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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Siemens to deliver new crop of diesel-electric locomotives to three states


The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), and the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) have ordered a total of 34 diesel-electric Charger locomotives from Siemens.

The agencies leveraged options under a March 2014 multi-state passenger-rail locomotive procurement to replace older locomotives at a volume discount, Siemens officials announced last week.

A design rendering of Siemens' new diesel-electric locomotives
Source: Siemens

Caltrans will add 14 diesel electric Charger locomotives to its Pacific Surfliner Amtrak route; IDOT will add 12 of the locomotives to its fleet; and the MTA will introduce eight of the new locomotives to its Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) train service.

"With these new state-of-the art, energy efficient Charger locomotives, California can continue its goal to offer more alternative and sustainable transportation choices," said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "Not only will these new engines promote increased passenger rail ridership, but they will have environmental benefits by reducing the amount of automobile traffic."

Designed to operate up to 125 mph, the Charger locomotives will be built at Siemens' rail manufacturing plant in Sacramento, Calif. In operation for nearly 30 years, the plant sources up to 80 percent of its energy from two megawatts of solar energy, Siemens officials said.

The new locomotives will meet the Environmental Protection Agency's Tier IV emission standards. Additionally, the units will be compliant with the FRA's and the Federal Transit Administration's Buy America program, with parts produced by suppliers across the United States.

This includes Siemens' traction motors and gearboxes in Norwood, Ohio, as well as propulsion containers from Alpharetta, Ga.

The units will be powered by 16-cylinder, 95-liter displacement, 4,400 horsepower-rated diesel engines built by Cummins Inc.

The new high-speed diesel-electric locomotives are aimed at helping operators achieve cost savings by reducing trip times while improving reliability and efficiency for passenger-rail service, Siemens officials said.

The original $225 million procurement order in 2014 by DOTs in Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington included the delivery of 35 diesel-electric passenger locomotives and included an option for up to 222 additional ones.