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May 20, 2013

Amtrak unveils advanced tech. Siemens locomotives

Amtrak's Siemens Sprinter locomotive. Photos courtesy Siemens.

Amtrak's Siemens Sprinter locomotive. Photos courtesy Siemens.
A new era of more reliable and energy efficient Amtrak service for
Northeast intercity rail passengers is coming down the tracks as the first of 70 advanced technology electric locomotives being built by Siemens rolled off the assembly line.

The first units of the $466 million order will be field tested this summer for entry into revenue service in the fall.

Amtrak President/CEO Michael Boardman and Siemens President Michael Cahill.

Amtrak President/CEO Michael Boardman and Siemens President Michael Cahill.
“The new Amtrak locomotives will help power the economic future of the Northeast region, provide more reliable and efficient service for passengers and support the rebirth of rail manufacturing in America,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman. “Built on the West Coast for service in the Northeast with suppliers from many states, businesses and workers from across the country are helping to modernize the locomotive fleet of America’s Railroad.”

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.

The new locomotives will operate on Northeast Regional trains at speeds up to 125 mph on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) along the Washington – New York – Boston route and on Keystone Service trains at speeds up to 110 mph on the Keystone Corridor from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, Pa. In addition, all long-distance trains operating on the NEC will be powered by the new locomotives.

“More and more Americans are parking their cars and choosing the comfort and convenience of trains, metros and streetcars as their preferred way of traveling. We’re proud of the innovations we’ve brought to passengers and commuters to expand their transportation options” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rail Systems division in the U.S. “From downtown streetcar systems to regional, passenger rail lines, Siemens’ transportation solutions like the next-generation Amtrak locomotives enhance safety, boost efficiency and performance, and are built in America leveraging Siemens’ U.S. manufacturing hubs and supply chain.”

The new locomotives are designed for easier maintenance, will improve energy efficiency by using a regenerative braking system that will feed energy back into the power grid and will enhance mobility for the people, businesses and economy of the entire Northeast region. They also meet the latest federal rail safety regulations.

"We are committed to connecting people, communities and jobs. This project does all three," said Karen Hedlund, Deputy Federal Railroad Administrator. "Investing in manufacturing these 70 new locomotives are creating and preserving jobs in 60 cities across the country while meeting the growing demand for improved reliability and service along the  Northeast and Keystone Corridors."

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.

The new locomotives are part of a comprehensive Amtrak Fleet Strategy Plan to modernize and expand its equipment. The new units will replace electric locomotives that have between 25 and 35 years of service and average mileage of more than 3.5 million miles traveled with some approaching 4.5 million miles.

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