February 10, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
Philadelphia, PA—In October 2010, Amtrak awarded a $466 million contract to Siemens to build 70 new electric locomotives for America’s railroad company. On Thursday one engine made its debut here after Vice President Joe Biden called for greater investments in rail infrastructure. Watch Video of new Amtrak trains
Dubbed the Cities Sprinter, the new electric locomotive fleet will replace aging engines that have on average 3.5 million miles. On Friday the Northeast Regional #171 made its first revenue run starting from Boston’s South Station to Washington, D.C.’s Union Station.
Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia said the new engines would allow Amtrak to meet growing demand along the Northeast Corridor.
“Beyond improved reliability of service, the new locomotives represent a prudent business decision to better position Amtrak to support ridership growth in the coming years.”
In his speech on Thursday Mr. Biden touted American labor and parts that built the Cities Sprinter. The trains are being manufactured at Siemens’ plant in Sacramento, California. Because of “Buy American” provisions stipulated for transportation projects in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, many of the parts are being produced in the U.S.
According to Amtrak, 69 suppliers across 23 states are producing items such as cab signage from Pittsburgh, plastic parts from New York, lighting from New Haven, locomotive breaks from Baltimore and paint mixed in Wilmington.
The trains’ regenerative breaking system, which isn’t available in the current fleet, will save Amtrak $300 million in electricity costs over 20 years because the energy generated will go back to the power grid.
The Federal Railroad Administration provided the loan to Amtrak to purchase the new trains, which the company says it will be able to repay with improved ticket revenue from more reliable locomotives. The trains will run along the Northeast Corridor and the Keystone Corridor that connects New York City with Harrisburg, Pennsylvania via Philadelphia.
Joe Boardman, Amtrak’s CEO, said in an interview that the new trains will power the Northeast’s region’s economic growth.
“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.”
Follow Marc on Twitter firstname.lastname@example.org