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Siemens Awarded Contract To Build New Locomotives
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Siemens Charger diesel-electric locomotives will power more capacity on the growing Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) service.

The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC) has awarded Siemens a contract to build four diesel-electric Charger locomotives with an option to purchase four more. The locomotives will service the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE), a growing commuter rail service that currently runs four daily round trips from Stockton to San Jose, with future planned extensions to Ceres, Modesto and Sacramento. Delivery of the vehicles will begin December 2019.

“Our service is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and we are proud of the important part that this line has played in developing a strong, sustainable link between Stockton and the greater Bay Area,” said Steve Dresser, Chair, SJRRC Board of Directors. “With this announcement, we will be taking even more cars off the road, and providing a quieter, smoother ride for our growing number of passengers.”

Starting with just two daily round trips in 1998, ACE rail is now carrying 1.3 million passengers annually. The new locomotives will be able to pull 10-car trains, a 43 percent increase from the current capacity of seven cars. Using the QSK95 Cummins engine, they will also provide a 16 percent improvement in fuel efficiency over the existing SJRRC locomotives. Importantly, comparing the fuel consumption of a fully-seated ACE commuter train to two-person car travel, traveling by train results in a 90 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

These clean, efficient locomotives will have EPA Tier 4 emissions certification, representing huge reductions in diesel emissions from the current vehicles. Their higher (4,400) horsepower, in addition to providing higher passenger capacity, will also help the train to better catch up on delays and improve on-time performance. Lower-noise diesel electric engines, a streamlined locomotive design and smoother traction control will result in quieter, smoother rides and an overall improved experience for both operators and passengers.

Funding for the locomotives is provided in part by grants through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, and the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program.

In addition to being “Buy America-compliant,” these locomotives will also be “Made in California” at Siemens’ Sacramento rail manufacturing plant, which is also powered by up to 80 percent renewable energy.

“More than 1,200 Siemens employees in Sacramento are very excited – and proud – to be building locomotives for our neighbors along the Altamont Corridor,” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rolling Stock. “These locomotives are not only stronger and quieter, they’re smarter and easier to maintain. We look forward to bringing an overall improved experience for the current and future riders of the Altamont Corridor Express.”

The main components of the new locomotive are produced in Siemens plants in the United States – including gearboxes and traction motors in Norwood, Ohio and traction converters in Alpharetta, Georgia. The diesel engines are manufactured by Cummins in its Seymour, Indiana plant.

Siemens has also established a robust and diverse base of U.S. suppliers across the country to support production of the Charger locomotives. Siemens Charger locomotives are currently servicing transportation agencies across the U.S., including California (Caltrans), Illinois (IDOT), Washington (WSDOT) and Maryland (MTA). Additional states served by the locomotives are Oregon, Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan and Iowa. Charger locomotives are also powering new trainsets for Brightline, a passenger rail service connecting South and Central Florida.

ACE rail runs four daily round trips starting at the Cabral Station in Downtown Stockton and stops in Lathrop/Manteca, Tracy, Vasco Road, Livermore, Pleasanton, Fremont, Great America, Santa Clara and San Jose’s Diridon station. All its trains are ADA-accessible with free WiFi. Each year ACE reduces 43.5 million vehicle miles from the road, and each train removes the equivalent of 695 cars in the nation’s worst commute areas. ACE operates a 187,000 sq. ft. rail maintenance facility, and the facility was the first of its kind in the country to achieve LEED Silver certification.

Siemens Rolling Stock is part of the Siemens Mobility Division which provides efficient and integrated transportation of people and goods by rail and road – including all products, solutions and services regarding mobility. Siemens designs and manufactures across the entire spectrum of rolling stock including commuter and regional passenger trains, light rail and streetcars, metros, locomotives, passenger coaches and high-speed trainsets.