California’s Napa Valley Wine Train Runs on Natural Gas
The operator of California’s famed Napa Valley Wine Train saves about $600 per day with locomotive 73, which was converted to dual fuel diesel natural gas in 2001 and switched over entirely to CNG in May 2008. A second of four locomotives, number 71, runs on a diesel-compressed natural gas mix.
“If possible,” says Wine Train spokesman Ryan Neergard, “We run our 100% CNG engine seven days a week.”
The Napa Valley Wine Train organization has four FPA-4 Canadian Alco locomotives dating from 1958 and 1959, Neergaard says. They have a 1600-horsepower diesel engines driving an electric generator “which provides electricity to turn the wheels, not unlike today’s Toyota Prius hybrids, but without the batteries,” Neergaard told HHPI.
“We are still among the only locomotives in the world to have converted to CNG,” the company says.
Steel CNG cylinders are filled to 3,200 psi using a pair of Hurricane compressors, says Wine Train chief mechanical officer Mike Juri.
Key partners include Tacoma, Wash.-based Energy Conversions, Inc. ECI provided a rebuilt EMD engine, converted to spark ignition for the pure-CNG locomotive, number 73.
Other ongoing work by ECO includes conversion of two SD40-2 locomotives operated by Canadian National and ten Indian Railroad diesel-electric passenger locomotives to dual fuel operation.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels reportage