Information published on 26 January 2016 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 482.

United States: Advanced-technology trains power sustainability efforts at Amtrak

Rail travel more energy efficient than cars or planes

  • North America
  • Sustainable development

Amtrak continues its commitment and progress to ever more sustainable operations by focusing on fuel and energy conservation as well as other initiatives. America’s Railroad® has incorporated sustainability practices throughout its operation of more
than 300 trains that travel each day to more than 500 destinations.

New advanced-technology electric locomotives are now in service along the Northeast
Corridor. The locomotives will save the cost of about 3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions during the coming decades. The locomotives are designed for easier maintenance and will maximize energy efficiency by using a regenerative braking system that will feed energy back into the power grid.

“At Amtrak, our mission is inherently focused on sustainability. We’re proud of our work
to provide reliable, energy-efficient transportation, draw more customers to rail, and ultimately reduce the carbon footprint of the traveling public,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “We are committed to being a good steward of our resources and having a positive impact in the communities we serve.”

Digital access to select newspapers is available to business and first-class passengers on Northeast Corridor and eastern route trains. Digital access contribute less per passenger mile to greenhouse gas emissions and can save more than 103,740 paper copies annually.

According to a 2015 report by the national Transportation Research Board, passenger rail is generally three to four times more efficient, using less energy and producing less greenhouse gas emissions than automobile or air travel for equivalent door-to-door trips.

Amtrak recently signed the UIC Responsibility Pledge

Amtrak recently signed the International Union of Railways (UIC) Railway Climate Responsibility Pledge. In signing the pledge, Amtrak committed to reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, stimulate modal shift to rail in national and international markets, actively communicate climate-friendly initiatives, and publicly report data on energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Amtrak is a member of the Carbon Disclosure Project, which reports on sustainability
initiatives specific to climate change. Amtrak received a score of 99B on its most recent submission to the CDP. The 99 out of 100 reflects Amtrak’s commitment to comprehensive and transparent reporting of greenhouse gas data and climate-related risks and opportunities. The B represents the performance band and measures the company’s positive actions to promote climate change mitigation, adaptation and transparency. The most recent score represents an increase from 96B in 2014.

(Source: Amtrak)