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U.S. places order for 34 Siemens diesel-electric locomotives

9 November 2015  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

Three states of the USA have ordered a total of 34 Charger diesel-electric locomotives from Siemens with the capability of operating at speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour.

U.S. places order for 34 Siemens diesel-electric locomotives

The 34 Charger diesel-electric locomotives will be delivered to the states of California, Illinois and Maryland in an order worth €165 million ($225 million).  The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) ordered 14 locomotives to serve the Pacific Surfliner Amtrak route along the southern California coast from San Luis Obispo to San Diego via Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will expand its fleet with twelve locomotives and the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has for the first time ordered eight locomotives for the MARC commuter rail line, serving the cities of Baltimore, Brunswick, Frederick, Martinsburg and Washington D.C. as well as Harford County. The locomotives will be built at Siemens’ rail manufacturing plant in Sacramento, California and delivered between autumn 2016 and mid-2017.

34 diesel-electric locomotives for California, Illinois and Maryland

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 added: “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.”

Cooperative agreement lowers purchase cost and saves taxpayers money

Commenting on the order 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 locomotives will be Federal Transit Administration Buy America compliant with parts produced by suppliers in the United States. The locomotives will be powered by a 16-cylinder, 95 litre displacement, 4,400 horsepower-rated diesel engine built by Cummins Inc. headquartered in Columbus, Indiana.

According to Siemens, a state-of-the-art microprocessor control system manages the performance of the locomotive and performs self-diagnoses that automatically make self-corrective action. The locomotive engineer and maintenance facility are notified about any required service measures. To secure the power supply for the passenger coaches and maintain primary systems such as lighting, communications, heating and cooling, a traction converter provides backup when needed. The locomotive’s car body structure meets the latest federal safety regulations, providing additional protection for the locomotive engineer.

A €225 million order for 35 diesel-electric locomotives was originally signed in 2014 by the states of Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington. The contact included the option to order an additional 222 locomotives which Siemens believes will be accepted.


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