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Amtrak's Cities Sprinter, Practical If Not Pretty

By EV World Editorial Staff

A bullet train it isn't, but given present political and cultural realities, not to mention existing infrastructure, portions of which are more than a century old, Amtrak's new Cities Sprinter locomotives will be a welcome replacement for management and passengers alike.

The locomotives serving the ever-busier Northeast Corridor linking Boston and Washington, D.C., as well as the Keystone Corridor between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa., have each amassed as many as 4.5 million miles of service, many of them now 35 years in age. The present fleet has now accumulated 200 million miles of revenue service. So, it makes good economic sense to start replacing them over the next several years with a new generation of locomotives that are not only more efficient and reliable, but also safer.

Meet the Siemens-built Amtrak Cities Sprinter.

A sleek, blazingly-fast bullet train it is not, but with a top speed of 125 mph (200 km/h), it's not a bad substitute given the realities of rail travel in America, where just one state - Texas - is as large as the entire nation of France and twice as large as Germany. For the job it is intended to fulfill over the next several decades, it's state-of-the-art.

Capable of pulling up 18 passenger cars, each holding 72 passengers in coach and 62 passengers in business class, the Cities Sprinter is entirely electrically-powered, pulling energy off the overhead wires along the track at three different voltages: 12kV AC at 25 Hz, 12.5 kV AC at 60Hz and 25 kV at 60 Hz. The Siemens traction motors, which are built in Norwood Ohio, are capable to producing 8,600 hp or 6,400 kW.

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Times Article Viewed: 5904
Originally published: 20 May 2013

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