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Are Trains Truly Eco-Friendly?

by Soft2share.com

As the effects of CO2 emissions on the environment and on peoples’ health become more and more obvious, and transportation is responsible for that in large part, with motor vehicles releasing large amounts of harmful gases into the atmosphere, we are slowly, but surely starting to realize that the use of those vehicles that are bad for the environment has to be reduced to minimum, and we have to look for alternative modes of transportation. That’s why more people have started using the public transportation system, including trains and buses, or riding bicycles instead of cars. While bicycles are completely eco-friendly, there are doubts about the effect trains have on the environment.


Trains are definitely a more eco-friendly solution than cars, but they are not totally clean. Trains are powered by electric motors that are powered by generator, powered by an engine that runs on diesel. This means that trains release CO2 when the diesel fuel is burned. On top of emissions, the fact that a lot of diesel fuel is used to power trains, which means they contribute to the reduction of natural resources, is another reason why they are not considered the ideal alternative to cars. Even so, the negative effect they have on the environment is still less serious as compared to cars. Trains can transport hundreds of people at a time, whereas a car can only accommodate 4-5 people, which means significantly more cars are needed to transport the same number of people that one train can transport, and more cars equals to more carbon dioxide in the air.

Another reason why trains are less harmful than cars, is that most railway companies make sure to create green areas around railway tracks, with plenty of trees that absorb large amounts of the CO2 released by trains.

In addition to air pollution, trains create noise pollution, as well. Noise pollution is a serious threat to peoples’ health, and it’s especially felt by people who live near a train station or a railway track. The noise trains create affects businesses located in areas where trains pass, as well.

However, trains today are far more eco-friendly than 20-30 years ago. Train engines are much more sophisticated and efficient and they don’t create as much pollution as they used to. Also, various new technologies are being utilized to reduce the air pollution trains create. The Genset locomotive, for example, is powered by multiple high-speed diesel-powered engines, unlike other locomotives that only use one diesel engine. It’s produced by Railpower Technologies, which also makes the Green Goat locomotives. These locomotives are among the best when it comes to fuel efficiency and emissions. They meet EPA Tier II standards, and they generate significantly less noise and air pollution than most other locomotives. They produce 80% less emissions, and the fuel consumption of these locomotives is reduced thanks to the fact that the engines they are powered by are controlled by computers that can start or stop a certain engine, depending on the situation, so if the computer software calculates that more horsepower is needed, it activates an additional engine.

All things considered, trains are not the cleanest mode of transportation, but they are much better for the environment than cars and they are a good alternative for everyone who is trying to be as much environmentally responsible as possible.

Author’s bio:

Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “green cars” specialist. He is an author of many how-to articles related to safe driving, green technologies, auto insurance etc. Currently blogging for DMV.com.

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