Natural gas locomotives may prove cheaper cleaner
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- The diesel-burning locomotive, the workhorse of American railroads since World War II, will soon begin burning natural gas.
It's a potentially historic shift that could cut fuel costs, reduce pollution and strengthen the advantage railroads hold over trucks in long-haul shipping.
Rail companies want to take advantage of booming natural gas production that has cut the price of the fuel by as much as 50 percent. So they are preparing to experiment with redesigned engines capable of burning both diesel and liquefied natural gas.
Jessica Taylor is a spokeswoman for General Electric's locomotive division, one of several companies that will test new natural gas equipment this year. She says natural gas "may revolutionize the industry much like the transition from steam to diesel."