Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Air - NSW overview

Reducing locomotive emissions

Non-road diesel equipment and vehicles are the largest unregulated source of particle pollution in the NSW Greater Metropolitan Region (GMR). The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has developed the Diesel and Marine Emissions Management Strategy as a framework for action to progressively reduce non-road diesel emissions from priority sectors including diesel locomotives.

Diesel locomotive fuel efficiency and emissions study

This study is a continuation of EPA investigations into emissions and fuel efficiency of locomotives operating in NSW, to inform the development of future emission reduction measures.

The most recent study, Diesel Locomotive - Fuel Efficiency & Emissions Testing (PDF 4MB), completed in December 2016, establishes baseline exhaust emissions and fuel consumption of General Electric (GE) powered locomotives operating in NSW, and compares the measured exhaust emissions against the US Tier 0+ locomotive emission standards. Two locomotive classes powered by GE engines typical for NSW freight operations were tested in this project.

The study found that both GE locomotives achieved emission results below the Tier 0+ requirements for particulate matter (PM), THC and CO. NOx emissions were found to exceed Tier 0+ standards on both GE locomotives.

See below for details of the 2015 diesel locomotive emission reduction technology study.

Diesel locomotive emissions workshop

On 10 March 2016, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) held a half-day workshop to:

  • report back to stakeholders on the results of the joint EPA and industry Diesel Locomotive Emission Upgrade Kit project undertaken in 2015
  • discuss potential improvements to air emissions performance from diesel locomotives
  • provide an update on the proposed changes to the regulatory framework for managing environmental impacts from rail operations in NSW.

It was attended by approximately 70 stakeholders from industry, the community, government and local councils.

A follow-up survey was distributed to all workshop attendees, and other interested stakeholders. You can read a summary of the Diesel Locomotive Emissions Survey Results.

Speakers at the workshop are listed below, and their presentations are available in the table below.

March 2016 workshop presentations

Diesel Locomotive Emissions Upgrade Kit Demonstration project - Fuel Efficiency, Emissions and Noise Testing (PDF 5.GB) Natalie Roberts, Director, ABMARC
Reducing emissions from diesel locomotives (PDF 743KB) Rod Finlay, Locomotive Fleet Manager/ PN Rail Asset Manager and Robyn Simpson, Environmental Specialist, Pacific National (Asciano)
Technology for locomotive emission reductions - manufacturer's perspective (PDF 578KB) David Semple, Engineering Manager, EMD Australia
Proposed changes to regulatory framework for construction and operational aspects of the NSW rail sector (PDF 968KB) Jacinta Hanemann, Head Infrastructure, Metropolitan Branch, EPA

Diesel locomotive emission reduction technology study

This study was conducted in 2015 to inform policy on managing emissions from diesel locomotives. The EPA partnered with rail operator Pacific National to measure the impacts of installation of Tier 0+ emissions upgrade kits on exhaust emissions, fuel efficiency and locomotive noise on two Electromotive Diesel (EMD) locomotives. The diesel locomotives selected represent engine types common in the locomotive fleet operating in NSW.

Exhaust emissions and fuel efficiency were measured in accordance with requirements of the United States Code of Federal Regulations (Title 40, Volume 33, Parts 1033 and 1065), and noise was measured in accordance with AS 2377-2002. The two locomotives were tested twice in each of two configurations:

  • once after engine rebuild to the original specification, and then,
  • after installation of the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) Tier 0+ kit.

The key findings of the study are that installation of the Tier 0+ kits resulted in:

  • large reductions in particulate matter (PM) emissions of 60-65%
  • significant reductions in oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions of 30-45%
  • significant reductions in carbon monoxide (CO) and total hydrocarbons (THC) emissions of up to 70%
  • small reductions in noise for both locomotives
  • both locomotives complying with the emission limits specified by the US Tier 0+ standard
  • a decrease in fuel efficiency for both locomotives.

The full report was published in February 2016: Diesel Locomotive Emissions Upgrade Kit Demonstration Project - Fuel Efficiency, Emissions and Noise Testing (PDF 4.8MB). You can also read an independent technical opinion of the report (PDF 273KB).

A follow-up testing project is being conducted by EMD and Pacific National to assess the impact of different engine settings with the Tier 0+ kit on the exhaust emissions and fuel consumption. Results are expected later in 2016.

Locomotive emissions project - scoping study

In 2013, the EPA commissioned a report on locomotive emissions to improve understanding of the NSW locomotives sector and investigate ways of potentially reducing emissions.

Locomotive Emissions Project: Scoping study of potential measures to reduce emissions from new and in-service locomotives in NSW and Australia (PDF 967KB) contains details of discussions with industry and investigates potential new measures to reduce locomotive emissions. Key components of the report include:

  • a review of local, national and international air emission regulation and policies for new and in-service locomotives
  • a characterisation of the locomotives fleet industry in NSW and Australia
  • quantification of air emissions from locomotives in NSW and Australia
  • an identification of potential cost-effective measures for reducing air emissions from new and in-service locomotives in NSW and Australia.

Summary of stakeholder comments and EPA responses on the Locomotive Emissions Project (PDF 28KB) contains a summary of comments from stakeholders on the report and EPA responses to those comments.

Page last updated: 21 February 2017