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Clean Transport Train passing through a railway crossing against a blue sky with an interesting cloudscape. Motion blur is used to show the movement of the train. - Courtesy Siemens

Published on March 27th, 2014 | by Roy L Hales

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USA High-Speed Rail Gets Boost — 32-Train Order For Siemens Trains

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March 27th, 2014 by  

Originally published by the ECOreport.

Rendering of Siemens "Charger" diesel-electric locomotives - courtesy Siemens

Rendering of Siemens “Charger” diesel-electric locomotives – courtesy Siemens

Siemens has obtained a $225 million contract to build 32 “Charger” diesel-electric locomotives in its Sacramento rail manufacturing facility for US high-speed rail projects.


Five states are ordering locomotives. The Illinois Department of Transportation’s order is connected to an overhaul of its Chicago to St Louis route. California, Washington, Michigan, and Missouri have joined the deal, which includes options for an additional 75 locomotives for regional use and another 150 locomotives for mainline transportation. The locomotives are scheduled to be delivered between fall of 2016 and mid-2017.

“For Siemens this order marks our entry into the US diesel-electric locomotive market and strongly underscores our long-term vision for the US passenger rail market,” Jochen Eickholt, CEO of the Siemens Rail Systems Division, emphasized.

“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 lighter weight locomotives can operate at speeds up to 125 mph. A diesel version of the “Charger” is currently pulling some 1,600 passenger and freight trains through-out Europe. The electric version was introduced in the US last year and already at work in the Northeast.

Train passing through a railway crossing against a blue sky with an interesting cloudscape. Motion blur is used to show the movement of the train. - Courtesy Siemens

Train passing through a railway crossing against a blue sky with an interesting cloudscape. Motion blur is used to show the movement of the train. – Courtesy Siemens

Some of the other features described in the Siemens press release include:

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.

All the locomotives main components will be produced in Siemens plants in the United States.

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About the Author

is the editor of the ECOreport (www.theecoreport.com), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of North America and writes for both Clean Techncia and PlanetSave. He is a research junkie who has written hundreds of articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.



  • Reedman Bassoon

    Siemens just announced that their Charger locomotive has been selected by All Aboard Florida for a new Miami-West Palm Beach – Orlando service.

    http://news.usa.siemens.biz/press-release/rail-systems/all-aboard-florida-selects-siemens-train-manufacturer

  • npo

    Siemen’s? Really? What’s wrong with GE Locomotive Plant in Erie, PA? Now we’re buying foriegn trains? Our trains keep this country moving. BUILD THEM HERE, PARTS AND LABOR!!!! No wonder this country is sinking. As far as high speed; 125mph is better than 79 or 90mph.

    • Brent Brambleton

      If G.E. had actually placed a bid for the contract, your concern might be warranted. They didn’t. There is also no evidence that G.E. even has a locomotive that can meet the standards set forth in the request, among them attaining a top speed of 125MPH and Tier IV pollution standards. Also, as the article states,

      “All the locomotives main components will be produced in Siemens plants in the United States.”

      So you have American labor using American-built parts to assemble a locomotive to be used in the U.S.

      Granted, Siemens is foreign owned, but, it isn’t as if going with G.E. would have been of much help as far as generating tax revenues for the government, either. G.E. hasn’t paid any taxes to the U.S. Treasury for years.

  • ThomasGerke

    Well, 125 mph is at least faster than this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DRG_Class_61

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      As long as it doesn’t get blocked for hours by freight trains. :D (That really happens.)

  • Tom G.

    Well what can I say other than its a start. However, it is certainly not high speed when compared to other rail system and pales when compared to the theoretical speeds a Tesla high speed system might achieve.

    I sincerely wished we would just bypass this intermediate step and just go for really high speed transit. I guess for some parts of the country 125 mph is fine but it is certainly not something I would be publishing as some type of American achievement.

    Now the completion of a 500 mile Tesla line operating at 500 mph between L.A. and San Francisco would be news. That is what we should be working on. Forget rails except for short distances and freight and even forget maglev. Its time for a real moon shot not a revised locomotive.

    O.K. so thats my opinion and you know what they say about opinions, LOL.

    • Bob_Wallace

      As soon as someone demonstrates that the Hyperloop actually works and would be affordable we can talk.

  • JamesWimberley

    125 mph is medium-speed, not high-speed rail (200 mph). The customers for these locomotives are engaging in incremental upgrades, not building dedicated high-speed track. The true HS rail projects in the USA are stalled. Meanwhile, Morocco carries on building its first line… (http://www.railway-technology.com/news/newsmorocco-awards-tangiers-kenitra-high-speed-line-contract)

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