Two new EPA-certified Tier 4 Charger locomotives from Siemens will enter service this spring on Northern California’s Capitol Corridor.
The Chargers are slated to replace two older EMD F-59 units sometime this month or up until June 1, when those F-59s are required to stop operating in intercity passenger service, according to the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA). The Capital Corridor serves 18 stations along a 170-mile route connecting the counties of Placer, Sacramento, Yolo, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco (via bus) and Santa Clara (see map below).
The Chargers, equipped with a Tier 4-compliant Cummins QSK95 16-cylinder prime-mover, are expected reduce PM (particulate matter) emissions by 90% and NOx (oxides of nitrogen) by 80% vs. the older units. They are also equipped with electronically controlled, regenerative braking systems to minimize fuel consumption, CCJPA said.
The Caltrans Division of Rail and Mass Transportation purchased the new Chargers as part of a project funded by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and co-funded by Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and Placer County Air Pollution Control District through the Carl Moyer Grant Program.
“Thanks to this partnership between CCJPA, Caltrans, California Air Resources Board, and regional Air Districts, we have increased the number of EPA-certified Tier 4 locomotives in our fleet from eight to 10,” CCJPA Board Chair Don Saylor said. “By putting more locomotives into service that emit fewer harmful air pollutants, we are better equipped to minimize our environmental footprint and help meet state and federal air quality standards.”
The Capitol Corridor plans to convert all of its remaining F-59s in the coming decade to Tier 4 in alignment with a state mandate that calls for 100% of off-road vehicle and equipment operations to be zero-emissions by 2035. The mandate also includes a ban of any freight or passenger locomotives older than 23 years from operating in California beginning in 2030.
In related news, Capitol Corridor Managing Director Rob Padgette has reported that service will increase starting June 7, “based on growing ridership demand, funding support, equipment availability and improving public health conditions. Our plan is to move from our existing 16 weekday and 10 weekend trips to 22 and 18, respectively. This plan will result in a return to our full, pre-pandemic service between Oakland and San Jose, and sets us on a path to restore our complete pre-pandemic schedule by 2022.”