Some of us look at electric trains as efficient transportation almost by definition, but that's not entirely true when they consume a lot of power and give little back. Amtrak is about to strike a better balance now that it's close to receiving the first of 70 high-efficiency Siemens ACS-64 trains destined for routes across DC, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. Each engine centers on a regenerative braking system that can recover up to 5MW of energy, much of which goes back to the power grid. The machinery is smarter, too: it can self-diagnose problems and mitigate the impact until repairs are possible. Commuters won't immediately notice the difference when ACS-64 trains reach the rails between this fall and 2016, but there should be important behind-the-scenes savings. Amtrak reckons that the new vehicles could lower energy consumption by 3 billion kilowatts in the long run, which might help both the company's bottom line and local utilities.
AMTRAK UNVEILS ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY LOCOMOTIVES FOR NORTHEAST SERVICE
Siemens-built equipment to improve reliability, efficiency and mobility
WASHINGTON – 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 begin rolling off the assembly line today. The first units of the $466 million order will be field tested this summer for entry into revenue service in the fall.
"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
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.