Earth Day 2019
April 24, 2019
A Greener Pacific Surfliner
By Carolyn Cokley, Director Customer Programs
This week, the globe is celebrating 49 years of Earth Day. The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 motivated about 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in more than 190 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. The mission of the Earth Day Network is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.
Amtrak announced this week that 14 new, environmentally friendly diesel-electric passenger locomotives are now operational on the Pacific Surfliner route in Southern California. Passengers can now enjoy cleaner, more reliable rides on trains throughout Southern California. The Siemens Charger locomotives, manufactured in Sacramento, now power the majority of Surfliner trains between San Diego and San Luis Obispo and carries nearly 3 million passengers a year to top destinations from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.
The new Charger locomotive is the first passenger locomotive to receive the rigorous Tier IV emissions certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), making it one of the cleanest diesel-electric passenger locomotives in operation today and is almost 90 percent cleaner than the 20-year old Amtrak-owned locomotives they replaced. This allows the Pacific Surfliner service to meet growing ridership demand and to relieve congestion on freeways like Interstate 5 and U.S. 101. By the way, the locomotives are manufactured at Siemens’ solar-powered plant in Sacramento, CA.
The new locomotive fleet cost $100 million and was funded by Caltrans. The North Country Transit District has announced plans to buy the same locomotives for its Coaster trains that run between Oceanside and San Diego.
Go green by making small changes that add up to making a big difference. Commit to earth-friendly acts, make more sustainable choices, reduce your carbon footprint, conserve energy and resources, collaborate on environmental projects in your community, vote for leaders committed to protect you and the environment, and share your acts of green to help educate and inspire others to join the movement!
"I wish to extend my appreciation to members of the Rail Passengers Association for their steadfast advocacy to protect not only the Southwest Chief, but all rail transportation which plays such an important role in our economy and local communities. I look forward to continuing this close partnership, both with America’s rail passengers and our bipartisan group of senators, to ensure a bright future for the Southwest Chief route."
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)
April 2, 2019, on receiving the Association's Golden Spike Award for his work to protect the Southwest Chief