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Siemens Lands $466M Contract for Green Amtrak Locomotives

Amtrak, the government-owned passenger rail corporation in the U.S., has awarded Siemens a $466 million contract to build 70 electric locomotives with energy efficient features.

The locomotives, which are destined for Amtrak's Northeast and Keystone Corridor lines as part of the rail company's initiative to update its fleet, will be built at Siemens' light rail manufacturing plant in Sacramento -- a facility which gets as much as 80 percent of its power from a 2-megawatt solar energy system.

The main components of the locomotives also will be made at Siemens factories in the U.S. The project is expected to create 250 manufacturing jobs  -- 200 at the Sacramento plant, which already employs about 750 people, and 50 jobs divided between facilities in Alpharetta, Ga., and Norwood, Ohio.

"This isn't your grandfather's locomotive," said Oliver Hauck, president of the Mobility Division of Siemens Industry Inc. in a statement last week. "Not only will we use renewable energy to build them, the locomotives will also include energy efficient features, such as regenerative braking that can feed up to 100 percent of the energy generated during braking back to the power grid."

Siemens' Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS64) will be customized to operate at a sustained speed of as much as 125 mph in the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor. The Amtrak Cities Sprinter is based on the company's latest iteration of its EuroSprinter, a family of electric locomotives whose first model was introduced almost 20 years ago in Germany.

More than 1,600 units of the locomotive are being used around the world, according to Siemens, which says that every third light rail vehicle in the U.S. is made by its company.

The same day as Siemens' announcement, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that 54 rail projects in 23 states will share $2.4 billion in federal funds to develop high-speed rail service in the U.S.

Thirty-two states submitted 132 applications for projects totaling $8.8 billion -- three-and-a-half times the amount of money available, the DOT said.

Projects received the money include plans for high-speed rail lines in California's Central Valley; the Tampa-to-Orlando corridor in Florida, where the long-term goal is to build a high-speed rail line connecting Tampa, Orlando, Miami and other communities; Iowa to establish intercity passenger rail service between Iowa City and Chicago through the Quad Cities area; and in Michigan to connect Detroit and Chicago via high speed rail with an eye toward doubling the number of daily round trips between the two cities over the long term.

A list of the rail projects receiving federal funds is available at

Image courtesy of Siemens.

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