Siemens Corporation has won a $466 million contract to manufacture seventy electric locomotives for Amtrak. The electric train deal means about 250 new jobs will be added — 200 in Sacramento CA and 50 in Alpharetta GA. Another green aspect of the electric train project: the Sacramento plant where some of the trains will be produced uses up to 80 percent solar power. Called Amtrack Cities Sprinters, the electric locomotives run entirely on electricity and can cruise at 125 miles per hour. They also can achieve a peak of 10,000 horsepower.
“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,” Oliver Hauck, president of Siemens Industry’s Mobility Division, said. (Source: techcrunch.com)
The new electric trains will be used on Northeast Corridor, connecting Washington D.C. to Boston, and on the Keystone Corridor, between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. The trains will begin to enter service in 2013, but it will be 2019 before they are all completed. All seventy of the trains will be locomotives and replace diesel versions which have been in service since the 1980s. Moving people with trains is more energy-efficient than cars or planes. Each locomotive weighs about 215,000 pounds.
Amtrak President Joseph Boardman said, “We have the financial capital of the world, we have one of the major medical corridors, educational institutions, and even fashion industry that are depending upon a reliable system of intercity transportation.” (Source: GoogleNews.com) Amtrak carried over 28 million riders in the year ending this September 30th.
Diesel locomotives emit air pollution,”they continue to emit large amounts of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter (PM), both of which contribute to serious public health problems.” So replacing seventy of them with electrics should at least make a dent in reducing it. Additionally, with electrics, no pollution will be coming directly from them, so they will not be polluting on rail lines which are frequently located near people.
Last year an electric locomotive was put into service for moving freight trains. It is a zero-emissions vehicle, although there would be emissions created if the power it uses comes from coal.
European Version of Siemens Electric Locomotive:
Image Credit: Amtrak