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.