Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Siemens given notice to proceed on passenger locomotives

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
Siemens “Charger” locomotive Siemens “Charger” locomotive
The Illinois Department of Transportation, on behalf of the states of Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington, on March 18, 2014 formally granted the Siemens Rail Systems Division an official Notice to Proceed on 32 “Charger” diesel-electric passenger locomotives. The NTP follows IDOT’s December 2013 announcement of its intention to move forward on the order with Siemens.

The order is worth $225 million and includes a purchase option for another 225 locomotives—75 locomotives for use in regional transportation and another 150 locomotives for intercity transportation. The initial 32 locomotives, which will be manufactured at the Siemens plant in Sacramento, Calif., are scheduled to be delivered between the fall of 2016 and mid-2017. They will be used for regional and intercity passenger trains traveling at speeds of up to 125 mph.

The Charger locomotives, which are based technically on the Siemens Eurosprinter, Eurorunner, and Vectron locomotive platforms, feature a primary traction drive consisting of a 4,400-hp-rated Cummins QSK95 diesel engine with 16 cylinders and a cubic capacity of 95 liters. The QSK95, which complies with EPA Tier IV emissions regulations, will be manufactured in the U.S. by Cummins Inc., headquartered in Columbus, Ind. The 120-ton (approximate) Charger locomotive offers a starting tractive effort of 65,200 pounds (290 kN). Siemens says all components “are procured and manufactured exclusively in the U.S.”

“For Siemens, this order marks our entry into the U.S. diesel-electric locomotive market and strongly underscores our long-term vision for the U.S. passenger rail market,” said Siemens Rail Systems Division CEO Jochen Eickholt. “As one of the fastest, most efficient and safest modes of transportation, passenger rail is a key priority for U.S. infrastructure development. Siemens wants to play a major role in this lucrative market and can already look back on first successes, for example the new, advanced-technology ACS-64 electric locomotives built in Sacramento for Amtrak.”