23 thoughts on “February 4, 2022: Kersploosh!”

  1. a battery of tests underway in the railyard.

    Last week, Union Pacific Railroad agreed to buy 20 battery electric freight locomotives from Wabtec and Progress Rail. The deal, which drew praise from President Biden, is worth more than $100 million. The battery electric locomotives initially will be used to sort train cars in rail yards in California and Nebraska.

    Battery electric locomotives have already begun rolling on California tracks. As part of a demonstration with the Pacific Harbor Line, Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company, began operating battery electric locomotives in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach late last year.

    Also last year, Wabtec tested its FLXdrive locomotives on 18 trips between Barstow and Stockton, California, under a $22 million grant from the California Air Resources Board. The battery electric locomotive sat between two traditional diesel locomotives, pulling as much as 430,000 pounds. Wabtec CTO Eric Gebhardt says the combination saved an average of 11 percent on fuel and emissions. Wabtec says its next-generation battery locomotive will nearly triple its energy storage capacity to 7 megawatt-hours, nearly 100 times the capacity of a Tesla Model 3. That could cut emissions by up to 30 percent, Gebhardt says.


    Taking battery, diesel, and electricity prices into account, the researchers estimate that adding a car with a 14-MWh battery to a train with four diesel locomotives could cut fuel costs in half. Getting battery electric locomotives into service quickly is a big deal, since traditional diesel locomotives can operate for more than 20 years, Phadke says.

    1. That said,

      On average, railroads are three to four times more fuel efficient than trucks. That means moving freight by rail instead of truck lowers greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75%, on average.

      Where will the real savings come from?

      1. if RRs are 3-4 times more fuel efficient than trucks (I figure I don't doubt, really), why are there so many trucks on the road moving freight? Could it be...that rails don't go everywhere that freight needs to go?

        Trucks move more than 6 times the tonnage and almost 18 times the value as rail in the U.S. Which would seem to imply that (a) there's room for rail to capture more market share if the economics are there and (b) there's a reason for trucks to be so much more prevalent in moving freight.

        If your point is about the relative environmental savings opportunities, then I wholeheartedly agree. Trucks need to get much, much cleaner.

        1. I'd love to see more freight by rail (obviously), but for lots of reasons you're not going to replace truck freight. That said, my point was solely in regards to environmental savings: given rail traffic is already (relatively) fuel efficient and only a fraction of truck traffic, the real savings happens when the truck industry embraces non-ICE alternatives. And now I have to say the opinions expressed here are my own and not those of my employer

          1. It seems that for rail to capture much more market share, it would also need to build out additional rail infrastructure. The trucking lobby is not going to take that lying down. That industry is also one of the main reasons the previous governor of the state I reside in thwarted the development of HSR. Fewer cars on the road means less demand for major roadway expansions, which the state’s trucking lobby did not like.

            1. Yeah, that's an different discussion for another time. The US already has the largest freight rail system in the world. I do like long leisurely trips that aren't on major truck routes, though...

  2. Minnesota once again pwns when it comes to naming snowplows. Congratulations to new plows Betty Whiteout, Ctrl Salt Delete, The Big Leplowski, Plowasaurus Rex, Scoop Dogg, Blizzard of Oz, No More Mr. Ice Guy, and Edward Blizzardhands

  3. I consider myself fairly tough to rattle in some ways, but I passed the aftermath of a gruesome accident on the way to work today and my heart’s been racing since. The roads don’t even seem that troublesome so I’m going over in my head how such a thing was possible. The victim had been extricated but based on what I saw I’m struggling to imagine a good ending for them. Careful out there, kids.

    1. A few years back I drove past a nasty one on the way to work. Several bodies on the highway covered in sheets. Obviously that one has stuck with me.

      1. I was fortunate enough to miss that part of it, but I mentioned the accident to my brother, and one of the managers who worked for him apparently passed it earlier and what they saw was much worse.

    2. I just drove from highway 55 and 169 to Penn and 494. There were definitely some bad ice patches. I drive by two accidents.

  4. It's sickening that not only is Breonna Taylor's death being repeated, but that it happened with the MPD post-Chauvin.

    1. Players have noticed how much he gets noticed. In the middle of last week’s All-Star Game, outfielder Nelson Cruz had catcher Yadier Molina snap a photo of him and West before Cruz hit. When Brad Ausmus, now the Tigers’ manager, was a catcher for the Astros, he once called West into a pregame meeting with the pitcher. West asked what was up. Ausmus said, “I just want to get your TV appearance out of the way now.”

      The Dodgers once trolled him by playing his songs as walk-up music their first time through the lineup. Once in a while they show West’s cameo in the classic spoof The Naked Gun on the big screen in the outfield: “You can’t throw an umpire out of the game!” The movie came out in 1988. West’s line was funnier back then.


  5. Merry Sixmas Eve!

    Tomorrow is Ireland-Wales at 8AM, England-Scotland at 10:45AM live on Peacock, or on delay on CNBC at 11 AM and 1PM, repectively

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