Amtrak will acquire new mainline passenger diesel locomotives from Siemens Mobility to replace its aging National Network locomotive fleet.
Seventy-five Charger locomotives are being built for Amtrak’s Long Distance train service as part of an $850 million order that includes options to purchase more to accommodate use on some state-supported routes and future growth.
“These new locomotives will offer increased reliability, more hauling power, improved safety features and lower emissions,” said Amtrak President & CEO Richard Anderson in December.
The locomotives will offer the latest safety systems including Crash Energy Management and Positive Train Control. Capable of speeds up to 125 mph, the locomotives will be powered by a 16-cylinder Cummins QSK95 diesel engine capable of 4,000 horse power with modern control systems and Alternating Current (AC) propulsion. The diesel engine will come equipped with the latest Tier 4 emissions technology, reducing nitrogen oxide by over 89 percent and particulate matter by 95 percent, and provide an average of 10 percent savings in diesel fuel consumption.
Delivery will begin in summer 2021, with passenger service beginning in fall 2021. The locomotives will power trains used on the Auto Train, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle. All locomotives are expected to be in service by 2024. Maintenance activities across the network will be supported by a supplemental multiyear Technical Support Spares Supply Agreement (TSSSA).
The locomotives will be built at Siemens Mobility’s rail manufacturing plant in Sacramento, CA, a facility which uses solar power and employs more than 1,300 people. Available funding will pay for the new additions.
Siemens Mobility’s Charger locomotives are currently operating on several state-supported Amtrak routes in California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan, and Washington.
Amtrak’s aging Amtrak P40 and P42 locomotives, some of which have been in service for more than 25 years, will be phased out.
The new locomotives are part of Amtrak’s long-term plans for improving fleet, infrastructure and stations. New Acela trainsets arrive in 2021 and ongoing improvements continue at New York Penn Station and new construction at Moynihan Train Hall, in addition to expanded development of the major stations at Chicago, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia.