Amtrak modernizing locomotive fleets on Northeast, Keystone Corridors

It was in the year 2000 that Amtrak’s Acela Express Northeast Corridor (NEC) services were first introduced.

Thirteen years later, locomotives being built by Siemens at its Sacramento, Calif., plant are destined for NEC and Keystone Corridor services, Amtrak and Siemens jointly announced. “The first units of the $466 million order will be field tested this summer for entry into revenue service in the fall.”

“Using Siemens’ innovative and proven rail technology, the Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) locomotives are being assembled in Siemens’ Sacramento, Calif., rail manufacturing plant powered by renewable energy, with parts built from its plants in Norwood, Ohio, Alpharetta, Ga., and Richland, Miss., and nearly 70 suppliers, representing more than 60 cities and 23 states,” as explained in the joint Amtrak/Siemens news release in question.

“The first three locomotives will undergo a comprehensive testing program this summer, including two at a U.S. Department of Transportation facility in Pueblo, Colo., and one on the NEC. Once they are commissioned, production of the remaining units will ramp up for monthly delivery through 2016,” Amtrak and Siemens jointly noted in the release.

The locomotives will provide motive power for Northeast Regional and Keystone Service trains with NEC (Boston to Washington, D.C.) and Keystone Corridor (Harrisburg to Philadelphia) top speeds of 125 mph and 110 mph, respectively, according to information presented in the same release.

One feature included is regenerative braking capability which, in essence, converts braking energy into electrical energy that can be fed back into the grid supply.

Furthermore, contained in an attachment to the release is information emphasizing the 70 locomotives together could save in excess of 3 billion kilowatt-hours of energy. In addition and as indicated in the same attachment, more than $300 million from increased energy efficiency over a 20-year period could be saved.

From where wheel meets rail all the way up to where pantograph meets catenary, the American Cities Sprinter series locomotives are quite impressive indeed.

Alan Kandel