Port Manatee invests in "green" locomotives

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. - The words “green” and “locomotive” are not usually associated together. But at Port Manatee, the Port Authority recently purchased two energy-efficient locomotives.

To Buddy Neal, the blare of a train horn is the sound of music.

“Sounds like saving money,” said Neal, the Railroad Yard Master at Port Manatee. He is excited about Port Manatee’s new “green” locomotives.

“It uses diesel engines to run generators and in turn run electric traction motors so it is much like a battery operated car,” said Neal.

Port Manatee recently purchased two environmentally sensitive train engines through a federal grant.  The port uses locomotives to move train cars on and off port property, located along the southeastern shore of Tampa Bay.

“It is about become more environmentally sensitive. These are sustaining engines in that there are less pollutants,” said Deputy Executive Director, Dave Sanford.

Unless the locomotive needs additional horsepower, it only operates one of two on-board engines at a time saving fuel and sending less pollution into the air.

“They will consume in three days what the old locomotive consumed in one,” Sanford told ABC 7.

If the engine sits idle for longer than fifteen minutes an on board computers automatically shuts it down.  “On Tampa Bay here, you don’t have the particulate matter coming out of the stacks and into the bays and affecting our fisheries as much,” said Neal.

If you would like to see the locomotives in person or get a first hand look at Port Manatee, you can sign up for a free tour. Port Manatee tours are offered every Monday and Wednesday, October through April. All you have to do is sign up in advance at www.portmanatee.com.