The first of Amtrak's new fleet of locomotives made its Northeast Corridor debut earlier this summer. The "Cities Sprinters," electric locomotives manufactured in the U.S. by Siemens, are currently undergoing field testing to ensure that they are in safe, working order before their official entry into revenue service this fall. The tests are being conducted in Pueblo, Colorado and in the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak's purchase of these 70 new locomotives using a $563 million loan from the U.S. DOT's Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) program - the largest RRIF loan ever awarded - is a big step in Amtrak's comprehensive effort to modernize their fleet and improve the quality of their rail services. The Cities Sprinters will replace older locomotives that have been in service for over 25 years and logged, on average, more than four million miles. They will be used to pull Northeast Regional and Keystone Corridor trains.
The Cities Sprinters are easier to maintain, more energy efficient, and more reliable than the engines in use today. The new locomotives can reach speeds of up to 125 mph while pulling 18 coach cars. The first of these locomotives is expected to enter revenue service in the Northeast this fall and the remaining units will enter revenue service two per month through 2016.