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Amtrak debuts new national network locomotives: Cleaner, faster, and more fuel efficient than predecessors

Amtrak debuts new national network locomotives: Cleaner, faster, and more fuel efficient than predecessors
photo: Amtrak press materials/Amtrak debuts new national network locomotives
13 / 02 / 2022

New Amtrak locomotives – made in the U.S. and cleaner, faster, and more fuel-efficient than predecessors – began service today pulling the famous Amtrak Empire Builder train westbound from Chicago to Seattle. Locomotives 301 and 302 are among the first of 75 locomotives being delivered through 2024.

These ALC-42 locomotives are an important part of Amtrak’s sustainability initiative and are considerably more environmentally-friendly than their 1990’s predecessors. They reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide by more than 89 percent and particulate matter by 95 percent, while consuming less fuel than the locomotives being retired and reaching a greater top speed, 125 mph.

We take our commitment to sustainability seriously at Amtrak. We’re focused on being the solution to get people out of cars and planes and onto rail for greater emissions reductions, said Amtrak Vice President and Chief Mechanical Officer George Hull in a brief ceremony at Chicago Union Station.

“While railroading is a small portion of the emissions picture nationally, we want to take these steps to be the cleanest passenger railroad operating diesel trains in North America, commuter or interstate,” Hull added. “We’re dedicated to continuously seeking new and innovative technologies that provide solutions to meet transportation needs while reducing health and climate impacts.“

A team from Amtrak and Siemens Mobility developed this locomotive series for heavier and longer trains traveling thousands of miles in a single trip, spanning the U.S. from Seattle to Miami, Los Angeles to Boston. Hull indicated Amtrak is working with Siemens to order more of these locomotives to meet needs in the Amtrak network, particularly for the Long Distance trains.

“From the first ACS-64 in 2014 to the latest Charger Locomotive, Amtrak is a leader in sustainable travel for Americans. And Siemens Mobility is a proud partner in its efforts. We are looking forward to seeing these Chargers safely transport millions of Americans across the nation, whether it be seeking new adventures or connecting to economic opportunity,” stated Michael Cahill, President of Rolling Stock, Siemens Mobility North America.

These locomotives are Buy America compliant and built at the Siemens Mobility’s rail manufacturing hub in Sacramento, Calif. Powered by the sun with two megawatts of solar energy and 2,200 employees, the facility has been in operation for 30 years. It is part of Siemens Mobility’s larger U.S. manufacturing network, with eight facilities, more than 4,000 employees and 2,000 American suppliers. Siemens Mobility has a robust U.S. supply chain to support locomotive production, including Cummins, which manufactures the Tier-4 complaint diesel engines in Seymour, Ind.

Amtrak is paying for the new locomotives and supplemental multiyear maintenance support with about $850 million in funding set aside when the order was placed in 2019. The new locomotives will primarily replace the Amtrak P40 and P42 locomotives, some of which have been in service for more than 25 years on some state-sponsored routes but primarily on the Long Distance portion of the Amtrak National Network.

These locomotives will power trains used on these services: Auto Train (suburban Washington to suburban Orlando, Fla.), California Zephyr (Chicago to San Francisco Bay), Capitol Limited (Washington to Chicago), Cardinal (New York to Chicago), City of New Orleans (Chicago to New Orleans), Coast Starlight (Seattle to Los Angeles) Crescent (New York to New Orleans), Empire Builder (Chicago to Seattle/Portland), Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston to Chicago), Palmetto (New York to Savannah, Ga.) Silver Star & Silver Meteor (New York to Miami), Southwest Chief (Chicago to Los Angeles), Sunset Limited (New Orleans to Los Angeles) and Texas Eagle (Chicago to San Antonio, Texas).

“These new locomotives serve as another step forward to advance safe, clean, reliable, and efficient passenger rail across the country,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose. “With President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re positioned to make even more investments in modernizing rail infrastructure that will make a difference in the lives of Americans.”

“The addition of these ALC-42 locomotives is great news for passengers and the surrounding communities served by Amtrak’s Empire Builder,” said Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.). “This is the latest example of how investing in our aging infrastructure can lead to a more climate-friendly and efficient transportation network, benefitting our environment and economy. Illinois is the center of our nation’s rail network and I’ll continue to be a strong advocate for Amtrak and our passenger rail systems.”

“Amtrak’s historic Empire Builder is getting a facelift with today’s debut of two new locomotives. Rail passengers will enjoy cleaner, more reliable service with the state-of-the-art ALC-42 locomotives in place,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. “I’m looking forward to even more improvements in the coming years, thanks to $22 billion in Amtrak funding passed as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

“Amtrak’s deployment of new, energy-efficient locomotives will help decarbonize the transportation sector—something we must do rapidly in order to avert a climate catastrophe,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “I look forward to these new locomotives that are made in America and will bring greater reliability to Amtrak’s national network.”

“The Empire Builder helps connect Montanans and brings visitors from across the country our great state,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.). “Amtrak’s new locomotives will support Montana jobs, our tourism economy and folks along the Hi-Line who rely on Amtrak to access critical services.”

 

Source: Amtrak press releases

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