Posts Tagged ‘SC-44 Charger’

Amtrak Displays New ALC-42 Locomotive

June 16, 2021

Amtrak displayed its first ALC-42 locomotives on Tuesday, saying it is expected it to go into service in two to three months.

The unit on display in Chicago on Tuesday will be sent to Wilmington, Delaware, for testing before entering revenue service on eastern long distance trains serving Washington, most likely the Crescent, Capitol Limited, and Cardinal.

The initial eight ALC-42 engines will have what Amtrak has termed a “transitional” livery of blue on the carbody ending at a red chevron.

The design is meant to be reminiscent of the Phase I livery that has been reapplied to P42DC No. 161, which was also on display Tuesday at Union Station.

Amtrak’s Devon Parsons, senior manager of equipment engineering, said the ALC-42 units are similar to the Siemens SC-44 chargers that pull corridor service trains in the Midwest and the West.

But the ALC-42 locomotives feature a few feature changes including newer technology for a number of systems.

Other changes include redesigned front end framed windows and a removable nose “to reduce our shop out-of-service from strike damage.”

Whereas the SC-44 units have a 1,800 gallon fuel tank, the ALC-42s come with a 2,200-gallon fuel tank.

Parsons said the ALC-44’s computer program was revised to address wheel slip issues reported on the SC-44 locomotives.

Amtrak has ordered 75 ALC-44 locomotives that will be delivered through 2024 at a rate of about two per month.

The next ALC-44 to be delivered wll be No. 301, which will have the predominantly black, one-off “Day One” livery that adorned a single E8A unit to mark the inauguration of Amtrak in 1971.

The ALC-44 fleet will replace P42DC locomotives that are now standard on national network trains.

Tags: Amtrak, Amtrak ALC-42, Amtrak locomotives, Amtrak motive power, Siemens SC-44

Charging Past Some Late Fall Color

November 24, 2020

There was still some good fall foliage to be had in Pesotum, Illinois, in early November when I caught Amtrak’s northbound Saluki.

On the point is a Siemens Charger leading a consist of Superliner cars that likely have been bumped from long-distance train service when most of those trains shifted to tri-weekly operation this past October.

Amtrak No. 303 at Chenoa

September 17, 2020

Although I’ve written dozens of posts in the past years about the project to upgrade Amtrak’s Chicago-St. Louis route for higher speed service, it has been more than a decade since I visited that line.

On a recent Friday morning I drove to Chenoa, Illinois, to photograph Lincoln Service No. 303, which barrelled through on time.

Much has changed since I last saw operations on this route. The trains travel faster, the tracks have been rebuilt, new signals have been installed and the motive power is SC-44 Chargers.

Many of the grade crossings are no horn zones with barriers and fencing having been installed for safety.

But the consist of Horizon and Amfleet cars was the same as what I saw during my previous visit years ago. Some things have not changed.

Amtrak Releases Renderings of Charger Livery

August 7, 2020

Amtrak on Wednesday released drawings of what its Siemens ALC-42 locomotives will look like once they enter service.

In a news release, the carrier said the first five Charger locomotives will wear a Phase VI livery while a sixth unit will have a livery recognizing the carrier’s 50th anniversary.

A final livery will be released late year when Amtrak updates its fleet plan.

The Chargers will replace General Electric Transportation built P40 and P42DC locomotives that now pull Amtrak’s national network trains and some state-funded corridor trains.

The ALC-42 is similar to the SC-44 that is used on some state-funded corridor trains.

Amtrak said the ALC-42 units have a top speed of 125 mph. Each locomotive has a 16-cylinder Cummins QSK95 engine that is U.S. EPA Tier 4 compliant.

Unlike the SC-44, the ALC-42 units have greater fuel capacity and increased head end power generating capacity.

The units are being built in Sacramento, California. Amtrak ordered 75 of the locomotives in December 2018 and they are expected to be delivered through 2024.

Amtrak did not say in the release when the first unit will be placed in revenue service.

Charging Through Arcola, Illinois

July 29, 2020

The massive grain elevator complex in Arcola, Illinois, has been a favorite backdrop that I’ve used over the years when photographing Amtrak trains on the Chicago-Carbondale-New Orleans corridor.

The way the schedule works out, the complex best works as a backdrop for the northbound Saluki.

The southbound City of New Orleans would have to be really, really late to catch in daylight and the window for getting its northbound counterpart is very small.

The Illini in both directions passes through Arcola in daylight but by then the sun is behind the grain complex.

So that leaves the Saluki, which I’ve photographed here a few times.

My motivation for getting No. 390 this year has been to recreate an image I did years ago but with different motive power.

The P42DC units that were mainstays on the Chicago-Carbondale trains have given was to Siemens SC-44 Chargers.

