Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Amtrak seeking electric locomotives for NEC

This is an intriguing development.

Amtrak intends to issue a competitive Request for Proposal for a qualified vendor to provide the design, manufacture and delivery of twenty (20) Electric Locomotives with AC Propulsion (IGBT) technology, with an option for Amtrak to purchase up to an additional forty (40) electric locomotives.  The locomotives will operate at revenue service speeds of 125 MPH on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor track between Boston and Washington, DC, as well as between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, using the existing traction power system and track infrastructure.  (The maximum design speed is 135 MPH).  The locomotives will be used as a general purpose passenger locomotive suitable for high speed, commuter, (including push-pull), and heavy long distance trains.  The Electric Locomotives will provide sufficient horsepower to provide continuous 125 mph operation when used in a train consist of one (1) locomotive and eighteen (18) cars.

This is a significant query which may  raise some issues, or maybe not. Knowing the general lack of equipment, it is very likely that this purchase, once completed, merely replaces which is currently in place. The “18 car” requirement has raised some eyebrows and suggests more extensive consists, perhaps including equipment from the long distance trains that also run on the corridor.One might also expect that some of the HSR money from FRA may to go improvements in the heavily traveled NEC.

Many anxious supporters are looking for a purchase order for new long distance equipment before the end of this year. There is also the matter of extensive changes in the Sunset discussed previously.

Filed under: Amtrak, United States High Speed Rail

Breakdown of states applying for HSR funding

There’s a flurry of news out there about state requests for federal HSR stimulus money. Thankfully, Yonah Freemark over at the Transport Politic has compiled a list of state applicants for federal HSR money, both confirmed and likely. There are the high profile projects on there of course, ones likely to take home a good chunk of that money (California, New York). But the FRA’s calls for projects in the planning phases, which obviously will be asking for less money (for now), seem to have not gone unheeded either, as Pat’s post about Arkansas’ new awakening to the possibilities of fast rail indicates.

This would seem to be in line with the different “tracks” set out in the guidelines for funding requests put out last month. Projects more in the planning phase would receive money out of the congressional appropriations hat rather than the stimulus package.

Of course, not everyone can get funded. How this money is distributed will be a good indication of this administration’s commitment to getting high-speed rail built. Regional political pandering is, unfortunately, an important legislative strategy, but an overemphasis on these types of proposals will leave necessary improvements undone and the country not much closer to a functioning ideal of American HSR.

Filed under: Uncategorized

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July 2009