Amtrak Orders New Electric Choo Choos

Business on the consumer railroad front domestically looks suddenly to be a hot thing. Right on the heels of yesterday’s announcement about $2.4 billion being invested by the federal government into high speed rail comes word that Amtrak has awarded a $466 million contract to Siemens to build 70 electric locomotives for the Northeast and Keystone Corridor lines as part of the train operator’s fleet rejuvenation initiative.

This awarded contract will see these new electric locomotives being built at Siemens’ existing light rail manufacturing facility in Sacramento, California. This plant, powered mostly by solar energy, employs 750 people. Siemens said all main components of the trains will be produced at its plants in the United States, including the motors in Alpharetta and propulsion containers in Norcross, Georgia.  The first locomotives are expected in 2013.

Amtrak Siemens

image via Siemens

Amtrak said its new Sprinter ACS-64 electric locomotives will operate at speeds up to 125 mph (201 kph) on the Northeast Corridor from Washington, D.C. to Boston and up to 110 mph (177 kph) on the Keystone Corridor from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. They will replace locomotives that have been in service between 20 and 30 years and with average mileage of 3.5 million miles traveled.

It is said as well the ACS-64 will “be more energy efficient and will replace older units that presently do not have regenerative braking systems that can automatically return electricity to the power grid.”

“Amtrak’s order for 70 new electric locomotives will not only create new manufacturing jobs, it supports the Department of Transportation’s strategy to use transportation to build the infrastructure needed to support a modern growing economy, while helping make our cities more livable, improve the environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Joseph C. Szabo, Federal Railroad Administrator, in a statement. “This new equipment will go far in meeting the rapidly growing demand for intercity passenger rail service in the Northeast.”

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I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.

    • Tom West

      “Choo Choos”? Oh, grow up…