Amtrak offers electric locomotive facility preview, discusses new train’s power

(Photo: Amtrak)(Photo: Amtrak)

Amtrak on Wednesday offered Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) a preview of its Wilmington Maintenance Facility, where the company is testing its new electric locomotives, according to Delaware’s WDDE.

The facility is in the final stages of testing the Siemens-manufactured Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64), which debuted in Sacramento, California, in May. Amtrak ordered 70 of the locomotives in 2010 for $466 million and expects to replace the entire electric fleet in the Northeast Corridor with the new trains by 2016.

The new locomotive moves at speeds of up to 125 mph and The Cities Sprinter is also designed to be faster, more reliable, more efficient and safer than previous electric models.

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Mario Bergeron, Amtrak’s chief mechanical officer, said the locomotive is powerful and is the company’s “most independent individual locomotive.” Bergeron said the ACS-64 can deliver up to 8,600 hp and pull as many as 18 cars, and it features energy-saving regenerative braking that can return up to 100 percent of the power generated during braking back into the electric grid.

Check out the video to the right to hear more from Bergeron about the locomotive’s power.

According to WDDE, the regenerative braking feature could save more than $300 million in a 20-year span.

Carper said he anticipates the upgrades to be worth the cost.

“Just in terms of reliability, safety, generating the electricity to help buy down the electricity costs of these, there is a much better return on investment,” Carper said.

To see photos of the new Amtrak Cities Sprinter locomotives, visit