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The regenerative power of America’s newest locomotive fleet

By gbaconqz
Published Last updated on This article is more than 2 years old.

With new, reliable and more energy efficient electric locomotives, Amtrak is making it easy for travelers to choose America’s Railroad® to keep them on the move in the Northeast.


Amtrak, the national intercity passenger rail service, is in the midst of a massive modernization effort. At the heart of this initiative is the Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64), a new breed of electric locomotives designed and manufactured by Siemens, that will deliver a new era of reliable and efficient service for Amtrak passengers. With a top speed of 125 miles per hour, the new locomotives are part of a comprehensive Amtrak Fleet Strategy Plan to modernize and expand its equipment. The new units will replace electric locomotives that have between 25 and 35 years of service and average mileage of more than 3.5 million miles traveled.

The advanced technology locomotives are currently testing at the federal rail testing center in Pueblo, Colo., and along Amtrak’s heavily traveled Northeast Corridor. The first of 70 ACS-64 locomotives will begin entering revenue service this fall and will become the workhorse of the Northeast fleet by 2016.

The $466 million project reflects the increasing popularity of passenger rail as Amtrak continues to break ridership records along the Northeast Corridor and across the country.

“More and more Americans are parking their cars and choosing the comfort and convenience of Amtrak trains,” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens’ Rail Systems division in the U.S. “We’re proud of the innovations we’ve brought to passengers and commuters to expand their transportation options.”

The ACS-64 is incredibly energy-efficient.The fleet’s braking system is regenerative, potentially returning all of the energy used to stop the train back to the overall power grid. Within its first two decades of operation, the the ACS-64 will conserve more than three billion kilowatts of energy, translating to a cost savings of up to $300 million. They’re also easier to maintain, which significantly cuts operational energy demands and helps to ensure the reliability of the locomotives.

This new fleet also represents the impressive power of collaborative manufacturing. The Amtrak Cities Sprinter fleet consists of parts provided by nearly 70 American suppliers from more than 60 cities in 23 states, and is being built in Siemens’ state-of-the-art, renewable energy-powered manufacturing plant in Sacramento. The locomotives demonstrate a new way forward for critical transportation infrastructure production, evolving the supply chain to bring Americans together.

“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.”

Find out more about Siemens global leadership in rail innovation here.

This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Quartz marketing team and not by the Quartz editorial staff.

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