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Metrolink becomes 1st passenger-rail agency in US powered by 100% renewable diesel

Photo: Metrolink

Metrolink publicly shared April 13 its switch to renewable diesel fuel, making it the first agency in the nation to completely power all its locomotives by the cleaner-burning alternative.

“It’s a proud achievement to be the first rail agency in the nation to use renewable fuel to move people around southern California,” said Ara Najarian, Metrolink board chair. “We are committed to continue working toward better air quality in our region and lessening our effect on climate change for the planet.”

Photo: Metrolink

To meet its aggressive climate targets, Metrolink launched a pilot program of renewable diesel in its locomotives in early 2021. The renewable product is made of recycled natural fats and vegetable oils. It contains no petroleum fossil fuels and thus burns cleaner reducing harmful pollutants and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide by up to 80 percent.

“This transition by Metrolink to using renewable fuel will help further reduce the air pollutants from our locomotives and improve the air quality for all the communities along our 538 miles of track,” said Larry McCallon, Metrolink board vice chair, who is also a member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District's governing board. “It is certainly the right thing that we needed to do for the health of our children and our quality of life.”

Metrolink began powering 100 percent of all its locomotives with renewable diesel in February.

“The key here today is renewable and 100 percent renewable is what Metrolink is doing,” said Tony Tavares, Caltrans District 7 director. “This will help all of us breath better.”

Metrolink said it continues to pursue zero-emissions technologies of hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric, and that it “regards renewable fuel as a bridge to zero emissions.” By reducing locomotive emissions, Metrolink is easing environmental impacts on climate change and improving air quality for all.

“The antidote to soaring gas prices and to the havoc that fossil fuels are reeking on our environment and on global politics is public transportation, and especially public transportation that moves to renewable fuel sources,” said Assemblymember Laura Friedman, D-Glendale. “We can’t overstate the importance of what Metrolink is doing.”

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