Amtrak’s attempts at high speed rail may or may not succeed, but its efforts in more regular rail look to be getting a big boost today via word from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) of a massive loan to help the railway purchase and get running new locomotives in the Northeast portion of the country. We first brought you word of this proposed purchase between Amtrak and Siemens for 70 electric locomotives back in October.
The DOT said it is giving Amtrak a $562.9 million loan under the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program to help accomplish the purchase of these 70 Sprinter ACS-64 electric locomotives from Siemens. Plans call for the manufacturer to add 250 domestic manufacturing jobs in order to design and build the trains across several states. Additional, it is believed Siemens will work with suppliers from across the country to provide train components, “further boosting U.S. manufacturing.”
From what’ve we written about the Sprinter ACS-64 model before, we know it likely 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. The 70 Amtrak Cities Sprinter ACS-64 locomotives – said by DOT to still be in the final design phase – will replace existing units that have been in service for 20-30 years with an average of 3.5 million miles traveled.
If all goes as planned, the new trains will begin operating along regional and intercity routes in 2013 in a more energy efficient manner then previous ones used. Amtrak also believes they will help “improve frequency, performance and reliability” to a system not known for being on time most of the time.
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