State-of-the-art equipment provides improved reliability
PHILADELPHIA – Passengers on today’s Train 605 from Philadelphia to Harrisburg were aboard the first Keystone Service train in revenue operation to be powered by the modern and reliable Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) electric locomotive.
Use of the high-tech locomotives is the latest step forward in the long-standing partnership between Amtrak and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which share the revenue as well as operating and equipment maintenance costs of the Keystone Service.
Amtrak is acquiring 70 of the state-of-the-art locomotives that will operate on the electrified Northeast and Keystone Corridors. More than a dozen ACS-64 units are now in service with the remainder to be delivered through the end of 2015. The new locomotives replace older equipment that have seen between 25 and 35 years of service, and accumulated an average of more than 3.5 million miles each.
“The Keystone Service provides transportation that is competitive with driving, and these locomotives will further improve customer service,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch. “Our new transportation plan will allow us to keep improving the service and the stations so the experience on and off the train is a great one.”
“We commend and thank Amtrak for acquiring and using this new equipment for the Keystone Service. The passage of our new transportation plan, Act 89, stabilized our ability to fund passenger rail service and allows us to continue and accelerate our investment in intercity rail,” he added.
Ridership on the Keystone Service has grown to more than one million riders annually, up 60 percent since more than $145 million worth of infrastructure improvements were made under the Keystone Corridor Improvement Program in 2006. The upgrades have enabled faster speeds and more frequent departures between Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia and New York.
“The Keystone Service is an important link connecting Central and Eastern Pennsylvania with the rest of the Northeast Corridor,” explained Jay Commer, Amtrak General Manager of State-Supported Services. “We value our partnership and the new locomotives will help drive continued ridership, revenue and regional economic growth along the Keystone Corridor.”
The new locomotives are designed for improved reliability and easier maintenance which leads to increased availability for service. A state-of-the-art microprocessor system performs self-diagnosis of technical issues, takes self-corrective action and notifies the locomotive engineer. In addition, there are redundant systems to ensure power is maintained to the passenger cars to keep heating and cooling systems working, the lights on and the doors operational. The locomotives also meet the latest federal rail safety regulations, including crash energy management components.
Among the benefits of the ACS-64 is the ability to feed energy back into the power system for use by other trains through a process known as regenerative braking. When the entire ACS-64 fleet is deployed, this feature is estimated to save 3 billion kilowatt hours of energy.
The locomotives are being built by Siemens and assembled at its facility in Sacramento, Calif., with parts from more than 60 suppliers representing more than 50 cities and 20 states.
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