Siemens announced March 18 it has been awarded a $225 million contract to build 32 diesel-electric locomotives for the Multi-State passenger rail locomotive procurement being led by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The procurement is being done on behalf of the departments of transportation from 5 states: Illinois, California, Michigan, Washington and Missouri. The project includes options for 225 additional locomotives. The first locomotives are set to be delivered in 2016.
The Charger locomotives will be built at the Siemens rail manufacturing facility in Sacramento, Calif. The plant, which has been in operation for almost 30 years, is powered up to 80 percent by two megawatts of solar energy and currently employs over 800 people.
“As a global leader in rail innovation, we are thrilled to be able to showcase our new passenger rail, diesel-electric locomotive technology in this country,” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rail System in the U.S. “These state-of-the-art, energy efficient locomotives will be built in America using renewable energy and will provide a cleaner, safer and faster means of transportation for rail passengers.”
All main components of the new locomotive will be produced in Siemens plants in the United States – including traction motors and gearboxes in Norwood, Ohio and propulsion containers in Alpharetta, GA. The diesel engines will be manufactured by Cummins in its Seymour, Ind., plant. Siemens has established a robust and diverse base of U.S. suppliers across the country that currently provides components and parts for all of Siemens’ U.S. passenger-rail vehicle production.
“We are happy to be moving forward with this exciting and important partnership with Siemens,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann. L. Schneider. “The manufacturing of these high performance diesel-electric locomotives will not only create pride in the fact that they will be made right here on American soil but also create much needed jobs.”
"California continues to lead the way in offering robust and sustainable alternative transportation choices, which is especially important given the record setting ridership that we've experienced over the last several years," said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "This agreement will help boost our transportation infrastructure, strengthen the local economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
Siemens Charger diesel-electric locomotives are built on Siemens’ proven Vectron platform, currently pulling some 1,600 passenger and freight cars throughout Europe. The electric version of this locomotive was rolled out last year in the U.S. by Amtrak and is currently in service along its highly-traveled Northeast Corridor.
“The new Charger locomotives represent the next-generation of equipment advancing high performance intercity passenger rail in the Midwest, California and Pacific Northwest,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “This state of the art equipment will accelerate and brake more quickly, reducing trip times for passengers, as well as being more fuel efficient and burning cleaner than previous locomotives for the benefit of the environment.”
The Charger will be powered by a high-performance, environment-friendly, 4400 hp-rated Cummins QSK95 diesel engine designed to ensure compliance with Federal Railroad Administration EPA Tier IV emissions regulations, required to be in place in 2015.
"California boasts the nation's largest manufacturing sector which supports over 1.2 million jobs and has enjoyed three straight years of job growth in the state," said Kish Rajan, GO-Biz director for the California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Opportunity. "Siemens is a strong member of the California manufacturing industry and GO-Biz applauds their efforts to build the next generation of energy efficient locomotives in the Sacramento area."
A state-of-the-art microprocessor control system manages the performance of the locomotive and performs self-diagnosis of technical issues, takes self-corrective action and notifies the locomotive engineer and the remote maintenance facility of any required corrective action. In addition, there are redundant systems to ensure optimal performance and availability such as a totally redundant auxiliary power supply for the passenger coaches to keep primary systems such as lighting, communications, heating and cooling systems working. The locomotives meet the latest federal rail safety regulations, including enhanced carbody structure safety with crash energy management components.
In total, this new rail equipment can help operators achieve cost savings by enabling reduced trip times, while improving reliability and efficiency for its passenger rail service. The lighter weight of these locomotives ensures the ability to safely operate the locomotives at speeds of up to 125 mph more efficiently, requiring less maintenance for both the locomotive and the infrastructure.