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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

7 Responses

  1. Disappointing in a way that the long distance services were not addressed early, however this order does fill in on Boardman’s comments of late last year about AMtrak’s greatest need.

    The report on the Sunset line, and its fate is due in Rep. Corinne Brown’s committee this month, about this week I believe, but CSX has thrown a wrench into that with the announced rerouting of extensive freight off of the lines east of Flomaton, AL in favor of a route nearly 200 miles longer (to Jacksonville, i.e.) by way of Montgomery, LaGrange, Manchester, and Waycross. This is seen as a way to avoid putting PTC on the line and as that is required for passenger ops., one can begin to see the hand writing on the wall, and it is not ancient Persian.

  2. Andrew says:

    18 cars is the traditional normal maximum length of trains on the Northeast Corridor between New York and Washington. The platforms at NY Penn (Tracks 9 to 14), Newark, 30th St., Baltimore, Washington Union Station and elsewhere are that long. Some platforms which used to be that long have been shortened (Paoli, North Philadelphia).

  3. Harvey Clark Greisman says:

    Acquisitions of this nature suffer from a political handicap in that passenger rail equipment typically originates in either Europe or Asia. Support from labor and local/state government is diminished when there is little or no increase in manufacturing capacity to accompany the service enhancements.

    There’s been some talk in Washington about putting idled automotive assembly plants to other uses, among them building rail cars, locomotives, and signaling apparatus. GM was once a major player in this business. But the Obama administration appears committed to an industrial policy that maintains a hands-off posture toward GM’s product line and fabrication assets.

    Absent a robust domestic passenger rail manufacturing sector, attempts to bring the US up to a minimal global standard, let alone HSR, will likely be compromised from the outset.

  4. Walter says:

    The locomotives will be used as a general purpose passenger locomotive suitable for high speed, commuter, (including push-pull),

    push-pull? Maybe Amtrak is letting on about coming improvements to the Springfield-New Haven corridor, or maybe Shore Line East (managed by Amtrak) will have real express service from New Haven to New York (or at least Stamford) instead of cruising down the tracks at 50 mph?

  5. Ran says:

    @Walter – High-speed push-pull service is also found on the Keystone Corridor in PA, between HBG and NYP, via PHL.

    As for faster Amtrak trains over MN track, that is far more of a dispatching, cost-allocation issue than it is a matter of ability or desire.

  6. Adirondacker12800 says:

    Acquisitions of this nature suffer from a political handicap in that passenger rail equipment typically originates in either Europe or Asia.

    Ah but they are buying locomotives which are a North American specialty product. GE and EMD have a big chunk of the world market. … thought the spec is very close to ALP 46

  7. HockeyFan says:

    Canadian maker Bombardier closed its Barre VT factory after completing the Acela passenger cars. This factory now makes wind turbines. But Bombardier still has an active factory in Plattsburgh. They receive shells from their Quebec plant and do finish work there. NYC Subway, NJ Transit Bilevels and Acela locomotives were made there.

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