Norfolk Southern to jettison coal boilers at Pennsylvania rebuild shop

Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC), a major rail hauler of coal, said March 27 that it has launched a $53 million energy conversion project at its Juniata Locomotive Shop that will substantially reduce carbon emissions and water usage at the 70-acre facility by getting rid of coal-fired boilers.

Norfolk Southern will replace the shop’s coal boilers with natural gas heaters and install a 1.2-MW combined heat and power generator that will produce enough electricity to sustain the entire 16-building complex. When completed in late 2017, Norfolk Southern expects the improvements to save about $4 million in electricity costs, reduce water usage by 49.4 million gallons from steam-water recovery, and eliminate more than 29,000 tons of carbon emissions in Pennsylvania on an annual basis.

The project goes beyond equipment changes to include adding insulation, energy-efficient windows at key locations, high-speed roll-up doors on locomotive bays, and replacing roofing to ensure the full sustainability benefits of the investment are realized.

The project follows a comprehensive review of work demands and energy consumption at Juniata, the largest locomotive repair shop in North America and headquarters for Norfolk Southern’s locomotive rebuild program. The facility has about 1,050 employees who specialize in heavy repairs and engine overhauls.

“This project showcases Norfolk Southern’s commitment to sustainability and innovation,” said CEO Wick Moorman. “The Juniata Locomotive Shop has a 125-year legacy of leading the rail industry in locomotive technology, and with our energy conversion project, this shop and its employees will remain an industry frontrunner in the 21st century.”

“I applaud Norfolk Southern’s commitment to innovation and growth for the rail industry in Blair County and across the country,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “The Juniata Locomotive Shop has been operating for over 100 years in Central Pennsylvania, and this latest investment helps solidify its continued role in growing this nation through our railroads.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.