Image courtesy of Siemens
California, Illinois and Maryland have bought 34 Charger diesel-electric trains from Siemens. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) bought 14 trains to run on the Pacific Surfliner Amtrak route on the California coast from San Luis Obispo to San Diego via Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will enlarge its fleet with 12 trains. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has bought eight trains for the MARC commuter line that operates in Baltimore, Brunswick, Frederick, Martinsburg and Washington D.C., in addition to Harford County.
With this order, Caltrans, IDOT and MTA have bought more trains from the framework contract dated in March, 2014. The original order included the delivery of 35 diesel-electric locomotives for passenger service worth $225 million and contained an option for up to an extra 222 trains. The trains will be constructed at the Siemens rail manufacturing plant in Sacramento, California.
Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said:
“With these new state-of-the art, energy-efficient locomotives, California can continue toward its goal to offer more alternative and sustainable transportation choices. Not only will these new engines promote increased passenger rail ridership, but they will have environmental benefits by reducing the amount of automobile traffic.”
MTA CEO Paul Comfort said:
“Approval of this contract enables us to replace older locomotives, thereby improving the reliability and efficiency of MARC for thousands of commuters, businesses and tourists that depend on this vital train service every day. This cooperative agreement also enabled us to purchase these eight new locomotives at a lower cost, which will save taxpayers money.”
Jochen Eickholt, CEO of Siemens Mobility Division, said:
The new diesel-electric locomotives provide U.S. operators with a number of advantages. Their energy efficiency reduces costs and helps protect the environment. At the same time, they improve the reliability and efficiency of passenger rail service,”
The new passenger trains can operate at up to 200km/h. The trains will meet be FRA and Federal Transit Administration Buy America standards, with components manufactured by contractors in the United States. This comprises Siemens’s traction motors and gearboxes which will be made in Norwood, Ohio, and power converters made in Alpharetta, Georgia. The trains will be powered by a 16-cylinder, 95-litre displacement, 4,400 horsepower-rated diesel engine constructed by Cummins Inc. based in Columbus, Indiana.
An up-to-the-minute microprocessor control system operates the functioning of the train and carries out self-diagnoses that automatically perform self-corrective action. The train engineer and maintenance facility are alerted about any necessary service needed. To protect the power supply for passenger coaches and uphold primary systems such as lighting, communications, heating and cooling, a traction converter delivers backup when necessary. The train’s car body makeup meets the newest federal safety regulations, delivering extra security for the train engineer.
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