The Morning Rant


New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon; you are all pikers…pretenders…the real champion of lunacy was, is, and always will be California.

Oceans of tax revenue, courtesy of a fading but still huge tech sector, manufacturing, tourism, etc, yet the state has a $45 billion deficit! Gavin the greasy claims it is because of rain. It rained in California last winter. Unexpectedly!

California has a bloated state bureaucracy that meddles in seemingly every aspect of its subjects’ lives. What they use to mow their lawns, how they cook their food, what they drive…and businesses have it worse! Just try to build a house or open a business, and you will be confronted by a dizzying maze of sometimes conflicting regulations that make it almost impossible.

But this one might be the nuttiest ever! California now wants many rail locomotives to be “zero-emissions.” I guess that means either battery powered (hah!), or powered by overhead lines supplying electricity. There are so many obvious problems with this plan that it suggests that the regulators have absolutely no idea how the American rail system works!

Biden’s EPA May Soon Greenlight California Diesel Train Ban, Sparking Backlash From GOP

The issue dates back to April 2023 when the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the state’s lead environmental regulator, passed a first-of-its-kind rule requiring rail operators to begin transitioning their freight train fleets in the state to zero-emissions technology. CARB chair Liane Randolph said at the time that the rule is part of the California’s plan to decarbonize its entire transportation sector.

Under CARB’s rule, beginning in 2030, all locomotive engines older than 23 years will be banned on a rolling basis. In addition, the rule requires all new switch, industrial, and passenger locomotives to be zero emissions that same year while requiring new freight line haul to be zero emissions by 2035.

Freight locomotives are massive, incredibly powerful machines that are actually quite efficient. Most of the are diesel-electric, so the diesel engine can be run efficiently while powering the electric engines. 4,000 horsepower, and full torque at 0 RPM. They are amazing. Three or four or five of those can pull freight trains of more than a mile long with ease, and no ugly expensive and fragile overhead power lines needed!

Putting those long trains together in train yards is a complex undertaking, and requires switching engines across the vast spaces and many sidings of those train yards. Yes, there are battery-powered switchers, but they aren’t as powerful or as fast as the normal ones. And just how overhead power could be supplied to a massive train yard is a question for Rube Goldberg.

As usual, these pie-in-the-sky plans run generations behind the infrastructure that is required to implement them. Look at the logistical and practical mess of EVs for passengers if you want a hint of the economy-crushing demands of an electric train system.

But that doesn’t matter to California. The virtue-signalling emerging from the Mandarins in Sacramento is second to none! They are the unchallenged masters of unworkable plans shoved down our throats. And sadly, because CA is the largest state, their regulations leak into the rest of the country.

I wonder how long it will take for the good people of California to realize that electric trains are a boondoggle that will dwarf the EVs that can’t make a 150 mile trip, catch fire, burn forever, and cost many multiples of ICe cars to repair?

Imagine an electric train that unexpectedly stops in a city, cutting off several crossings. And now add a battery fire to the mix.

I’ll bring the popcorn.