The Rd is our most-used locomotive, which basically comprises 79 locomotives from the 1970s that have been thoroughly upgraded to modern standards in the past few years. Of these, 16 locomotives use regenerative brake power to further enhance eco-friendly performance.
Since the rail network is not 100% electrified, some deliveries require the use of diesel locomotives in order for consignments to reach our customers’ factories or plants. We have 147 diesel locomotives, of which 107 consist of the larger Td and T44 models. The smaller diesel locomotives that are used exclusively for local shunting and switching between the larger locomotives can also be used to pull trains if needed.
Although diesel locomotives represent a minor portion of our transportation, they account for a considerable amount of greenhouse gas emissions from our operations. Consequently, our measures to reduce environmental impact are concentrated to this area.
The most important activities in the past few years have pertained to the conversion of 62 T44 locomotives to Td locomotives. The Td is a modernized version of the T44 — “modernized” in terms of the operating environment and engine of these locomotives being upgraded, instead of renovated. Replacing the engines not only entails considerable additional costs, but also many advantages, such as reduced noise and vibrations, as well as reduced emissions of hazardous substances and carbon-dioxide.
The option of installing new engines was largely enabled through the Environmental Protection Agency’s grant of a KLIMP (climate-investment program) subsidy for the project in 2007. The KLIMP subsidy covers 30 percent of the additional environmental-investment cost and, given that we are acquiring modern locomotives with lower operating costs and an improved operating environment, we chose to invest in this alternative.
Now that we have a fleet of modern diesel locomotives, the next step is to develop the fleet. We have launched a pilot project to test the automatic start/stop function in our diesel locomotives, in order to avoid engine idling. The aim is for the new function to contribute to noise reduction, not only for the sake of the environment and operating environment, but also to prevent unnecessary noise pollution in the surroundings.
The manner in which a locomotive is operated is not only critical to diesel consumption, but also to wear and tear, and noise pollution. Eco-Green Cargo has developed a proprietary training course on energy-efficient driving methods for the T44 locomotive, and we are now planning to adapt the course to the new Td locomotive. Previous tests have demonstrated the potential for major cost savings through the use of driving techniques that are optimized to the locomotive’s functions.