Thursday, December 19, 2013

Siemens lands high-performance passenger locomotive order

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has issued a Notice of Intent to Award to Siemens Rail Systems USA for approximately 35 high-performance diesel-electric locomotives for several Midwestern and West Coast states using funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation. IDOT is leading the multi-state locomotive procurement on behalf of the Departments of Transportation from Illinois, California, Michigan, Washington, and Missouri.

The Notice of Intent to Award means a potential vendor has been identified. A contract still needs to be awarded before the purchase can proceed.

The new locomotives will achieve a maximum speed of 125 mph and meet Federal Environmental Protection Agency Tier 4 emissions standards. They will be equipped with the Cummins QSK95 diesel engines, which Siemens is using for its U.S.-market diesel-electric locomotives, “resulting in one of the most energy-efficient, lightweight, smart, diesel-electric locomotives available today in North America,” Siemens said.

Siemens and Cummins announced their partnership on Dec. 3, 2013.

In 2012, IDOT was involved in a multi-state procurement of 130 next-generation bilevel railcars for high-performance service, an effort led by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). That effort resulted in the selection of Sumitomo/Nippon-Sharyo, which is building the railcars at its plant in Rochelle, Ill. The procurement includes 88 cars to be deployed on Midwest regional corridors. The Rochelle plant opened in 2012 and has created more than 250 jobs in Illinois.

Amtrak debuted the first 110-mph HrSR (higher-speed rail) service segment outside of the Northeast Corridor on the Chicago to Detroit Corridor in early 2012. Today, the corridor features an 80-mile segment of track where trains are running up to 110 mph. By 2015, nearly 80% of the corridor will see sustained speeds of 110 mph, with new high performance equipment.

Illinois debuted 110 mph service on a 15-mile segment of the Chicago-St. Louis corridor from Dwight to Pontiac in November 2012. IDOT is working with Union Pacific and FRA to ensure that Positive Train Control requirements and all required track and crossing improvements are completed in order to expand 110-mph service to about 75% of the corridor by 2017. In December 2012, FRA provided a Record of Decision on the entire Chicago-St. Louis corridor, allowing Illinois to begin in-depth corridor segment analysis and specific project analysis to move toward HrSR service on the other 25% of the corridor as soon as possible, including the Chicago-Joliet and Alton-St. Louis segments.

“We are extremely proud to have been selected as a rolling stock partner to help bring the next era of passenger rail service to Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, California, and Washington State,” said Michael Cahill, President of Siemens Rail Systems USA.