New Amtrak locomotives – made in the U.S. and cleaner, faster, and more fuel efficient than predecessors – began service today pulling the famous Amtrak Empire Builder train westbound from Chicago to Seattle. Locomotives 301 and 302 are among the first of 75 locomotives being delivered through 2024.
These ALC-42 locomotives are an important part of Amtrak’s sustainability initiative and are considerably more environmentally-friendly than their 1990’s predecessors. They reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide by more than 89 percent and particulate matter by 95 percent, while consuming less fuel than the locomotives being retired and reaching a greater top speed, 125 mph.
“We take our commitment to sustainability seriously at Amtrak. We’re focused on being the solution to get people out of cars and planes and onto rail for greater emissions reductions, said Amtrak Vice President and Chief Mechanical Officer George Hull in a brief ceremony at Chicago Union Station.
“While railroading is a small portion of the emissions picture nationally, we want to take these steps to be the cleanest passenger railroad operating diesel trains in North America, commuter or interstate,” Hull added. “We’re dedicated to continuously seeking new and innovative technologies that provide solutions to meet transportation needs while reducing health and climate impacts.“
A team from Amtrak and Siemens Mobility developed this locomotive series for heavier and longer trains traveling thousands of miles in a single trip, spanning the U.S. from Seattle to Miami, Los Angeles to Boston. Hull indicated Amtrak is working with Siemens to order more of these locomotives to meet needs in the Amtrak network, particularly for the Long Distance trains.