Monday, September 09, 2013

Amtrak ACS-64 begins NEC testing

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
ACS-64 NEC test train,  Larchmont, N.Y. ACS-64 NEC test train, Larchmont, N.Y. Joseph M. Calisi
One of three Amtrak ACS-64 (Amtrak Cities Sprinter) electric locomotives from Siemens Mobility, no. 602, has begun testing on the Boston-New York-Washington Northeast Corridor and Philadelphia-Harrisburg Keystone Corridor in preparation for revenue-service fleet deployment this fall.

Two additional ACS-64s are testing at TTCI in Pueblo evaluating maximum speed runs, acceleration and braking, operating with Amtrak passenger cars, and testing the overall performance capabilities of the locomotive. Engineers are also validating the onboard computer system and software, as well as evaluating ride quality by using instruments to measure things such as noise and wheel vibrations.

A fourth locomotive is being tested in a climate-controlled chamber to determine how well it performs under hot and cold temperature extremes.

Amtrak selected Siemens to design and manufacture 70 of these next-generation electric locomotives to “provide improved reliability, efficiency, and mobility for intercity rail passengers traveling on the Northeast and Keystone Corridors.” The ACS-64 will replace existing AEM-7 electric locomotives that have been in service for 25-to-35 years, with an average of 3.5 million miles traveled.

The locomotives are being assembled in Siemens’ Sacramento, Calif., rail manufacturing plant, with parts supplied from its plants in Norwood, Ohio, Alpharetta, Ga., and Richland, Miss., and nearly 70 suppliers representing more than 60 cities and 23 states. The first units being used in the testing program rolled off the assembly line in May.

In revenue service, the ACS-64s will operate Amtrak Northeast Regional trains at speeds up to 125 mph on the Northeast Corridor and Keystone Service trains at speeds up to 110 mph. In addition, these locomotives will power all long-distance trains operating on the NEC. Once the locomotives are commissioned in the fall, production of the remaining units will ramp up for monthly delivery through 2016. The ACS-64 is part of Amtrak’s long-term, comprehensive Fleet Strategy Plan.