Together with the initial order of 75 locomotives, the 125 diesel-electric units are an important part of Amtrak’s sustainability initiative and are considerably more environmentally friendly than their 1990s predecessors. They reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide by more than 89% and particulate matter by 95%, while consuming less fuel than the locomotives being retired and reaching a greater top speed, 125 mph.
“We’re dedicated to continuously seeking new and innovative technologies that provide solutions to meet transportation needs while reducing health and climate impacts,” said Amtrak vice president and chief mechanical officer George Hull. “We are focused on being the solution to get people out of cars and planes and onto rail for greater emissions reductions.”
The new locomotives are designated as ALC-42 for “Amtrak Long-distance Charger, 4,200-horsepower.” They will primarily replace Amtrak P40 and P42 diesel-electric locomotives, which have a lower top speed and began service under different emissions standards 30 years ago.
The ALC-42 locomotives are Buy America compliant and built at the Siemens Mobility’s rail manufacturing hub in Sacramento, California. It is part of Siemens Mobility’s larger US manufacturing network, with eight facilities, more than 4,000 employees and 2,000 American suppliers, including Cummins, which manufactures the Tier-4 complaint diesel engines in Seymour, Indiana.
Amtrak is paying a total of up to US$2 billion for the new locomotives and supplemental multiyear maintenance support in its National Network, including about US$850 million in funding set aside when the initial order was announced in 2018.
“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Amtrak as they continue to modernize their fleet with the latest in sustainable and intelligent rail technology,” said Michael Cahill, president of rolling stock for Siemens North America. “We are also grateful for Amtrak’s confidence in Siemens technology and applaud their continued efforts to provide their passengers with clean, green sustainable, safe and reliable travel experiences.”
The first of the ALC-42’s entered service in February on Amtrak’s famous Empire Builder trains and are next to be deployed on the well-known City of New Orleans trains between their namesake city and Chicago. Starting with the tenth unit (delivered in April), the locomotives will carry the seventh standard paint scheme in the 50-year history of Amtrak.