Posts Tagged ‘New Amtrak locomotives’

Something to Promote at the Time

January 18, 2020

Amtrak was particularly keen to promote its new equipment in the 1970s as it continued to emphasize the slogan “we’re making the trains worth traveling again.”

That included the use of new SDP40F locomotives that began arriving in 1973 and continued to be delivered through 1974.

An example of that was the cover of the regional timetables that Amtrak issued in the middle 1970s that depicted one of the new locomotives along with a relic of the streamliner era, a dome-lounge-observation car.

Also note that the timetable cover shows a drawing of the new Amtrak station in Jacksonville, Florida.

It may look dated today and remind some of steps that Amtrak took that didn’t quite work out as planned — the use of SDP40F locomotives – or which have not quite stood the test of time — the modular stations designed in the 1970s.

But it was what Amtrak had to promote at the time it did so with pride.

Amtrak Seeking Locomotive Proposals

June 2, 2018

Amtrak issued this week a request for proposal for new or rebuilt diesel locomotives.

In a news release, Amtrak said it is looking to acquire 50 to 75 next generation locomotives that have the latest safety features, have more horsepower, and boast the lowest emissions possible.

The RFP, which is posted on the Amtrak website, calls for vendors to rebuild the passenger carrier’s existing P42DC locomotives with AC propulsion or to provide new locomotives built with alternative power and structure options.

Amtrak plans to use the locomotives on its long-distance trains and on some state-funded routes.

The winning vendor will receive a contract with options to rebuild or acquire additional units.

A pre-proposal conference for vendors will be held on June 20 in Philadelphia with proposals due by Aug. 23.

“Our diesel locomotive fleet is nearing the end of life expectancy and we must act now to modernize Amtrak for the future,” Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson said in a statement. “We expect that any new, state-of-the art locomotive will offer improved reliability, a smoother ride, improved safety features and make major contributions towards lowering emissions and we’ll also consider how rebuilding options of the current fleet could achieve these goals.”

21 More Chargers Due in Chicago in January

November 16, 2017

Amtrak expects to receive 21 additional Charger locomotives in January. They will supplement the 12 that were delivered last August.

The locomotives have been assigned thus far to Hiawatha Service trains between Chicago and Milwaukee, and routes linking Chicago with the Illinois cities of Quincy and Carbondale.

Chargers also were expected to begin revenue service this week between St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri.

Scott Speegle, the passenger rail communications manager for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said the passenger experience should be improved.

“They will provide a better acceleration and deceleration, and so we’ll have a smoother ride and better on-time performance,” Speegle said.

He said the new locomotives make it easier for more passenger cars to be added during peak travel days.

“They could pull more cars more efficiently than the older locomotives,” Speegle said. “We generally look to add cars at times there is a greater demand.”

The Chargers were built by Siemens in California and are also being used on West Coast corridor routes.

They have a Cummins engine that was built in Indiana, can reach speeds up to 125 mph and are capable of having positive train control.

Amtrak has labeled the Chargers with an “Amtrak Midwest” brand. The locomotives are owned by the states of Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan and are leased to Amtrak.

The locomotives were purchased with $216.5 million in federal funds.

Amtrak Head Acknowledges Need for New Equipment

November 15, 2017

Amtrak needs to replace or overhaul the rail car fleet that serves its long-distance trains, its co-CEO told the National Association of Railroad Passengers earlier this month.

Richard Anderson

Co-CEO Richard Anderson said rebuilding or replacing aging Superliners and Amfleet cars will receive a “first priority.”

He also said the diesel locomotive fleet used to pull that equipment also needs replacement and/or rebuilding

Anderson said that the first up will be renovations of  Amfleet I and Amfleet II cars followed by new Acela Express trainsets.

New diesel locomotives are being placed into service on corridor routes in the Midwest and West.

Amtrak also expects CAF USA to complete soon an order for 25 new Viewliner II diners to be completed. Last on the list that Anderson ticked off was overhauling the current Acela fleet.

Despite saying it is a priority, Anderson did not describe a plan to replace or rebuild the Superliner fleet.

Amfleet II coaches are used on single-level long-distance trains such as the Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Crescent and Silver Service.

Anderson did, though, describe the importance of long-distance trains by emphasizing their role in “connecting small and large communities and bringing the most utility to the most Americans across the country.”

He said Amtrak’s 15 long-distance trains serve a series of markets with just 6 percent of riders traveling from endpoint to endpoint.

Many of those markets have lost or seen their level of intercity bus and airline service greatly diminished.

Anderson said Amtrak faces “risk points” with host railroads delaying Amtrak trains, the Trump administration’s efforts to end funding of long-distance trains and a dire need for capital.

The latter is most acute in the Northeast Corridor although some might say capital is desperately needed to buy new rolling stock and locomotives.

The former airline executive also said Amtrak needs to become more customer-focused.

