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UP Express producing more CO2 than it’s saving

3 Oct. 2015: One of the promises of the diesel UP Express rail link to the airport is that it would save greenhouse gas emissions by taking car trips off the road.

But calculations by the Clean Train Coalition show that UP Express is producing more CO2 than it’s saving at current operating levels of only 2,500 riders per day.

The Clean Train Coalition estimates UP Express trains produce 318,928 lbs of CO2 per week (see assumptions below). At the current 10% ridership levels, the trains save 240,452 lbs of CO2 per week, assuming each rider would otherwise take a private car, taxi or Uber to the airport.

At that rate, UP Express produces a net excess of 78,476 lbs per week of CO2.

UP Express would need to increase current ridership by 40% to offset the amount of CO2 produced by car trips.

UP Express trains have emitted 5.4 millon lbs of CO2, along with diesel-exhaust carcinogens, into the air since service began June 6, 2015 to meet Pan Am Games deadlines.

An electrified UP Express would produce zero additional CO2 emissions as it can be powered by existing grid capacity (Metrolinx Electrification Study, 2010).

At a time when the the UN is rallying 146 countries for global negotiations on climate change, we are shocked to learn UPX is producing 16.6 million lbs of global-warming CO2 annually, with substantial amounts emitted daily.

ASSUMPTIONS:
Diesel Train:
• 156 trips per day at 14.5 miles per trip
• Estimated 0.9 gallons consumed per mile, based on assessment of same trains ordered by Sonoma-Marin Area Rapid Transit, California
• 22.38 lbs CO2 produced per one gallon of burned diesel, U.S. Energy Information Administration

Car Travel:
• Downtown to airport 25 km
• Typical car gets 100 km per 10 litres hwy (more for SUVs, less for 4 cyl.); 2.5 litres consumption to airport
• Avg. train capacity (Metrolinx Sept. 2015) 10% or 17 seats = 17 cars off the road.
• 17 cars x 156 trains = 2,652 cars per day
• 2,652 cars each using 2.5 litres = 6,630 total litres per day
• 6,630 total litres = 1,749 gallons
• 1 gallon = 19.64 lbs CO2 U.S. Energy Information Administration

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3 comments

1 ping

  1. Some Guy

    This is an interesting article, but you’ve gotta rewrite the third paragraph. I think what you mean to say is:

    The Clean Train Coalition estimates UP Express trains produce 318,928 lbs of CO2 per week (see assumptions below). Assuming those UP passengers travelled to the airport separately by private car, taxi or Uber, the total CO per week from these cars would only emit 240,452 lbs of CO2 per week.

  2. Rick Ciccarelli

    So if as a diesel train the balance is still gaseous. As an electric train, the GHG savings are even more substantial. And didn’t WHO say something about diesel exhaust being number 1 list-ed as a carginogen? But not to worry about those folks whose bedroom and kitchen windows are 50 feet away from the corridor, because when the Mx health consultant generalizes to the regional airshed, its only just a drop in the bucket. In the ideal world, Metrolinx could be a leader in sustainability.

  3. Rick Ciccarelli

    So if as a diesel train, the balance is still noxiously gaseous. And as an electric train, the GHG savings are even more substantial. And didn’t WHO say something about diesel exhaust being number 1 list-ed as a carginogen? But not to worry about those folks whose bedroom and kitchen windows are 50 feet away from the corridor, because when the Mx health consultant generalizes to the regional airshed, its only just a drop in the bucket. In the ideal world, Metrolinx could be a leader in sustainability.

  1. Buy a white elephant? | WestonWeb.ca

    […] other news, CleanTrain.ca says that the UPX is not reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In their calculations. The “UP Express produces a net excess of 78,476 lbs per week of CO2. [It] would need to […]

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