Posts Tagged ‘Siemens Charger locomotives’

Amtrak to Receive First ACL-42

June 12, 2021

The first Siemens ALC-42 locomotive built for Amtrak is expected to be released today and will head east on the California Zephyr.

Trains magazine quoted unnamed sources as saying Charger No. 300 will be handled by Train 6 departing Emeryville, California, today (June 12) and arriving in Chicago on Monday.

No. 300 is expected to be featured on Tuesday at a media event at the Amtrak Chicago maintenance facility and depart on June 16 for Washington in the motive power consist of the Capitol Limited.

The Trains report said Amtrak expects to receive a handful of Chargers over the next few weeks that will be tested.

Regular deliveries of the locomotive are expected to begin in the second half of this year. Amtrak has ordered 75 ACLC-42 locomotives for use in its national network.

They will replace aging P42DC units that have been the standard motive power on most national network trains since the middle 1990s.

Charger locomotives are already in revenue service for various operators around the country, including on Amtrak corridor routes in the Midwest.

The intercity carrier is expected to complete receiving its ALC-42 locomotives in 2024.

2 for Amtrak’s 50th Anniversary

May 3, 2021

I wanted to get out and photograph Amtrak on its 50th anniversary day last Saturday. I began my quest by setting next to the CSX Monon Subdivision south of Linden, Indiana, to capture the westbound Cardinal.

No. 51 was right on the money about 10 minutes past 5, having made a station stop, in Crawfordsville about 12 minutes earlier. It was about a half-hour after sunrise.

Next I motored over to east central Illinois to get the northbound Saluki, a corridor train funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation that originates in Carbondale and travels to Chicago.

No. 390 is shown above taking a signal at Humboldt, Illinois. It, too, was running on time.

None of the equipment seen in these photographs existed in 1971 and most of it had not been created yet as a concept.

The Amfleet coaches and food service car of the Cardinal come closest because Amfleet equipment was based on the design of the Budd Metroliners of the 1960s. Superliner equipment was inspired by the Hi-Level cars of the Santa Fe.

In 1971 EMD E and F units with a handful of passenger equipped geeps, U boats and SDs were the common motive power. It all wore the markings and liveries of its owners.

The Saluki does not normally operate with Superliner equipment, but has since Amtrak reduced the frequency of most long-distance trains last year to tri-weekly.

Starting May 24 Amtrak plans to begin to restore daily service to most long-distance trains — the Cardinal and Sunset Limited are exceptions — so the Superliners now on the Saluki probably will be replaced with Horizon and Amfleet equipment.

But not for long as Amtrak has begun taking delivery of and testing the new Siemens Venture cars and they are expected to begin revenue service later this year.

The long distance trains are also slated to begin receiving Charger locomotives similar to the SC-44 seen above pullking the Saluki albeit with a difference livery.

With Amtrak things are always changing even if it doesn’t always appear that way at first glance.

New Charges Set to Debut in Capitol Corridor

April 28, 2021

New environmentally friendly Charger locomotives are being placed in service in the Capitol Corridor in California.

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority said it recently retired two F59 locomotives in favor of the Chargers, which are EPA-certified Tier 4 rated.

The new motive power was funded by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and co-funded by Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and Placer County Air Pollution Control District through the Carl Moyer Grant Program.

The new units are expected to enter revenue service as early as this week but no later than June 1.

The Chargers were built by Siemens and are said to provide a 90 percent reduction in particulate matter emissions and 80 percent NOx reduction compared to the soon-to-be-retired Tier 2 engines.

The Tier 4 engines are also equipped with electronically controlled, regenerative braking systems that use energy from the traction motors during braking to minimize fuel consumption.

New Rail Cars Arrive for Testing

September 2, 2020

Four new passenger cars built by Siemens have been delivered to Amtrak’s Chicago service facility for testing.

The cars, which were ordered by the Illinois Department of Transportation, are to be used on state-supported Midwest corridor trains.

