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Weapons Station Earle going green with delivery of new locomotives

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Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 3:41 pm

COLTS NECK, N.J. -- The Navy Munitions Command (NMC) recently took delivery of two new locomotives at Naval Weapons Station (WPNSTA) Earle. The new locomotives replaced three 1950’s era locomotives that have been in service since the end of the Korean War, bringing the Navy’s rail operations at WPNSTA Earle into the 21st century.

The newly-delivered “Green” 123-ton switcher locomotives consume half the fuel of conventional models and are certified for low emissions by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Procurement of the locomotives was coordinated by the Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center.

WPNSTA Earle operates the largest Navy rail line on the east coast with 92 miles of active track. With over 250 explosives storage magazines and a 2-mile pier complex, WPNSTA Earle can safely support pier operations involving up to 6 million pounds of explosives.

The Navy Munitions Command (NMC) primarily uses locomotives at WPNSTA Earle to move ordnance via rail in support of Military Sealift Command ships, large deck amphibious ships and other fleet surface ships by transiting a narrow 15-mile corridor from the main base to the pier complex.

“The new locomotives bring a modern capability for moving ordnance at WPNSTA Earle, allowing for a more efficient operation,” said Lt. Cmdr. Travis E. Davis, NMC Det Earle officer in charge.

These locomotives are certified tier III/IV low-emissions diesel locomotives and are built by National Railway Equipment Company. The locomotives have obtained EPA certification for their low emissions of nitrous oxides and particulate matter, up to 85 percent and 90 percent less, respectively, compared with uncontrolled locomotive emissions.

Each locomotive is powered by three separate diesel Cummins engines. Each engine is capable of creating 700 horsepower, for a total power output of 2,100 horsepower. Operating multiple engines instead of a single engine reduces overall diesel emissions and improves fuel efficiency.

“During Navy ordnance operations, these locomotives will operate on one engine over 80 percent of the time, while the other two engines will only power-on as demand requires. Projected yearly fuel savings is expected to be at least 50 percent with 85 percent less emissions ... that’s significant in helping the Navy reach environmental goals,” said Scott Jenkins, NMC CONUS East Division transportation manager.

Due to the improved traction effort of the new locomotives, only one locomotive is now required to move a fully-loaded ordnance train to and from the pier complex, compared to the older locomotives which required two locomotives working in tandem.

“The new locomotives feature a micro-processor controlled anti-slip system that will enhance overall safety by increasing traction on wet or icy tracks during the movement of Navy ordnance,” said Phillip Siciliano, NMC Det Earle rail supervisor.

“Delivery of these new locomotives represents a $3 million strategic capital investment by U.S. Fleet Forces that will allow NMC to effectively and efficiently provide Fleet Ordnance Support at WPNSTA Earle for decades to come,” said Capt. Mark Springer, NMC Commander.

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