Re: Tier 4 locomotives for the Trona? Nope, haven't heard, but nothing would surprise me....
Author: Actual railfan
Date: 03-18-2023 - 18:42
These are good insights, Bob. I completely agree with you that while in good stewardship/intentions, swapping out the present Trona Railway power for Tier 4 will accomplish very little beyond window dressing.
I have gotten mixed signals on what I've heard, which come from people at varying degrees of indirect and direct involvement with the railroad's operations. The signals vary from "The railroad is outside the zone for the LA Basin requirements and it doesn't apply" to "The railroad will be getting Tier 4 power because the state is going to start fining them." I suspect like many things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
It is quite possible the potential acquisition of Tier 4 power has nothing to do with the state requirements; It could simply be a case of Progress offering a darn good deal on some "new" (but never delivered) SD70ACe-T4s they still have in their inventory.
Or, maybe none of this is beyond crew room rumor that has just gotten picked up and spread. I guess we'll know soon enough. When I was in Searles about a month ago, UP's LOP82 local had a pair of GE Tier 4 GEVOs, which led me to believe they could even be assigning such power to the area to keep the state off their back. Or it could have been complete coincidence.
Either way, the Trona power isn't getting any newer and I could see replacements are being considered just out of the sheer age of the fleet. But if Tier 4 isn't mandated, I think something along the lines of the recently lease-returned batch of UP SD70Ms or BNSF C44-9Ws would be a much more logical choice.
Thanks for the discussion.