Amtrak put the first of 70 new advanced technology electric locomotives from Siemens into revenue service when its Northeast Regional #171 departed Boston on Feb. 7.
"Amtrak is integral to the daily life of the Northeast and the new locomotives will keep the people and businesses of the region connected and on the move," said Amtrak President/CEO Joe Boardman. "New equipment ensures Amtrak can deliver the reliable service the region depends on and supports the growth of the region as America's economic powerhouse."
The new locomotives will serve Amtrak Northeast Corridor operations; power all Northeast Regional and long-distance trains between Washington, D.C., New York and Boston; and match existing trip times at speeds up to 125 mph. They will also eventually operate on the Keystone Service between New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa.
The electric locomotives, known as the Amtrak Cities Sprinter, are being assembled at Siemens’ solar-powered rail manufacturing plant in Sacramento, Calif. The equipment includes parts built from Siemens plants in Norwood, Ohio; Alpharetta, Ga.; and Richland, Miss.; and nearly 70 other suppliers, representing more than 60 cities and 23 states.
The new locomotives are designed for improved reliability and easier maintenance leading to faster turnaround times and increased availability for service. A state-of-the-art microprocessor system performs self-diagnosis of technical issues, takes self-corrective action and notifies the locomotive engineer.
In addition, there are redundant systems to ensure power is maintained to the passenger cars to keep heating and cooling systems working, the lights on and the doors operational. The locomotives also meet the latest federal rail safety regulations, including crash energy management components.
The locomotives are also energy efficient and use a regenerative braking system to feed energy back into the power grid.
Together, the 70 locomotives could save over three billion-kilowatt hours of energy and result in more than $300 million in savings over 20 years.
The new locomotives will replace older equipment 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. Amtrak expects to have several more new locomotives enter revenue service in the coming weeks and then will receive monthly delivery of the remaining units through 2015.