JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway provided an exclusive tour of its LNG (liquid natural gas) operations at its Jacksonville facility this week. Tour participants came from a wide range of industries, including marine, rail, mining, E&P, power gen operations. It was a varied group, with attendees traveling from as far as Columbia, Japan, Korea and Canada to attend. Also in attendance were FRA officials, Class 1 Railroad employees and Railway Age. The tour was part of the annual Natural Gas for High Horse Power (HHP) summit, which was held in downtown Jacksonville Nov 6-9.
The tour included several demonstration stations where FEC’s LNG experts were available to answer questions to attendees on the various aspects of its use of LNG. The stations included two LNG-powered locomotives with tender car between, fueling station, ISO container, LNG tanker delivery trailer, LNG-powered truck, and a tour of the railway’s historic business cars.
“We are proud to be the first North American Railroad to operate its entire mainline fleet on LNG,” said Fran Chinnici, Chief Operating Officer. “We hope that our efforts will help other railroads and industries with this paradigm shift.” FEC gave an overview of the fueling process as well. The locomotives utilize an LNG “kit” that allows for dual fuel capabilities. FEC’s LNG-Diesel engine technology burns 80% less diesel fuel, resulting in an 80% reduction in Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions. Natural gas also gives off roughly half the carbon dioxide emissions as coal when burned for electricity, and little to no emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides or particulate matter.
Pioneering the use of LNG as Locomotive Fuel
FEC Railway pioneered the use of LNG as an alternative to diesel for its locomotives as a key part of its overall sustainability objective. Natural gas is abundant, clean burning and economical. Compared to diesel fuel, it reduces locomotive emissions and helps improve the environmental quality of the railway’s operations.
FEC has been operating on LNG since late 2015 and completed the conversion of its entire mainline thru-haul fleet to run on fuel-efficient LNG this year. Its regional trucking business, Raven Transport, also utilizes LNG and converted 44% of its fleet to run on the fuel. As of October 2017, FEC completed over 2,300 trips traveling more than 850K miles while consuming more than 2.7M gallons of LNG.