For Amtrak, 50 More Siemens ALC-42s

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Brand new ALC-42 309 is the first unit to wear the Phase VII livery, seen at the Siemens plant in California. Photo by Mike Armstrong for Amtrak.

Amtrak has exercised an option with Siemens Mobility for an additional 50 ALC-42 (“Amtrak Long-Distance Charger, 4,200 HP”) diesel-electric locomotives, bringing the total contract value to $2 billion, including supplemental multiyear maintenance support. The amount also includes about $850 million in funding set aside when the initial order of 75 units was announced in 2018.

The EPA Tier 4-compliant, AC-traction ALC-42 primarily replaces Amtrak’s General Electric-built “Genesis” P40 and P42 diesel-electric locomotives, which have a lower maximum operating speed (110 mph vs. 125 mph) and entered service under less-stringent emissions standards almost 30 years ago. Powered by a Cummins QSK-95 16-cylinder prime-mover and equipped with SCR (selective catalytic reduction) emissions control gear, the ALC-42 reduces NOx (oxides of nitrogen) and PM (particulate matter) by more than 89% and 95%, while consuming less fuel than the locomotives being retired. The locomotive is Buy America compliant and built at Siemens Mobility’s rail manufacturing hub in Sacramento, Calif., part of the company’s U.S. manufacturing network, with eight facilities, more than 4,000 employees and 2,000 U.S. suppliers, among which is Cummins, which manufactures the QSK-95 in Seymour, Ind.

Cummins QSK-95

Amtrak says the ALC-42 is “another major investment in our long-distance services, the backbone of our National Network” and “an important part of Amtrak’s sustainability initiative.”

“We’re dedicated to continuously seeking new and innovative technologies that provide solutions to meet transportation needs while reducing health and climate impacts,” said Amtrak Vice President and Chief Mechanical Officer George Hull. “We are focused on being the solution to get people out of cars and planes and onto rail for greater emissions reductions.“

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Amtrak as they continue to modernize their fleet with the latest in sustainable and intelligent rail technology,” said Michael Cahill, President of Rolling Stock for Siemens North America. “We are also grateful for Amtrak’s confidence in Siemens technology and applaud their continued efforts to provide their passengers with clean, green sustainable, safe and reliable travel experiences.” 

The first of the ALC-42s entered service in February on the Empire Builder  and are next to be deployed on the City of New Orleans between the train’s namesake city and Chicago. Starting with the tenth unit (delivered in April), the locomotives will carry the Phase VII livery, the seventh standard scheme in Amtrak’s 51-year history. Phase VII features Amtrak Blue with Amtrak Red and Midnight Blue separated by white arcs. The Amtrak Red nose “provides a bright splash of color, while darker colors were placed in strategic areas to accentuate the sleek form,” Amtrak noted. “The white portions of the design, stripes, logos and unit numbers are reflective for added visibility and safety.”

Standard ALC-42 safety equipment includes CEM (crash energy management) and PTC (Positive Train Control).

ALC-42 309, Phase VII livery. Mike Armstrong/Amtrak photo.
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