Brand-new locomotives make rail commuting even cleaner. Passengers can’t beat public transit for greening their commutes.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Continuing its long history of environmental friendliness, Metrolink marks Earth Day by unveiling its newest locomotive – the cleanest diesel-electric option available – and stressing that riding Metrolink even one day a week makes a difference to the environment. Simply switching to public transit can slim down a commuter’s daily carbon emissions by 20 pounds.

Commuters who take transit instead of driving alone also reduce oil consumption and congestion. Metrolink and its passengers save 22 million gallons of oil per year, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 178 metric tons per year and remove about 25,000 cars per day from Southern California highways and freeways.

“You aren’t really green if you aren’t riding public transit,” says Keith Millhouse, Metrolink Vice-Chairman and Moorpark City Councilman. “You can drive a hybrid, recycle and plant trees but remember that driving alone to work takes a toll on the environment. Riding Metrolink even one day a week makes a difference in how green you really are.”

The Earth Day news conference at 10 a.m. at the Metrolink Central Maintenance Facility in Taylor Yard includes speakers Millhouse, Jan Perry, the Los Angeles City Councilwoman who also sits on the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) Board, and Rick Brilz, Director of Sales and Marketing for locomotive manufacturer MotivePower.

At the news conference, Metrolink also debuts its new paperless press kit, a 2-gigabyte USB drive that is small, reusable, earth-friendly and easily updated at the Metrolink website.

“Metrolink has always been green,” Millhouse says. “But we continue to work to stay on the leading edge of clean technologies. Southern California’s beautiful environment is important to all of us and we all want to do what we can to keep it clean and green.”

Metrolink locomotives already are the cleanest in the industry, powered by ultra low-sulfur diesel fuel, the cleanest and most efficient fuel available today for liquid-fueled locomotives.

But on Earth Day Metrolink goes even greener by introducing the first of 15 new-generation locomotives, the MotivePower MPXpress(R) commuter locomotive. It is more energy efficient, more powerful and capable of pulling more passenger cars to meet demand for more mass transit. The locomotive is 10 feet longer than current Metrolink locomotives and can haul 10 passenger cars instead of six. This translates to an extra 1,200 passengers. That means more room for more riders who leave their vehicles behind.

The MotivePower locomotive emits approximately 42 percent fewer nitrogen oxides, 70 percent less carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, and 60 percent less particulate matter than a typical Southern California locomotive, one that hauls cargo and meets only minimum emission standards.

It is equipped with automatic engine stop-start technology that reduces idle emissions by at least half, a feature financed by AQMD, a microprocessor locomotive control system which reduces wasted energy while starting or stopping, and electronic fuel injection providing precise fuel metering, injection timing and engine speed control.

Metrolink has purchased 15 MotivePower locomotives at a cost of $1.9 million each. As each new locomotive arrives over the next 15 months, an older Metrolink locomotive will be pulled from service and refurbished to make it even cleaner and more energy efficient.

Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service and is in its 15th year of operations. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority, a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. Metrolink continues to be one of the nation’s fastest growing commuter rail services, operating over seven routes through a six-county, 512 route-mile network.

For train schedules, system maps and directions to the nearest Metrolink station, check at or call (800) 371-LINK.

[tags]Metrolink California, Earth Day, green locomotives, MotivePower MPXpress commuter locomotive[/tags]