Amtrak goes green with 70 electric locomotives

amtrak Railroads, typically having the reputation of being one of the least environmentally friendly transportation technologies, are turning things around. Amtrak has awarded this six-year, $466 million contract was awarded to Siemens and will create 250 jobs primarily at a facility in Sacramento, California, but also at plants in Norwood, Ohio and Alpharetta, Georgia.

“Amtrak is a critical transportation provider in the Northeast and modern locomotives are essential to meet the service reliability expectations of our passengers and for us to handle the growing ridership demand in the coming years,” said President and CEO Joseph Boardman. Boardman explained the first Amtrak Cities Sprinter ACS-64 electric locomotive is to be delivered in February 2013 and will replace locomotives in service between 20 and 30 years with average mileage of 3.5 million miles traveled.

“Amtrak’s order for 70 new electric locomotives will not only create new manufacturing jobs, it supports the Department of Transportation’s strategy to use transportation to build the infrastructure needed to support a modern growing economy, while helping make our cities more livable, improve the environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Joseph C. Szabo, Federal Railroad Administrator.

The new Amtrak locomotive meets the latest federal safety regulations and includes additional safety features not yet required such as crash energy management components like anti-climbing technology and push-back couplers designed to keep the train upright, inline and on the tracks in the event of a collision. The design also allows for easier maintenance leading to faster turn around times and increased availability of locomotives for service. In addition, the new locomotives will be more energy efficient and will replace older units that presently do not have regenerative braking systems that can automatically return electricity to the power grid.