National Train Day (May 11) may have come and passed but many improvements are headed for the American train system. Amtrak, which is largest provider of train transportation in the United States, is in 46 states and with over 500 destinations. Amtrak has become the leader in the locomotive industry but has been using the same trains for over 30 years.
There will be 70 new Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64), which is made by Siemens, implemented into the transportation system. Most of the new locomotives will begin operation in the Northeast Corridor, which are the Washington, New York City and Boston route. The remaining trains will head to the Keystone Corridor that provides transport form Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Philadelphia.
The new Siemens trains can pull 18 cars at a rate of 125 mph but this is not the reason that they are gaining so much attention. The locomotives are completely electric, which will provide countless benefits. They have regenerative braking and other qualities similar the technology used in electric and hybrid cars. The new trains will return over 5 megawatts to the power grid.
The savings that the trains will provide will continue in monetary form. It is estimated over the next 20 years, Amtrak will save $300 million dollars, which would normally be spent on energy and fuel costs. This is a modest estimation as it unclear how much gasoline prices will raise over the next 20 years. Also, over 3 billion-kilowatt hours will be saved due to the higher efficiency.
The new Amtrak locomotives will help power the economic future of the Northeast region, provide more reliable and efficient service for passengers and support the rebirth of rail manufacturing in America,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman.
Currently the new, efficient trains will be providing transportation to customers in 61 cities in 23 states. All of the locomotives are completely manufactured in the United States, mostly in a factory based out of Sacramento, California.
Even though most of the new trains are operating out of the east coast, Amtrak plans to implement this new technology in west coast cities within the next 5 years. Amtrak has begun positioning itself as the environmental solution to transportation.