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News / Northwest

Tacoma receives $4.95M for zero-emission trains

By Simone Carter, The News Tribune
Published: May 14, 2024, 8:10pm

TACOMA — Tacoma is getting three zero-emission trains, weighing as much as 350,000 pounds each and chugging by at speeds of up to 10 mph. The city has received some fiscal help to cover the cost of the green machines.

The city council adopted a resolution April 30 accepting a $4.95 million grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation. The money is going toward the acquisition of the locomotives and to install charging infrastructure.

The new trains will look just like the others in Tacoma Rail’s fleet, said assistant superintendent Alan Matheson, but with a key difference: They can be recharged. They also are leaner; a larger locomotive can weigh around 425,000 pounds or more.

Tacoma Rail has looked at the quiet zero-emission locomotive operating at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as an example.

“They’ve been pretty tight-lipped about that project, but it’s still ongoing, so we’re encouraged by that,” Matheson told The News Tribune. “There are other short-line railroads around the nation that are starting to experiment with this, but we’re definitely leaders in this space in the Pacific Northwest.”

The battery-electric-train project is aligned with the city’s climate plan, which seeks to slash greenhouse emissions as much as possible, Matheson said.