danny Bradbury, BusinessGreen, 23 Apr 2010
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