Amtrak's much anticipated and long desired new motive power has finally arrived. Revenue service of the first new electric locomotive of the 70 ordered by Amtrak commenced yesterday with train # 171. 

Dubbed ACS-64, the locomotives are built by Siemens in California. These electric, multiple voltage locomotives are based on the Siemens Mobility "Vectron" platform. The "Vectron" locomotive platform has been quite successful for Siemens and proven to be very reliable. It is a technology based on a modular system and thus can be ordered in a variety of configurations to fit a customers needs. The range goes from diesel-hydraulic, diesel-electric to overhead electric; standard gauge and narrow gauge. 

The "Vectron" was the end result of years of experimentation with the Siemens Eurorunner and Eurosprinter test bed locomotives, going back as far as 1992.

A Siemens "Eurosprinter" in 1996. Wikipedia Commons PhotoOne of the latest incarnations of the electric "Vectron" is the Class 170 for DB Polska.

""Vectron" Electric Locomotive for DB Polska delivered in 2013. Siemens Mobility Press PhotoAnd, of course, Amtrak's new locomotives:

Amtrak ACS-64 Electric Locomotive. Siemens Mobility Press PhotoThe 70 new ACS-64 locomotives are replacing the electric HHP-8s and the much older, Swedish derived, AEM-7s currently in Amtrak's electric fleet. The HHP-8 locomotives have had a dismal reliabilty record, forcing Amtrak to rely on the AEM-7s, most of which are now over 30 years old.

Amtrak HHP-8 Electric in Boston. Photo by Ralf Meier

Watch a reliable, but old AEM-7 run by:

Video by Ralf Meier

The new Amtrak ACS-64 is a wide body, dual cab electric locomotive suitable for push/pull operation. The monocoque car body sits on Flexicoil trucks with a Bo'Bo' configuration. Total weight is around 217000 pounds. Maximum speed with 18 Amfleet coaches is 125 mph. Maximum tractive effort is 320 kN at 6400 kW power. The locomotive can supply 1000 kVA of hotel power.

The locomotive is capable of running under three catenary voltage systems and can feed back into the overhead power system 100 per cent of the regenerated power during braking. 

For a more detailed description click here. 


ACS-64 first revenue run. Wikimedia Commons Photo 

Video by "All Aboard Productions". 

The first revenue run pulls into Washington, DC Union Station:

Video by "nyshortline"