Amtrak unveils new, efficient locomotives

Amtrak's most popular route will soon get locomotive upgrades.

As part of a plan to modernize its fleet along some of its most popular routes, Amtrak is rolling out the first of 70 new electric locomotives built by Siemens.

The new Amtrak Cities Sprinter locomotives will operate along the popular Northeast Regional route between Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston at top speeds of 125 miles per hour. They will also go into service on the Keystone route between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa. at 110 miles per hour. All long-distance trains in the northeast corridor will also be replaced by the new locomotives.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

Amtrak will pay for the $466 million order with a $532 million loan from the Federal Railroad Administration. As The New York Times points out, Amtrak will pay back the loan from ticket revenue from the Northeast Corridor. The Northeast Regional line is one of Amtrak's most profitable, behind only the Acela high-speed rail line which runs along the same route.

Using a regenerative braking system, in which energy is recovered from the brakes, Amtrak estimates the new locomotives will save the company $300 million in energy costs and reduce energy consumption by 3 billion kWh, over 20 years.

The new locomotives will replace trains that have been in service for as many as 35 years, some which have traveled nearly 4.5 million miles.

The first trains will begin service this fall after test runs this summer.

Photo: Business Wire

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