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More efficient than a locomotive

CSX unveils new low-emission GenSet locomotive at Selkirk Yards

CSX's newest piece of equipment may not be more powerful than its other locomotives, but under the hood is a design that lends something even more important than power in today's world: efficiency.

The railroad on Thursday, June 30, unveiled its new GenSet locomotive for the company's Selkirk rail yard, the first of its size and the company's second such locomotive operating in New York State. The locomotive will be used exclusively within the rail yard, and should greatly reduce emissions and fuel usage through a more efficient design.

The GenSet design represents the next generation of locomotive technology, said CSX Vice President Skip Elliott.

"At CSX, we know what's good for the environment is good for our business," Elliott said at a press conference introducing the locomotive.

The GenSet design (short for Generator Set) is really about making the best use of an engine's capacity. Rather than using one big engine, the locomotive runs off of three, 700-horsepower diesel engines that can be cycled on or off depending on the power requirement. This, along with innovations that allow it to start more quickly and thus avoid idling means the GenSet locomotive uses 20 percent less fuel than a comparable standard model.

That in turn means an 80-percent reduction in the amount of particulate matter the engine expels, and a 25-percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

The GenSet engine is going to only run within the Selkirk rail yard. CSX has another such unit operating in the Bronx and in other places around the country, but Selkirk's locomotive is the first six-axle design; the rest have all had two axles.

CSX got a hand with the GenSet project from the federal government. The Environmental Protection Agency directed $1 million worth of recovery money to the state Department of Transportation, which was invested in this GenSet locomotive. CSX funded the remaining $400,000.

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