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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak's first new electric locomotive ready for service


Vice President Joe Biden, a longtime fan of Amtrak, and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx helped unveil the railroad's first new electric locomotive in a ceremony held yesterday at the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia.

The railroad plans to acquire 70 new advanced technology electric locomotives, which will serve as the "workhorses" of Northeast Corridor operations, power all Northeast Regional and long-distance trains between Washington D.C., and New York City and Boston, and match existing trip times at speeds up to 125 mph, Amtrak officials said in a press release.

Eventually, the locomotives will operate on the Keystone Service between New York City, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa. The first locomotive is scheduled to depart today from Boston.

"Amtrak is integral to the daily life of the Northeast and the new locomotives will keep
the people and businesses of the region connected and on the move," said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Boardman.

Known as Amtrak Cities Sprinter, the electric locomotives are being assembled at Siemens' solar-powered plant in Sacramento, Calif. The equipment includes parts built at Siemens plants in Norwood, Ohio, Alpharetta, Ga., and Richland, Miss., and parts from nearly 70 other suppliers, representing more than 60 cities and 23 states, Amtrak officials said.
"Through our teamwork with Amtrak, we are not only delivering improved performance, we’re boosting American manufacturing," said Siemens Rail Systems President Michael Cahill.

Amtrak awarded Siemens a $466 million contract in October 2010 to deliver 70 electric locomotives. The order marked Siemens' entry into the U.S. locomotive market.

The locomotives feature a regenerative braking system designed to feed energy back into the power grid. Together, the 70 locomotives could save more than 3 billion-kilowatt hours of energy and generate more than $300 million in cost savings over 20 years, Amtrak officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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