Last Sunday No. 390 was about 10 to 15 minutes off its published schedule as it blasted through Arcola.

There is a restored Illinois Central depot here, but Arcola has never been a scheduled Amtrak stop.

This is the second time I’ve photographed No. 390 in Arcola this summer. Back in mid June the Saluki carried a Heritage baggage car.

That has since been replaced by a Viewliner baggage car. In both cases, the baggage car was in the consist to enable the train to meet a minimum axle count required by host railroad Canadian National.

First Amtrak Charger to be Delivered in Early 2021

July 15, 2020

An SC-44 Charger owned by the Illinois Department of Transportation pulls the northbound Saluki through Humboldt, Illinois, on July 13, 2020.

Amtrak expects to begin taking delivery early next year of new Siemens Charger locomotives to be used to pull its long-distance trains.

The passenger carrier has ordered 75 Charges that will be similar to the SC-44 locomotives currently used by Midwest Corridor trains.

The first Charger to be used for long-distance service is expected to arrive in February or March 2021.

Amtrak has not said when it expects its new Charger locomotives to enter revenue service.

In a related matter, the Next Generation Equipment Committee has reported that 51 new passenger cars of an order of 137 have been assembled or are being constructed.

The Committee, which is comprised of representatives of Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration, Amtrak’s host freight railroads, equipment manufacturers, and state and other operators, said cars built for the Illinois Department of Transportation are expected to be delivered to that agency this month.

The cars will be used in corridor service in the Midwest and California.

Chargers Pull Test Train on Empire Builder Route

February 3, 2020

Amtrak is operating a test train on three routes that is being pulled by a pair of Siemens Charger locomotives.

The consist included two SC-44 units, a P42DC locomotive, a Horizon Fleet car, three Viewliners baggage cars, a Viewliner passenger car and four Superliner cars.

The train operated from Chicago to Seattle last Tuesday and was designed to simulate the weight and length of a long-distance train.

“The purpose of this trip is to gather data,” said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari, adding that officials from Amtrak and Siemens were on the train.

Additional tests runs are being made on the routes of the Coast Starlight and California Zephyr.

An online report indicated that the test train departed on the route of the Zephyr on Sunday morning and is due into Chicago on Tuesday afternoon.

Amtrak said in December 2018 that it would purchase 75 Siemens Charger locomotives for long-distance trains to replace its GE-built P40 and P42DC locomotives.

The Genesis series locomotives have been in service for more than 25 years.

The Chargers are expected to begin arriving at Amtrak in mid 2021.

Currently Chargers are in service on corridor trains in the Midwest and West.

Wolverines Being Pulled by Chargers

January 9, 2020

An online report this week indicated that all Amtrak Midwest Corridor trains in Michigan are now being pulled by Siemens SC-44 Charger locomotives.

Chargers have been pulling some Amtrak trains in Michigan for several months, most notably the Blue Water between Chicago and Port Huron.

But the units were slow to be assigned to Wolverine Service between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac).

The delay in introducing Chargers to the Detroit corridor was due to the need to develop software for positive train control that was compatible with the Incremental Train Control System used on Amtrak-owned tracks between Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Porter, Indiana.

The first Charger to enter revenue service for Amtrak did so on Aug. 24, 2017, on a Hiawatha Service train between Chicago and Milwaukee. The units are not commonly used on corridor trains in Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri.

The Chargers used by Amtrak in the Midwest were ordered by the Illinois Department of Transportation in conjunction with state transportation agencies in Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin that also fund Amtrak corridor service.

Amtrak in December 2018 ordered 75 Chargers that will replace GE P42DC locomotives on long-distance trains starting in 2021.

Going to be Crowded Trains Today

November 27, 2019

The Thanksgiving travel period is a busy one for Amtrak and is one of the few times of the year when the passenger carrier operates extra sections of some trains.

The Chicago-Carbondale, Illinois, corridor is not one of those routes that is getting or have had extra sections in the past, but Amtrak did plan to increase the capacity of trains in the corridor.

Shown is the southbound Saluki arriving at its station stop in Mattoon, Illinois, on Nov. 24.

The image was made from the Richmond Avenue bridge north of the station.

Make Way for the Saluki

September 4, 2019

In the nearly 50 years that Amtrak trains have used the former Illinois Central mainline between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois, a wide range of motive power and passenger equipment has traveled these rails.

It began in 1971 with Illinois Central E units and progressed through E units of other railroads painted in Amtrak colors to SDP40Fs to P30CHs to F40PHs to the P40 and P42DC units of more recent years.

Now the Chicago-Carbondale trains are pulled by Siemens SC-44 Charger locomotives that have entered service in the past two years.

Shown is the northbound Saluki racing through Pesotum, Illinois.