Amtrak “Phase VI” Livery Gets a Fresh Application

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Amtrak diesel-electric locomotives have worn many liveries over the years since the company was founded in 1971. The latest of these is a variation on the current “Phase VI” scheme that dates to 2002, to be worn by five of the first six ALC-42 Siemens Chargers that will replace the current P40 and P42 “Genesis” fleet on the National Network, including all long-distance and many state-sponsored routes. The sixth unit will be painted to recognize next year’s 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Amtrak service. Amtrak says “a final livery will be unveiled later as part of a fleet-wide plan.”

Siemens Mobility and Amtrak developed the ALC-42 (“Amtrak Long-distance Charger, 4,200-horsepower) series. Similar to the SC-44 locomotives purchased by some state agencies and operated by Amtrak, these units have greater fuel capacity for longer routes and increased HEP (Head End Power) generating capacity for larger consists. Amtrak notes that “a multitude of other upgrades will also lead to longer maintenance intervals. The nose of the ALC-42 will serve as a ‘new face of Amtrak’ in much of the U.S. and is designed to enhance safety and aesthetics and to simplify repairs.”

The ALC-42 is equipped with PTC (Positive Train Control), CEM (Crash Energy Management) and AC traction, and geared for a maximum speed of 125 mph. Their 16-cylinder Cummins QSK95 prime-mover has EPA Tier 4-compliant emissions technology to reduce NOX (oxides of nitrogen) by more than 89% and PM (particulate matter) by 95%, while providing a savings in diesel fuel consumption and reaching Amtrak Sustainability goals. The initial order of 75 new locomotives was first announced by Amtrak in December 2018, with deliveries expected through 2024. Amtrak also has a provision to order additional ALC-42 locomotives.

Siemens Charger SC-44 locomotives purchased by state DOTs and operated by Amtrak are similar to the ALC-42 but equipped for shorter-haul services.

The new locomotives are in production at the Siemens plant in Sacramento, Calif. They will primarily replace Amtrak P40 and P42 diesel-electric locomotives. “Although modern when bought in the 1990s, the P-series locomotives have been intensively used for more than 25 years, lack up-to-date technology and do not achieve Tier 4 emissions standards,” Amtrak notes.

“Amtrak is purchasing the new locomotives through available funds is fulfilling Buy American provisions,” the company says. “Siemens Mobility has suppliers across the United States to support locomotive production, including Cummins, which manufactures the diesel engines in Seymour, Ind. These new locomotives are part of Amtrak’s long-term planned series of improvements for fleet, infrastructure and stations, including new Acela trainsets now undergoing tests to begin service next year. Improvements are ongoing at New York Penn Station and Moynihan Train Hall, in addition to expanded development of the major stations at Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and Chicago.”

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