Ports and heavy transportation equipment are often targeted as the culprits of major air and noise pollution. However, an 18-mile railway running between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach not only breaks that stereotype, it is leading the nation in environmentally friendly cargo transit.

Before recent retrofits and upgrades, the Pacific Harbor Line was already acclaimed to be one the lowest polluting train systems in the country. But after securing am $11 million grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, 16 of the line’s 23 locomotives were scheduled to phase in new engines and a hyper-fine air filter, that would cut down on particulate pollution by more than 80%.

The grant covered 85% of the cost to upgrade the trains and it is the first time the new engines and air filters have been applied to trains in the United States. The program will be complete by the end of the year.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Pacific Harbor Line Inc. is one of the shortest railroads in the nation, operating only 18 route miles entirely inside the neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

But the tiny railway is out to smoke its bigger competition when it comes to environmental friendliness.

Already lauded as one of the least polluting U.S. railroads, Pacific Harbor Line on Wednesday unveiled its latest effort at clean living: a glossy, black 2,000-horsepower locomotive that appeared to have undergone few changes except for a new bulge on its roof and a sound, at idle, that one executive said was more like a “giant sewing machine” than a train engine.

Read the full article here.