Northeast Corridor and Pennsylvania getting an upgradeA bit late for National Train Day, Amtrak is getting some nice new high-efficiency toys. They will replace locomotives that have been in service for 25-35 years with 70 new Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) made by Siemens. The company writes: "The new locomotives will operate on Northeast Regional trains at speeds up to 125 mph on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) along the Washington – New York – Boston route and on Keystone Service trains at speeds up to 110 mph on the Keystone Corridor from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, Pa. In addition, all long-distance trains operating on the NEC will be powered by the new locomotives."
Each ACS-64 has motors that can reach a peak of 8,600 hp (6.4 MW) and can pull 18 cars at a service speed of 125 mph!
Being electric, they have regenerative braking like electric cars and hybrids, but the amount of juice they can return to the power grid (5 MW!) is orders of magnitude higher than anything an EV has to deal with. And the cleaner the power grid gets, the cleaner the operation of these locomotives will be.
Siemens and Amtrak estimate that over the next 20 years, these 70 new electric locomotives could save $300 million and 3 billion kWh thanks to their higher efficiency.
“The new Amtrak locomotives will help power the economic future of the Northeast region, provide more reliable and efficient service for passengers and support the rebirth of rail manufacturing in America,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman. “Built on the West Coast for service in the Northeast with suppliers from many states, businesses and workers from across the country are helping to modernize the locomotive fleet of America’s Railroad.”