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New Amtrak locomotives ready for service and set to power Northeast economy

(Source: Amtrak press release (PDF), February 6, 2014)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- When Amtrak Northeast Regional #171 departs Boston on Feb. 7, a new era of mobility will begin as the first of 70 new advanced technology electric locomotives enters revenue service. The modern equipment provides more reliable and efficient service for passengers, and will power the Northeast region's economic growth and continued prosperity.

"Amtrak is integral to the daily life of the Northeast and the new locomotives will keep the people and businesses of the region connected and on the move," said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. "New equipment ensures Amtrak can deliver the reliable service the region depends on and supports the growth of the region as America's economic powerhouse."

"Beyond improved reliability of service, the new locomotives represent a prudent business decision to invest in the future of the Northeast region and better position Amtrak to support ridership growth in the coming years," said Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia.

The new locomotives will serve as the strong workhorses of Amtrak Northeast Corridor operations, power all Northeast Regional and long-distance trains between Washington, New York and Boston, and match existing trip-times at speeds up to 125 mph. Eventually, they also will operate on the Keystone Service between New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa.

The Siemens-built electric locomotives, known as the Amtrak Cities Sprinter, are being assembled at its solar-powered rail manufacturing plant in Sacramento, Calif. The equipment includes parts built from Siemens plants in Norwood, Ohio, Alpharetta, Ga., and Richland, Miss., and nearly 70 other suppliers, representing more than 60 cities and 23 states.

"We are extremely proud to serve as a rail technology partner for Amtrak, " said Michael Cahill, President of Siemens Rail Systems in the U.S. "Through our teamwork with Amtrak, we are not only delivering improved performance, we're boosting American manufacturing. Our innovation, expertise and proven technology are helping transportation operators across the country keep the economy moving."

The new locomotives are designed for improved reliability and easier maintenance leading to faster turn-around times and increased availability for service. A state-of-the-art microprocessor system performs self-diagnosis of technical issues, takes self-corrective action and notifies the locomotive engineer. In addition, there are redundant systems to ensure power is maintained to the passenger cars to keep heating and cooling systems working, the lights on and the doors operational. The locomotives also meet the latest federal rail safety regulations, including crash energy management components.

Furthermore, the locomotives are energy efficient and use a regenerative braking system to feed energy back into the power grid. Together, the 70 locomotives could save over 3 billion-kilowatt hours of energy and could result in more than $300 million in savings over 20 years.

The new locomotives will replace older equipment that have between 25 and 35 years of service and average mileage of more than 3.5 million miles traveled with some approaching 4.5 million miles. Amtrak expects to have several more new locomotives enter revenue service in the coming weeks and then will receive monthly delivery of the remaining units through 2015.

Amtrak is a vital player in the Northeast economy and transportation system, connecting major business, financial, political, cultural, medical and educational centers. Today, Amtrak carries three passengers for every one airline passenger between Washington and New York, and moves more passengers between New York and Boston than all the airlines combined.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

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