Rail Emission Reduction Program

This page last reviewed June 23, 2017

The Air Resources Board (ARB) has developed and implemented a number of measures to significantly reduce locomotive and railyard emissions in California, including regulations, enforceable agreements, and funding of clean technology. Information on these efforts can be found below.

What's New

CARB Petitions U.S. EPA to Amend Locomotive Emission Standards

The Locomotive Petition to U.S. EPA is a request for rulemaking, seeking the amendment of emission standards for newly built locomotives and locomotive engines and lower emission standards for remanufactured locomotives and locomotive engines.

On the petition's suggested timeline, standards would be updated to take effect for remanufactured locomotives in 2023 and for newly built locomotives in 2025. Requested amendments would bring critical NOx and PM reductions, particularly in the disadvantaged communities that surround railyards.

               Letters of Support: 

University of Illinois Freight Rail Report

The California Air Resources Board announces the release of the final report by the University of Illinois on Zero or Near-Zero Emission Rail in California.

The report, funded by the ARB, and completed by the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) at the University of Illinois (U of I), evaluates the operational changes and economic challenges and opportunities associated with a transition from conventional diesel-electric to zero or near-zero emission interstate line-haul freight rail operations in California. This report supplements ARB’s own analysis in the Draft Freight Locomotive Technology Assessment. The statements and conclusions in this report are those of the contractor and not necessarily those of the California Air Resources Board.

We encourage interested parties to submit comments on this report through the technology and fuels assessment web page for public comments using the "Submit Comments" link below. Comments may be submitted through July 22, 2016. In addition, we are extending the comment period for ARB’s Draft Freight Locomotive Technology Assessment through the same date. ARB staff will consider public comments on both the Draft Freight Locomotive Technology Assessment and the U of I Report when developing the Final Freight Locomotive Technology Assessment.

  • Transitioning to a Zero or Near-Zero Emission Line-Haul Freight Rail System in California: Operational and Economic Considerations Document (PDF - 2.2 MB) - Submit Comments

Key Major Program Links

What's New?

Proposed Commitments

CommitmentsThe Commitments are proposed binding voluntary agreements between ARB and the railroads (UP and BNSF) that are applicable to four high priority railyards in the South Coast Air Basin: BNSF San Bernardino, BNSF Hobart, UP Commerce, and UP ICTF/Dolores. The proposed Commitments would require the four high priority railyards to reduce 2005 diesel particulate matter (PM) emissions by 85 percent or more, irrespective of growth, by 2020.

1998 Agreement

1998agreementThe Locomotive Fleet Average Agreement was signed by ARB, UP, and BNSF in 1998. The 1998 Agreement requires cleaner locomotives to operate in Southern California between 2010 and 2030. In combination with U.S. EPA regulations for cleaner locomotives, the 1998 Agreement is estimated to provide the South Coast Air Basin with a 65 percent reduction (up to 24 tons per day in locomotive NOx emissions) between 2000 and 2010.

Railyard Health Risk Assessments and Mitigation Plans

What's New?Under provisions of 2005 Statewide Railyard Agreement, UP and BNSF were required to collect diesel PM emission inventory data and conduct air dispersion modeling for 17 major railyards. Based on this information, the ARB prepared health risk assessments for the 17 major railyards. The health risk assessments were critical in identifying risk reduction measures and in the development of draft mitigation plans.

2005 Statewide Railyard Agreement

2005CommitmentsThe Statewide Railyard Agreement between ARB, UP, and BNSF was signed by the ARB Executive Officer in June 2005. The Agreement required UP and BNSF to reduce diesel particulate matter emissions in and around UP and BNSF railyards throughout the state by up to 20 percent between 2005 and 2008. The Statewide Railyard Agreement also required the preparation of health risk assessments and mitigation plans (see above).

Regulatory Activity

carbdieselfuelregulationSince 2004, ARB has approved several regulations that significantly reduce diesel emissions in and around railyards throughout the state.

Locomotive Technology Demonstrations and Emission Verifications

locomotivetechnologyThis page describes a number of locomotive advanced technology demonstration projects which ARB has funded or participated in. This page also provides information on ARB verifications of locomotive advanced technology emission levels to determine eligibility for ARB incentive funding programs.

Locomotive Incentive Funding Projects

incentivefundingThis page provides information regarding a number of U.S. EPA, ARB, and air pollution control district, incentive funding programs that have funded cleaner locomotives in California.

Railyard and Community Links

This page provides railyard compliance and field survey data from ARB's rail emission reduction programs.