Known as Venture cars, the single-level cars are built to a design pattern that Siemens used to construct coaches for Florida’s Brightline intercity service.

IDOT and its partner departments of transportation have ordered 88 of the Venture cars in coach, coach-business and coach-café configurations.

The cars are expected to be delivered through 2023. They are being built in Sacramento, California, where Siemens is also building an order of ALC-42 Chargers for Amtrak that will pull long-distance trains once they enter revenue service.

The Siemens passenger cars have a long and convoluted history that dates to 2012 when IDOT ordered  bi-level cars from Japanese manufacturer Sumitomo, which subcontracted construction of the cars to Nippon Sharyo, which had a manufacturing plant in Rochelle, Illinois.

However, a prototype car failed a crash safety test in 2015.

IDOT ultimately switched the contract to Siemens, which agreed to build single-level cars for the transportation agency over a 24- to 34-month period.

In addition to the cars being built for IDOT, Siemens is building 49 single-level cars for the California Department of Transportation for use on corridor trains in that state.

Once the new passenger cars enter service on Midwest corridor routes serving Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan, it will mean that the trains will have Siemens locomotives (SC-44 Chargers) and Siemens passengers.

Midwest trains currently use a combination of Horizon Fleet and Amfleet cars.

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.

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.

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.

No Time to Waste at Pesotum

July 26, 2019

A tardy southbound Saluki races past the former Illinois Central Railroad depot in Pesotum late on a Tuesday morning.

No. 391 had earlier met its northbound counterpart at Rantoul, where the southbound train was 24 minutes behind schedule.

It lost another 14 minutes between Rantoul and Champaign and by the time it reached DuQuoin it was 1 hour, 8 minutes down.

But through the “miracle” of recovery time, a.k.a. schedule padding, No. 391 pulled into Carbondale a mere 32 minutes late.

No passenger train has been scheduled to stop at the depot in Pesotum for several decades.

Cleaner Chargers Touted on Earth Day in California

April 25, 2019

Amtrak celebrated Earth Day this week by touting the inauguration of 14 new Siemens Charger locomotives in Pacific Surfliner Service.

The locomotives are not actually new, having been shown off at a media event last October.

Amtrak, the California Department of Transportation, and the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency said that Chargers now pull most of the 24 daily Pacific Surfliner trains.

The locomotives were built in Sacramento, California, and have been certified as meeting the Tier IV emissions standards of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Officials have said the Charges are 90 percent cleaner than the 20-year-old locomotives that they replaced.

Caltrans funded the locomotives with $100 million in state, federal and local funds.

The North Country Transit District plans to buy Chargers for use on its Coaster trains between Oceanside and San Diego.

Amtrak Buying 75 Chargers for Long-Distance Trains

December 21, 2018

Amtrak said it will purchase 75 Charger locomotives for use on long-distance trains starting in fall 2021.

The Siemens locomotives will replace aging P42DC units that have been the mainstay of long-distance trains for several years.

In a news release, Amtrak said it will have options to purchase additional Chargers for use on some state-funded corridor routes.

Trains expected to be assigned the new Chargers are Auto Train, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, and Texas Eagle.

Funding for the locomotives was not disclosed other than a statement that they will be paid for through available funds and comply with Buy American provisions.

The units will be built in Sacramento, California, with all of them expected to be in service by 2024.

The Chargers will have 4,400 in horsepower capability, 16-cylinder diesel engines with modern control systems and A.C. propulsion.

Each unit will have Tier 4 emissions technology, reducing nitrogen oxide by more than 89 percent and particulate matter by 95 percent while providing an average of 10 percent savings in diesel fuel consumption.

“These new locomotives will offer increased reliability, more hauling power, improved safety features and lower emissions,” said Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson in a statement.

The first of the Chargers will be delivered in summer 2021.

Amtrak currently operates Chargers on state-funded routes in California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan and Washington.

Some of the GE-built P40 and P42 locomotives the Chargers will replace have been in service for more than 25 years.