Amtrak to replace aging fleet of locomotives as railroad gets on financial track
By The Associated Press
Published: Monday, May 13, 2013, 9:51 p.m.
NEWARK, N.J. — Amtrak has shown off at a plant in California the first of 70 new locomotives, marking what the national passenger railroad service said it hopes will be an era of better reliability, streamlined maintenance and more energy efficiency.
On a broader scale, the engines displayed Monday could well be viewed as emblematic of the improving financial health of Amtrak, which has long been dependent on subsidies from an often reluctant Congress.
More than 31 million passengers rode Amtrak in the 2012 fiscal year, generating a record $2.02 billion in ticket revenue. Amtrak said it will be able to pay back a $466 million federal loan for the locomotives over 25 years using net profits from the Northeast Corridor line, where ridership hit a high last year for the ninth time in 10 years.
“The new Amtrak locomotives will help power the economic future of the Northeast region, provide more reliable and efficient service for passengers and support the rebirth of rail manufacturing in America,” Amtrak President Joseph Boardman said in a statement. “Built on the West Coast for service in the Northeast with suppliers from many states, businesses and workers from across the country are helping to modernize the locomotive fleet of America's Railroad.”
Robert Puentes, a senior fellow in the Brooking Institution's metropolitan policy program, said Amtrak isn't the same organization it was a few years ago, relying on federal handouts.
“Even though Washington is mired in debt and dysfunction, Amtrak is reinventing itself,” Puentes said.
The engines will be used on the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston and on Keystone Corridor trains that run between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Three were shown on Monday before being sent out for testing. The first is due to go into service by fall, and all 70 are expected to be in service by 2016.
Amtrak awarded the contract in 2010 to Munich-based Siemens AG, which has made a big investment in the American rail industry in the last decade.
Among the improvements are computers that can diagnose problems in real time and take corrective action and a braking system capable of generating 100 percent of the energy it uses back to the electric grid, according to Michael Cahill, CEO for Siemens Rail Systems.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Deal reached in Ukraine crisis talks, but U.S. remains wary of Russia’s end game
- Obamacare estimates beaten by 1M
- Law firm that cleared Christie recently gave $10K to GOP governors group
- Imam’s influence detailed as NYC terror trial begins
- GAO finds just 1 percent of large partnerships audited by IRS
- Another arrest made in abduction of N.C. prosecutor’s father
- Scientists achieve cloning advance for use in treating diseases
- National Portrait Gallery features abstract expressionism of familiar faces
- Chelsea Clinton expecting first child
- Clinton donor pleads guilty in illegal campaign contributions
- Husband accused in slaying ate pot candy, police say