BNSF Green Technology Innovations

We are initiating several technologies designed to reduce emissions.

Idle control: Idle-control mechanisms installed on locomotives reduce air emissions and fuel consumption by automatically shutting down locomotives that aren't being used. We've equipped more than 70 percent of our 6,600 locomotives with idle-control technology, and all new locomotives we purchase are equipped with this technology. We will continue to retrofit older locomotives.

GenSet switch locomotives: The GenSet locomotive is an ultra low-emissions, EPA-certified diesel switch locomotive. This locomotive has three low-horsepower engines that only operate when needed instead of one large engine operating at all times, saving fuel and reducing air emissions. BNSF operates 74 GenSet locomotives in Texas and California.

New hybrid technology: We are working with our locomotive manufacturers to develop hybrid technology for line-haul locomotives. For years, locomotives have used dynamic braking, and now we are finding innovative ways to capture energy generated during braking and reuse it as needed for propulsion.

Electric wide-span cranes: BNSF was the first U.S. rail carrier to install wide-span cranes. These cranes produce zero emissions on site while generating power each time they lower a load. The wide stance design of these new cranes eliminates as many as six diesel trucks (hostlers) for shuttling containers within the intermodal facility, reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency. We currently use this technology at our Seattle International Gateway intermodal facility and Memphis intermodal facility.

Intermodal automated gate system: BNSF has installed new intermodal gate technology using digital cameras to record images of the containers, chassis, tractors and unit numbers as they enter the intermodal facility. In addition, drivers are identified using a biometric system. These new gates have increased facility throughput and reduced truck idling time and air emissions by 50 percent. BNSF has installed these gates at its intermodal facilities in San Bernardino, Calif.; Corwith, Ill.; Alliance, Texas; and logistics park in Chicago.

More about what BNSF is doing for the environment

Videos from this campaign

Content from this campaign


Railroad Leaders Come Together to Address Sustainability

Awards, Ratings & Rankings

BNSF Listed Among "Green Supply Chain Partners"

Innovation & Technology

BNSF Implements Technologies That Enhance Fuel-Efficient Train Operations

Innovation & Technology

BNSF Helps Sierra Nevada Reap Sustainability Benefits of Intermodal


BNSF's Wide-span Electric Cranes Reduce Emissions, Improve Operations

Innovation & Technology

BNSF’s Automated Gate Systems Reduce Carbon Emissions


BNSF's John Lovenburg Discusses Clean Air Innovations

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    At BNSF, we believe it is good business and good citizenship to minimize our impact on the planet and to contribute to the long-term sustainability of...
  2. BNSF Green Technology Innovations
    We are initiating several technologies designed to reduce emissions.Idle control: Idle-control mechanisms installed on locomotives reduce air...