Siemens, Cummins team for Tier 4 passenger locomotives

Written by Douglas John Bowen

Siemens Rail Systems and Cummins jointly announced a partnership on Dec. 3, 2013 that they said "will bring one of the most modern and efficient passenger rail, diesel-electric locomotives in the world to the U.S. marketplace."

The companies said Cummins QSK95 diesel engines will be used in Siemens’ diesel-electric locomotives in the U.S., “resulting in one of the most energy-efficient, lightweight, smart, diesel-electric locomotives available today in North America.”

QSK95The locomotives will be designed and built to provide a smoother, more reliable, and more energy-efficient riding experience for future U.S. rail travelers. State-of-the-art locomotive technology will also include a new engine aftertreatment system that will deliver a cleaner ride with better air quality and reduced emission rates, the companies said, with passenger and crew safety also a key factor.

“Today’s announcement acknowledges a new type of diesel-electric offering, one that is built with the passenger in mind,” explained Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rail Systems in the U.S. “Our goal is to provide high ride quality with smooth, safe and efficient performance — for both the locomotive engineers and the passengers — with cost savings for the operators and maintainers.”

“Our engines are the perfect answer for today’s diesel electric needs: they’re more efficient, lighter and cleaner than engines of this output in the past,” said Vice President and General Manager-Cummins High-Horsepower Engine Business Ed Pence. “We believe that our high-speed QSK95 engines will not just bring cleaner operation, but will achieve higher performance and lower operating costs than any system utilizing traditional medium speed powered locomotives.”

The lighter weight of the new diesel-electric locomotives ensures the ability to safely operate the locomotives at speeds of up to 125 mph more efficiently, requiring less maintenance, the companies said.

The locomotives will be built and assembled at Siemens’ solar-powered transportation manufacturing facility in Sacramento, Calif. Cummins diesel QSK95 engines will be made in Seymour, Ind. The 95-liter prime mover is the most powerful high-speed 16-cylinder diesel to be installed in a locomotive generating more than 4,000 hp (2,983 kW), the companies said.

The first QSK95-powered freight locomotive, with Siemens AC traction equipment and traction control, will begin commercial service operation in a field test with the Indiana Rail Road Co. (INRD) in mid-2014 as the first heavy-hauler repower QSK95 installation and is ready to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 ultra-low emissions regulations.

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