All posts by Alexander Ivanoff

What the new Siemens Chargers mean for riders

From Railway Age:

The first two Siemens SC-44 Charger diesel passenger locomotives have arrived in Colorado for the start of testing at TTCI’s Pueblo, Colo., facility.

Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) awarded Siemens a $228 million contract in 2014 to supply 32 of the 125-mph diesel-electric locomotives for use on Amtrak services in the states of Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington. The locomotives are being assembled at the Siemens plant in Sacramento, Calif., and the first units are due to be accepted by IDOT in December.

The first options for additional units were exercised in November 2015, when the states of California, Illinois and Maryland ordered a total of 34 locomotives.

In September 2014, Florida East Coast Industries subsidiary All Aboard Florida ordered 10 Charger locomotives to operate its Brightline higher-speed passenger service from Miami to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, which is due to be launched next year. Assembly of these locomotives is now under way at Sacramento.

The four-axle, AC-traction Charger is the first locomotive to be equipped with the Cummins QSK95 prime-mover. The 95-litre, 16 cylinder engine is rated at 4,400 hp (3.28 MW) and is equipped with Cummins’ Modular Common Rail Fuel System (MCRS) with quad-turbocharging. The QSK95 is also equipped with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) exhaust aftertreatment, enabling it to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 emissions standards.

For the last few years, Amtrak’s diesel fleet has been pretty static, excluding the rebuilt stimulus P40DC locomotives. However, weather extremes have not been kind to the fleet, and on numerous occasions a host railroad’s locomotive is leading an Amtrak train. I can only imagine the frustration a host railroad has when an Amtrak locomotive has failed on a section of their track, no less the passengers.

The new SC-44’s, as the Chargers are being called, will free up in the Midwest upwards of about 20 locomotives that Amtrak should have overhauled immediately. When Amtrak’s fleet is at peak performance, passenger satisfaction improves. Coming home from the 2014 NARP Spring Council of Representatives meeting, the locomotive I was on (all but certain it was an AEM-7) experienced technical issues a little north of the Metropark station. Eventually the issue was fixed enough so that we could continue on our way, but we were an hour late into New York City.  I have read that the ACS-64 have very good reliability.

Furthermore, as locomotives are being retired, Amtrak should encourage transit agencies across the country to purchase them and even save them in the interim should a state out of the blue decide to start an intercity service or a commuter rail service. Equipment should see as much re-purposing as possible.

Hopefully in the next few years we will see much more reliable and comfortable equipment coming for Amtrak. But that means all of us in the public bring to light that Amtrak and all passenger rail operators in the United States need proper funding and regulation that allows for innovation and growth.

 

Kids can ride the train for just $5 this summer

From the Ashboro (NC) Courier-Tribune:

RALEIGH — Kids out of school for the summer?

North Carolina’s Amtrak is offering the perfect low-cost weekday family getaway. In June, July and August, children, ages 2-12, can ride the train for just $5 each way in North Carolina.

With six trains daily to Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte and nine other North Carolina cities on the Piedmont and Carolinian, there’s no shortage of fun destinations along the rail corridor. Take a day trip to have lunch and meander around a nearby historic downtown, or make it an overnight adventure with a hotel stay. Book your tickets at ncbytrain.org.

Up to two kids can ride for $5 with a regular full-fare adult on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays within North Carolina. Offer is valid for travel June 3-Aug. 28. Use fare code V812 when buying your ticket. Seating is limited. Advance reservations are required.

For more information, contact Julia Casadonte at (919) 707-2660 or email to jccasadonte@ncdot.gov.

– See more at: http://courier-tribune.com/get/do/kids-can-ride-train-just-5-summer#sthash.x5WsGSH8.dpuf

RALEIGH — Kids out of school for the summer?
North Carolina’s Amtrak is offering the perfect low-cost weekday family getaway. In June, July and August, children, ages 2-12, can ride the train for just $5 each way in North Carolina.
With six trains daily to Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte and nine other North Carolina cities on the Piedmont and Carolinian, there’s no shortage of fun destinations along the rail corridor. Take a day trip to have lunch and meander around a nearby historic downtown, or make it an overnight adventure with a hotel stay. Book your tickets at ncbytrain.org.
Up to two kids can ride for $5 with a regular full-fare adult on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays within North Carolina. Offer is valid for travel June 3-Aug. 28. Use fare code V812 when buying your ticket. Seating is limited. Advance reservations are required.
For more information, contact Julia Casadonte at (919) 707-2660 or email to jccasadonte@ncdot.gov.

A great way to introduce kids to the wonders of train travel, and to avoid the congestion at the airport.

RALEIGH — Kids out of school for the summer?

North Carolina’s Amtrak is offering the perfect low-cost weekday family getaway. In June, July and August, children, ages 2-12, can ride the train for just $5 each way in North Carolina.

With six trains daily to Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte and nine other North Carolina cities on the Piedmont and Carolinian, there’s no shortage of fun destinations along the rail corridor. Take a day trip to have lunch and meander around a nearby historic downtown, or make it an overnight adventure with a hotel stay. Book your tickets at ncbytrain.org.

Up to two kids can ride for $5 with a regular full-fare adult on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays within North Carolina. Offer is valid for travel June 3-Aug. 28. Use fare code V812 when buying your ticket. Seating is limited. Advance reservations are required.

For more information, contact Julia Casadonte at (919) 707-2660 or email to jccasadonte@ncdot.gov.

– See more at: http://courier-tribune.com/get/do/kids-can-ride-train-just-5-summer#sthash.x5WsGSH8.dpuf

RALEIGH — Kids out of school for the summer?

North Carolina’s Amtrak is offering the perfect low-cost weekday family getaway. In June, July and August, children, ages 2-12, can ride the train for just $5 each way in North Carolina.

With six trains daily to Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte and nine other North Carolina cities on the Piedmont and Carolinian, there’s no shortage of fun destinations along the rail corridor. Take a day trip to have lunch and meander around a nearby historic downtown, or make it an overnight adventure with a hotel stay. Book your tickets at ncbytrain.org.

Up to two kids can ride for $5 with a regular full-fare adult on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays within North Carolina. Offer is valid for travel June 3-Aug. 28. Use fare code V812 when buying your ticket. Seating is limited. Advance reservations are required.

For more information, contact Julia Casadonte at (919) 707-2660 or email to jccasadonte@ncdot.gov.

– See more at: http://courier-tribune.com/get/do/kids-can-ride-train-just-5-summer#sthash.x5WsGSH8.dpuf

“Ride with Pride to Washington D.C.’s Capital Pride on Amtrak”

From Passport Magazine (Blogs), by Joseph Pedro :

Skip that nauseating BoltBus and head down to D.C. next weekend on comfortable, energy-efficient Amtrak as they are also, for the fourth straight year, sponsor of Washington D.C.’s Capital Pride Festival’s Green Village, where festival attendees experience and learn about energy-efficient travel and sustainability efforts at America’s RailroadThe Capital Pride Festival will take place on Sunday, June 8, on Pennsylvania Avenue from noon to 7 P.M.. As presenting sponsor, Amtrak will showcase the company’s commitment to protecting the environment. Visitors stopping by the Amtrak booth will enjoy family activities and games, learn more about Amtrak service to more than 500 destinations, and have the opportunity to win free roundtrip travel vouchers to experience Amtrak travel on the Northeast Corridor.

Of course, check out Amtrak’s LGBT dedicated website to find some special deals to get yourself down to Washington next weekend.