New Amtrak locomotives are rolling out across the US Midwest. Made by Siemens in Sacramento, California, the new “Midwest Charger” engines will operate within Amtrak’s five-state network of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Missouri. The locomotives commenced operations in Wisconsin and Illinois at the end of August. The engines feature the new Amtrak Midwest logo.
The diesel-electric locomotives, powered by a Cummins engine, pump out 4,400 horsepower and can reach top speeds of 125 miles per hour. Additionally, Siemens touts their quieter locomotive as some of “the cleanest”, and in comparison to the Amtrak engines currently in service, the difference is significant; the faster-accelerating (and faster-braking) new models offer a 90% reduction in emissions & a 16% reduction in fuel consumption.
33 locomotives will be delivered by January 2018, with the following trains as recipients: in Michigan, the Wolverine (Pontiac-Detroit-Chicago), Blue Water (Port Huron-Chicago) & Pere Marquette (Grand Rapids-Chicago); in Illinois, the Illini/Saluki (Chicago-Carbondale), Illinois Zephyr/Carl Sandburg (Chicago-Quincy), Lincoln Service (Chicago-St. Louis); in Wisconsin, the Hiawatha (Milwaukee-Chicago); in Missouri, the Missouri River Runner (Kansas City-St. Louis). (In the map below, the new Midwest Charger routes are in blue.)
The Midwest Chargers, coupled with track and station improvements, will drop the Amtrak travel time between Chicago and St. Louis from 5-and-a-half to 4-and-a-half hours. That higher-speed schedule for Amtrak’s Lincoln Service, running up to 110 mph, is slated to begin in 2018.
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)