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New Amtrak locomotives to enter service on Northeast Corridor

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Amtrak is set to place the first of its new electric locomotives into service on the Northeast Corridor.

The new Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) locomotives will see their first revenue service on a Northeast Regional train, No. 171, set to depart Boston tomorrow.

The new ACS-64 locomotives, built by Siemens Mobility, will replace Amtrak’s fleet of AEM-7 (known as “meatballs” by some railfans) and HHP-8 electric locomotives. The new engines will pull regional and long-distance trains along the Northeast and Keystone corridors.

“Amtrak is integral to the daily life of the Northeast and the new locomotives will keep the people and businesses of the region connected and on the move,” Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman said in a news release. “New equipment ensures Amtrak can deliver the reliable service the region depends on and supports the growth of the region as America’s economic powerhouse.”

Amtrak says the new locomotives will be easier to maintain and use less energy than it’s current fleet. Additionally, the locomotives’ “regenerative braking system” will feed energy back into the power grid, according to Amtrak.

Amtrak placed the $466 million order for 70 of the Siemens-built electric locomotives in October 2010. Complete delivery of the new engines will take until 2016.

“Beyond improved reliability of service, the new locomotives represent a prudent business decision to invest in the future of the Northeast region and better position Amtrak to support ridership growth in the coming years,” Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia said in a statement.

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