April 23, 2013 Amtrak Offers Green Travel

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More energy efficient than cars or planes

WASHINGTON – Amtrak is an energy-efficient mode of transportation, and America’s Railroad® is taking the opportunity during Earth Month to highlight practices and tactics for improved fuel and energy conservation.

“Amtrak is committed to providing environmentally sustainable and energy efficient service across our national network,” President and CEO Joe Boardman said. “Amtrak is on the right path to balancing the nation’s travel and mobility needs with mitigating the impact of our operations on the environment.”

Today, Amtrak is hosting “Sustainability Day” at Washington Union Station. The event features a display of its Auto Train, which helps passengers minimize their impact on the environment by transporting their vehicle between Lorton, Va., and Sanford, Fla. The amount of greenhouse gases reduced each year using the Auto Train is equivalent to taking 4,620 cars off the road for a full year.

In addition, the Washington Union Station event will feature other green benefits of train travel such as on-board recycling and information on how to offset the carbon emissions footprint generated by individual rail travel through Carbonfund.org.

Increasing energy efficiency is one of the key objectives in the Amtrak Strategic Plan. Some accomplishments to date for Amtrak facilities include:

  • Decreased electricity usage by 3.7 percent in fiscal year 2012 compared to our baseline usage in fiscal year 2011;
  • Decreased natural gas usage by 42 percent in fiscal year 2012 compared to our baseline usage in fiscal year 2010;
  • Performed 15 energy audits at our largest sites in fiscal year 2012 and developed energy reduction plans for each site.

In addition to these power-saving accomplishments at Amtrak facilities, efforts are under way to target fuel conservation and reduction of power use for locomotives. Examples of these initiatives include improved train handling techniques by locomotive engineers; reducing the amount of idling time on diesel locomotives through the use of automatic start/stop devices, which cycle the engine on and off depending on air temperature; and using regenerative braking systems on some of our electric locomotives that return energy to the grid.

According to the most recent edition of the U.S. Department of Energy Transportation Energy Data Book (2012), travel on Amtrak trains is 17 percent more energy efficient that air travel and 34 percent more energy efficient than travel by car.

Learn more about Amtrak and Travel Green.

About Amtrak®

Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. Amtrak and its state and commuter partners move people, the economy and the nation forward. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a nine member board of directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland is vice chairman. In FY 2014, nearly 31 million passengers traveled on Amtrak on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Enjoy the journey® at Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter (@Amtrak) and check out our blog at blog.amtrak.com.