Joe Biden Welcomes 1st Cities Sprinter Locomotive

Vice President Biden Vice President Biden ACS-64 Media Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman Sec. of Transportation Foxx Vice President Biden Vice President Biden

Today U.S. Vice President Joe Biden stood beside U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Amtrak CEO and President Joe Boardman to announce the launch of our Amtrak Cities Sprinter locomotive at an event held at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia.

Powered by Siemens, these locomotives are more energy efficient, more reliable and reaffirm our commitment to improving mobility and connectivity in the region.

The first locomotive goes into service tomorrow, traveling from Boston to Washington, D.C., on our Northeast Regional service. The remaining locomotives are scheduled for delivery two per month through 2015.

What do you think of our new Cities Sprinter locomotives? Let us know in the comments section below.

Read more All Aboard!: NEW AMTRAK LOCOMOTIVES: THE FACTS

 

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20 comments
thepixinator
thepixinator

Do you have to be a Veep to get to see the Engineer's view?  I would love to do that just once.  ps...is it Engineer or Conductor? I've never figured that out.  The train looks nice!

WilliamLong
WilliamLong

These new locomotives look like they will keep Amtrak moving into the next 75 to 100 years.

YannaPodoplelova
YannaPodoplelova

Hi guys, could anyone give me the link where I can find information about tariff policy in the USA? Thanks in advance

Fairmontrrmotors
Fairmontrrmotors

In this country, ALL "Diesel" locomotives are in reality Diesel-electric.There are some Diesel-hydraulic designs out there, but they're not used for over the road. The final drive is electric because, among other issues there is no way to couple the output of a Diesel engine directly to the rails- that would be the mother of all clutch pedals! The Diesel generator is not even directly controlled by the operator- he simply makes the traction motors call for power, and the generator responds. When a locomotive is starting a train, you often hear the engine revving up disproportionately to the low train speed. That's because of the heavy electric demand of starting a dead load.

Fairmontrrmotors
Fairmontrrmotors

It's a bigger picture than simply "fixing" roadbeds.True high speed rail is a specifically different endeavor than relaying some rail and updating signal systems. The Northeast corridor today consists of a few different lines that have been made more consistent relative to each other than they were, but it's still a cobbled together bit of history, in some ways.

Amtrak is underfunded. They are not to be faulted- they have no choice in terms of what their solutions are, currently. The Acela, for example, was a half-step toward high speed rail, albeit on conventional trackage. Essentially, they have had to take the approach of  signing on to a "technological mortgage" . Which is to say, they are making small improvements at enormous cost over time, rather than simply starting over as the Europeans have done. But here in the US we have a different view of the role of passenger rail travel.

JohnGHickey
JohnGHickey

Fix the track beds so we can have an alternative to flying between Boston, providence, NYC, phil, Washington. There is no reason it should take 3-4 hours to take the train between his and NYC. Throwing good money after bad once again fix the infrastructure and start with tracks

The Beaglepokepromaster
The Beaglepokepromaster

Duh, ya!! Electric Hello??  nevermind him, Are you going to replace those steel wheel chiminy's on the long haul routes,that at times, give us passengers are very rough ride..

patchagogo
patchagogo

Do these go any faster than the old locomotives? Will trips be shorter now? 

ClarksonCote
ClarksonCote

I read these are "electric locomotives"  Does that imply they're all using electricity to propel them instead of diesel or other fuel?


Is there any chance that Amtrak will expand their electric rail beyond current lines?

Openvironment
Openvironment

@WilliamLong These new locomotives look like they'll barely move us into the 90s. Belgium has had a 186 mph train in service since 1997 - these do 125 mph. China has trains that do over 300 mph.

Mullick
Mullick

High speed rail cannot have level crossings or low radius turns. That adds in the big cost to upgrade current railroads.

ClarksonCote
ClarksonCote

@The Beaglepokepromaster  Not sure if you're referring to my comment/question, but my understanding is that many diesel engines are technically electrically driven with the diesel acting more like a generator.  Hence my question.

