Amtrak Cities Sprinter for a third time?

As production and commission of the Siemens ACS-64 come to full swing, it is only appropriate that I write some more here about this important locomotive that brings North American passenger rail into a whole new era.

What a beautiful looking thing
For those still not familiar with this name, ACS-64 is the new workhorse of the Regional (name for the locomotive-hauled 125 mph intercity service) fleet on the Amtrak Northeast Corridor. Seventy of them all together, projected to be delivered by 2015, will effectively replace all other electric locomotives currently in use. The model number decodes into Amtrak Cities Sprinter and rather than horsepower, the number 64 denotes the locomotive’s maximum short-term rating of 6,400 kW. That is a whopping 8,660 good ol’ horses (and remember, this is a 4-axle locomotive, so one axle of the ACS-64 is more powerful than a GP38!). Like the AEM-7, the ACS-64 is a full fledge European locomotive that is build in America. The Cities Sprinter is based on Siemens’ new Vectron platform that replaced the Eurosprinter, modified to conform to FRA crashworthiness standards and accommodate North American operating conditions.

In European standards, the Cities Sprinter is a little heavy, curbs at 217,000 lbs (featherweight in our standard though, our modern 6-axle freight road power easily weigh more than 400,000 lbs). Her continuous rating is 5,000 kW or 6,700 hp, still impressive and more powerful than the SD90MAC. Under regenerative braking, up to all of the 5 000 kW can be supplied to the grid, significantly cutting down energy consumption of the Cities Sprinter. More information on the ACS-64 can be found on this and this very colorful and informative brochures.

And on top of that, this post here was written before the actual locomotive existed, and this post for her inaugural revenue run.


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