From OKC to Fort Worth, Heartland Flyer's Cow Fat Test Run Gets Nod in U.K.

Meant to point this out last week, when I first saw the story on Salon. But now it's made its way to the U.K. -- this story of the little train that could ... run on cow fat, that is, all the way from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth every single day. (Though "with stops along the way in Norman, Purcell, Pauls Valley, Ardmore, and Gainesville, there are thrills and attractions for everyone!" Right.) We're talking about Amtrak's Heartland Flyer, but of course, funded with federal green to see if the train'll take bovine byproduct mixed in with the regular diesel and keep on chuggin'.

The U.K. Guardian takes a keen interest in the subject now: "US rail operator Amtrak may have given the term 'cattle car' a whole new meaning with the first test of a biodiesel train that runs on beef byproducts," ba-dum-dum. The Federal Railroad Administration is paying about a quarter of a million over the next year to see how the mixture -- 80 percent diesel, 20 percent biofuel -- affects the engines; wanna see yourself, it's buy-one-get-one-half-off till May 28 -- a deal if you and the missus are vacationing in Purcell. The Infrastructurist has also taken an interest in the subject: "We're skeptical that running on biodiesel will be enough to lure customers away from flights when train speeds are still so low." Right, but isn't that kinda why people travel by train?

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky