Laura K. Cowan

Amtrak Will Update Its Fleet with Half a Billion Dollars Worth of Electric Trains

by , 07/01/11

Amtrak electric train, Siemens ACS-64 Sprinter train, electric train, Department of Transportation electric train loan, green transportation, alternative transportation

We’re still waiting to see how high-speed rail plans play out in the U.S., but Amtrak is making a move to update its ordinary fleet to a greener standard. The U.S. Department of Transportation just announced that it will give Amtrak a $562 million loan to invest in new electric trains to bring its fleet up to date in the Northeastern part of the U.S. Amtrak has placed a massive order for 70 electric Sprinter ACS-64 locomotives with supplier Siemens, which will require the manufacturer to add 250 manufacturing jobs just to complete the request.

Amtrak electric train, Siemens ACS-64 Sprinter train, electric train, Department of Transportation electric train loan, green transportation, alternative transportation

The 70 Amtrak Cities Sprinter ACS-64 locomotives, which are now in the final design phase, will replace existing trains that have been in service for 20-30 years with an average of 3.5 million miles traveled. The electric Sprinter trains are expected to travel up to 125 miles per hour on the Northeast Corridor from Washington, D.C. to Boston and up to 110 mph on the Keystone Corridor from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. What do you think of this move toward greener but not high-speed trains? Let us know in comments.

+ Amtrak

+ Siemens

Via Earthtechling

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3 Comments

  1. caeman July 2, 2011 at 10:13 am

    LazyReader, it comes down to the Amtrack having a powerful union pushing lawmakers to fund what they know is a loser. It lines union pockets, so that is all they care about. For the public face, they get to say they are being “green” and hope that nobody delves too deep into their business model.

  2. lazyreader July 1, 2011 at 11:43 am

    So Amtrak is spending over half a billion on new trains. Is that enough to replace all their stock or just some of it? Where is all the money coming from. And why? Buses move more people than Amtrak in the Boston-Washington corridor and for the most part they pay their own way. In 2011, some 16 different bus companies move about 4.0 billion seat miles in the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak claims about 6 percent of the travel market in the corridor, so buses have about 8 to 9 percent. (Airlines have about 5, with the other 80 percent being automobiles.) Overall, Amtrak only carries about one-tenth of one percent of passenger travel in the U.S. Intercity bus service has been the nation’s fastest-growing mode of travel, says Joseph Schwieterman of DePaul University. Since 2006, bus ridership has grown almost twice as fast as Amtrak’s. So why output millions or billions of dollars for something that only carries less than a few thousand people a day. Gas taxes and other highway user fees provide most of the money in the transportation bill, why then should highway users be asked to pay for a huge expansion of Amtrak subsidies and development? They claim they make money (apparently not enough). Even high-speed trains are slow (relative to flying), inconvenient (relative to driving), and (under present arrangements) at least four times as expensive as either flying or driving.

    fund intercity passenger trains out of fares. If fares don’t cover the costs, try cutting the costs by contracting out services to private companies instead of paying heavy union wages to government employees with lifetime job security. If that doesn’t save enough money to fund the trains then maybe we don’t need them.

  3. caeman July 1, 2011 at 10:47 am

    This is a far cheaper price tag for the tax payers than having to build high-speed rails. Since it re-uses the existing rail system, it is “green” even in that aspect, compared to destroying and rebuilding land for all new track.

    My question is this: How will this upgrade reduce the American tax payer’s burden it already suffers to prop up Amtrak?

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