Fairmontrrmotors
Fairmontrrmotors

@patchagogo the top speed of a locomotive is rarely an issue in this country. More often it is a simple case of antiquated track geometry and roadbed condition that results in limited top speeds. This is usually more of a safety issue that anything else

Fairmontrrmotors
Fairmontrrmotors

@ClarksonCote railroad electrification is expensive. As long as Amtrak is marginally funded, it's my guess that you can expect to see only marginal improvements  over a very long period of time. Ironically, we do have a history  of electric railroading in the US, but that was a long time ago. Look at the Great Northern, the Milwaukee Road and the Virginian Railway, if you're curious.

Fairmontrrmotors
Fairmontrrmotors

@ClarksonCote Here is a quick education: The vast majority of Amtrak's routes are NOT electrified. Amtrak, and the railroads with whom Amtrak contracts, use Diesel-electric locomotives to pull trains. Diesel electric means that these machines are in effect mobile generating stations. They generate their own electricity. The final drive is by electric motors. That's what diesel locomotives really are.


The Northeast Corridor is somewhat unique in the United States. Amtrak essentially inherited that trackage from other railroads. Of all the electric lines, the most notable were probably those built by the Pennsylvania and New Haven Railroads, respectively.  While there were other electric rr's in this country, today the only significant stretch of electric railroad is only from Boston to Washington- and even the stretch from Boston to New Haven is comparatively recent. Without that history, you would most likely not have anything even dimly approaching the high speed rail we claim to seek, in fits and starts.  Want to go fast? Go electric. Just look at Europe.

(And look at an amazing machine that at one time was the benchmark of what we could build in this country. It was called the GG1.) But that's unrelated to the problem at hand.

ClarksonCote
ClarksonCote

@Fairmontrrmotors @ClarksonCote  Thanks for the responses.  So, back to my original question, are these new electric locomotives for their electric rail lines, or are they diesel electric, or some of each?

I understood the diesel electric nature of "non-electrified" rail which is why I was posing the question.  I appreciate the response.

I recognize electric rail is expensive to fund, I just wish they'd find a way to do it.  It seems like, in the long run, there'd be significant cost savings.  Heck, wouldn't freight trains also want to take advantage of those improvements for those shared lines (and help fund/pay for)?

It is also a bit mind boggling to me how expensive it is to ride Amtrak from somewhere like Syracuse NY to NYC.  I would expect a fair that is cheaper than a bus, not twice as much.  I would also think lower fares would result in more ridership and maybe even more total revenue.

Maybe I'm naive though.

Mullick
Mullick

Talking about electrified tracks, it is not just Washington to Boston: Philadelphia main line (Harrisburg direction) is electrified too. Chicago to South Bend Indiana route has electric tracks for Metra too, but Amtrak uses parallel non - electrified tracks.

ClarksonCote
ClarksonCote

@Fairmontrrmotors @ClarksonCote  Thanks again.  I worded  my question poorly with "both" as I was wondering if some of the new locomotives were electric, and some were diesel electric.

I have actually been to Europe, and yes, coming back after that is depressing!  I rode passenger rail from Berlin to Prague, back to Munich, and then out to Rome.  The majority of it was all electric.  Pretty amazing, and affordable to boot.

I still really wish we could electrify more of the main rail lines here, or at least get more affordable passenger rail service.  I think if it were comparable to bus fares, you'd have many more people taking advantage of rail.

I would think freight companies would help pay for the electrification, and then it could stand a chance.

Fairmontrrmotors
Fairmontrrmotors

@ClarksonCote @FairmontrrmotorsThese are electric locomotives for use between Boston and Washington, and also from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. We don't have, in the US, locomotives that are capable of running off overhead wire, or diesel. They're one or the other, not both. In the NY area, Metro North does  have (although at this point, it may be "had") locomotives that run off third rail, but that's a different thing. Modern diesel locomotives are actually powered with AC traction motors; years ago, they were all DC motors, which made it comparatively simple to tap into the third rail. Today's machinery is more complex, electrically.

Regarding rail fares and ridership: Don't ever go to Europe. You'll find it too depressing. :)


And yes, freight trains are quite pullable with electric locomotives.Look at any of the electrified railroads in this country that existed from before the second world war. Hard to believe we gave it up.

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