Boardman: We Need New Diesels

June 4, 2016

Amtrak needs new diesel locomotives, but its president, Joseph Boardman, said the carrier doesn’t have the money to pay for them.

Amtrak logo “Yes, we need new diesels. We need to do something different,” Boardman said.

Boardman rejected paying for new locomotive with loans financed with “profits” from the Northeast Corridor as the ACS-64 electric locomotives were, but fully paid for as state procurement contracts for diesel locomotives are being financed.

The Amtrak head said Congress won’t appropriate the money to buy the locomotives “until the public understands that this nation’s infrastructure needs to be rebuilt.”

1st Charger Locomotive Ready for Testing

April 1, 2016

Siemen announced that its first Charger passenger locomotive has left the factory and will now undergo testing.

The Chargers are designed to operate at speeds up to 125 mph and will be used on various Amtrak corridor services in the Midwest and on the West Coast.

SiemensThe first Charger will be delivered for use in Washington state.

The locomotives have a Cummins QSK95, a 16-cylinder, 95-liter-displacement engine rated at 4,400 horsepower that meets EPA Tier IV emissions standards.

Siemens is building 69 Chargers for the Departments of Transportation in Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri, Washington State and Maryland.

Brightline, the privately owned and operated express passenger rail service to be offered by Florida East Coast Industries subsidiary All Aboard Florida, has also ordered Charger locomotives

The Chargers are being assembled in Sacramento, California.

1st Engine Placed in Charger Locomotive

February 20, 2016

Siemens recently installed the first engine and traction alternator into the carbody of a locomotive intended for use pulling Amtrak trains on Midwest and West Coast corridor routes.

The 21-ton Cummins QSK95 diesel engine was placed in a Charger locomotive at the Siemens plant in Sacramento, California.

Amtrak logoSiemens is manufacturing 69 Chargers for the Departments of Transportation in Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri, Washington and Maryland, and for Brightline, the privately owned and operated express passenger rail service to be offered by Florida East Coast Industries subsidiary All Aboard Florida.

Siemens also is manufacturing at its Sacramento plant passengers coaches for Brightline.

Built in Seymour, Indiana, the Cummins QSK95, is a 16-cylinder, 95-liter-displacement engine rated at 4,400 horsepower.

Siemens described the engine as “engineered with modern technologies and design features that ensure the highest performance, lowest fuel consumption, cleanest emissions, and lowest total cost of ownership of any locomotive engine.”

The Charger locomotives are EPA Tier IV emission compliant and can operate at up to 125 mph.

EMD Files Protest Over Locomotive Choice

February 7, 2014

Electro-Motive Diesel is protesting the selection process for an order of new locomotives to be used on state-supported Amtrak trains.

EMD filed a formal protest with the Illinois Department of Transportation over the multi-state locomotive procurement contract for as many as 35 locomotives. IDOT had issued to Siemens Industry a Notice of Intent to Award on Dec. 18, 2013.

IDOT, in conjunction with the California Department of Transportation and the Washington Department of Transportation, issued the procurement and formed the joint purchasing entities.

EMD’s protest letter reads, in part, that the proposed award to Siemens “does not meet the Illinois Procurement Code requirement that ‘[a]wards shall be made to the responsible offer or whose proposal is determined in writing to be the most advantageous to the State, taking into consideration price and the evaluation factors set forth in the request for proposals.’ In short, Siemens is not a ‘responsible offer or’ and its offer is not ‘responsive’ with respect to the Procurement. EMD is confident that after IDOT reviews the facts presented in this protest, an award to Siemens will be deemed to be contrary to Illinois law, in addition to being inconsistent with the interests of the taxpaying public and the JPEs. . . Pursuant to Illinois General Assembly [law], any award for this Procurement must be stayed until this protest is resolved.”

EMD argues that the locomotive that Siemen’s would build is incapable of achieving and sustaining speeds of 125 mph as required in the procurement specifications.

The EMD protest letter contends that the Siemens locomotive is shown to be only 4,200 BHP (brake horsepower)-rated. “It is not possible for a locomotive to achieve, let alone sustain, 125 mph with merely 4,200 BHP in the train configurations specified in the Procurement, despite the ‘BOOST’ feature provided in Siemens’s design. The ‘BOOST’ feature appears to elevate the locomotive’s BHP to 4,400 for ‘a controlled period of time,’ which allows its locomotive ‘to achieve a higher acceleration or top speed.’ In the context of ‘higher acceleration or top speed,’ the ‘top speed’ on the Siemens locomotive would be something less than 125 mph because it lacks sufficient horsepower,” the EMD letter said.

EMD acknowledged that the Siemens locomotive can achieve 125 mph, “but only while operating downhill. To contemplate such operational limits in real-life service would be unrealistic, not likely acceptable to the public, and could not have possibly been IDOT’s intent,” EMD wrote. .