UC Davis professor Tom Cahill says exhaust from diesel locomotive engines is 5.5 times richer in cancer-causing components than exhaust from diesel trucks. Cahill says the pollution is tied to idling engines in the rail yard.
"What it comes from is not from the fuel itself but from the lubricating oil and we don’t have enough details about the oil and its use in the engines to really nail the details of the source down more closely but it does tell us where we should work on it."
Cahill says adding more plants to the rail yard could help improve the air quality. He says some plants act as filters.
Cahill also recommends developing hoods for locomotives that capture the exhaust. Union Pacific Railroad officials did not return our request for comment.