CN EchoChampions Brampton Team
AUG 10, 2023

Taking Action to Minimize Emissions

EcoChampions - Brampton Team

Driving by idling shunt trucks in the Brampton Intermodal yard every day propelled EcoChampion Terry Hamilton and his team to take action.

“I feel very strongly about helping the environment and relating that to what we do with our equipment,” says Terry, Regional Manager Intermodal Maintenance for Intermodal equipment.

“When you see equipment running and people aren't in it, it’s a waste on many levels including the carbon emissions and the cost of both fuel and maintenance. I knew there are ways we could turn that around.”

The first step was learning that the team could install an idler timer shutdown circuit. With this technology, the engine shuts off after 10 minutes of idling, using a battery to power the necessary devices.

“It's a program that comes with our shunt tractors. You can enable it or disable it,” explains Terry. “We worked with OEM and CN mechanics to properly configure the anti-idle settings to shut down the engine after 10 minutes and re-wired critical computer equipment to remain powered so as not to impact the terminal operation.”

EcoChampion and Heavy Duty Mechanic Paul Knoblauch rewired the lights, ignition and radio so they would shut off with the anti-idler. The initiative was piloted on 45 Intermodal shunt trucks in 2021, and since then, the environmental, economic and social benefits have been significant, reports Terry.

By cutting idling time by a minimum of one hour per day per truck, Terry’s team reduced diesel fuel waste by 1,200 litres per truck. Less idling time also meant that the time between preventive maintenance inspections could be extended, reducing the number of employee hours, filters and oil required to keep equipment in top shape, notes Terry.

“We do our inspections every 500 hours, and when the tractor sat there running an hour a day, seven days a week with nobody using it, that’s a minimum of 28 hours a month. We were doing the inspection roughly every 45 days because the trucks had non-productive working hours on them and now, we’re doing inspections later,” he explains.

EcoChampions Chris Schnare, Supervisor of Intermodal Fleet Maintenance, and Lead Hand Gordon Richardson also share in the success of the initiative. Terry says there’s been a positive shift in everyone’s mindset since the anti-idling technology was put in place.

“A lot of people who weren't aware of how this affects the environment and the maintenance of the equipment now understand and it brings big satisfaction to everybody. We’re proud we were the pilot yard to roll this out, and after sharing our success with the Terminal Operations Management team, they're following our lead on 55 other trucks in the Montreal and Vancouver terminals.” says Terry.

CN’s EcoConnexions Employee Engagement program – a partnership with Earth Rangers – drives sustainability across CN's network by empowering employees and their families to conserve energy, reduce waste, and improve housekeeping.

Visit our Delivering Responsibly section to learn more about sustainability at CN.