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The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) late last week announced progress in its plan to acquire eight Siemens Charger locomotives for the Amtrak Cascades route.Last month, Siemens installed the first Cummins QSK95 engine in one of its new Charger locomotives, moving the department one step closer to adding the new units to the route.WSDOT expects to take delivery of eight Charger locomotives later this year and put them into service by mid-2017, department officials said in a press release.The state's $65.8 million locomotive purchase is part of the $800 million Cascades High-Speed Capital Rail Program, which calls for adding two more daily roundtrips between Seattle and Portland. The federally-funded program also is aimed at reducing travel time between the cities by 10 minutes and increasing on-time performance to 88 percent, WSDOT officials said. Siemens is building the new diesel-electric locomotives for six states, including Washington, where they'll power Amtrak Cascades trains that run from Eugene, Ore., to Vancouver, British Columbia. WSDOT and the Oregon Department of Transportation jointly administer the Cascades route.