Amtrak’s new Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) electric locomotives are undergoing a rigorous testing at the US Department of Transportation (DOT) Transportation Technology Center (TTC) facility in Pueblo, Colorado, prior to their introduction on the Northeast intercity rail passenger service.
As part of the testing programme, two Siemens-built locomotives will undergo a series of tests, which include maximum speed runs, acceleration and braking, operating with attached Amtrak passenger coach cars and overall locomotive performance.
The two locomotives will also undergo additional tests and validation exercises as part of the commissioning process to confirm the operation and performance of locomotive as designed.
The programme also involves field testing of a third locomotive on the Northeast and Keystone strips during summer, and would also be used to train Amtrak locomotive engineers and mechanical crews.
Extreme temperature performance will also be determined by testing a fourth locomotive in a climate-controlled chamber.
Amtrak president and CEO Joe Boardman said: “These locomotives are the new workhorses of the Amtrak fleet in the Northeast and they must meet our performance-based specifications and reliability needs so we can keep the region’s people and economy moving.”
Amtrak had previously awarded a $466m contract to Siemens to design and build 70 new electric locomotives to replace its existing fleet of locomotives.
Being assembled at Siemens’ Sacramento facility in California, the new locomotives are capable of operating at speeds up to 125mph on the Northeast Corridor alongside the route between Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston.
The locomotives could run at speed up to 110mph on the Keystone Corridor route connecting Philadelphia and Harrisburg.
Upon being commissioned by autumn 2013, Siemens will ramp up the production of the remaining units for monthly delivery to 2016.