The Massive Proving Ground Where Extraordinary New Trains Are Tested

The Massive Proving Ground Where Extraordinary New Trains Are Tested

General Electric’s development team just completed a year of field-testing for the new Evolution Series Tier 4 locomotive. Some of the tests took place at the Federal Railroad Administration’s high-altitude testing circuit near Pueblo, Colorado at an elevation of 5000 feet above sea level. These photographs capture the train’s gruelling journey.

This harsh desert testing ground is considered the most difficult North American operating environments, and now you can have a bird eye glimpse of it because GE provided us a bunch of amazing aerial photos taken by the award winning photographer Vincent Laforet. Beware: pure railway porn ahead!

According to GE reports their new engine is the first freight locomotive that meets the U.S. government’s strict Tier 4 emission standards, which means that the particulate matter (PM) emissions are cut by 70 per cent while nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 76 per cent, compared to GE’s current Tier 3 machines. GE engineers have been torturing this engine on dedicated railway tracks over 20 miles long, including a loop suitable for speeds up to 70 miles-per-hour.

The tests include high-speed, long distance, heavy haul and other conditions, while NOx, particulate matter, hydrocarbons emissions, carbon monoxide, horsepower, traction and other performance benchmarks are being measured. Since the locomotive can be connected to the Industrial Internet, they also test its software. And now the stunning photos you are longing for:

Photos: Vincent Laforet (that guy in the helicopter above). H/t to Matthew Van Dusen (Group SJR) and Katrina Craigwell (GE).