Incorporating Technology

For years, Union Pacific has pioneered locomotive technology research and set the standard for railroads nationwide. In the past decade, we have worked with locomotive suppliers, governmental organizations, engineering researchers and others to explore nearly a dozen technological improvements to our locomotive fleet. For example, Union Pacific pioneered the Genset locomotive, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 37 percent, emissions of oxides of nitrogen by up to 80 percent and emissions of particulate matter by 90 percent. The Genset’s success in reducing emissions resulted in worldwide use.

We completed testing an ultra-low emitting Genset locomotive fitted with diesel particulate filters (DPF) to further reduce particulate matter emissions beyond its normal low level.

Improving locomotive fuel efficiency remains an imperative for us, as the EPA will require the more stringent Tier 4 emissions standards for locomotives purchased in 2015 and beyond. Union Pacific is actively collaborating with locomotive manufacturers in the research and development of new technology that meets the requirements.

We continue to partner with Electro-Motive Diesel to install exhaust gas recirculation, diesel oxidation catalysts and DPFs on the experimental UP 9900 locomotive, the first in a series providing a foundation from which to develop a locomotive that meets the EPA’s Tier 4 emission standards.

Other innovations include:

  • Wheel bearings on rail cars and locomotives: Wheel bearings on locomotives and rail cars cause drag. Union Pacific is testing train cars with premium low friction bearing seals that reduce torque, contributing to energy savings.
  • Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs): We continue to evaluate experimental technology, such as DPFs, which reduce particulate matter by more than 70 percent.