Siemens Charger

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Siemens Charger
Siemens SC44 'Charger'
Years of manufacture 2016 to present
Power/Fuel Diesel-Electric
Maximum Speed 200 km/h (125 mph)

The Siemens Charger is a four-axle diesel-electric locomotive with a full-width cab at one end. The North American locomotive shares design elements with the European Vectron from Siemens as well as their American Cities Sprinter.[1] Siemens unveiled their first production Charger locomotive on March 26, 2016.[2] A consortium of states comprised of Illinois, California, Michigan, Missouri, Washington, Wisconsin, and Maryland were the first to order the Charger in 2014.[3] The first solo revenue trip with a Charger locomotive occurred on August 24, 2017. Amtrak Hiawatha train number 329 departed Chicago for Milwaukee with Illinois Department of Transportation SC-44 unit 4620.

Design

The Charger uses a monocoque car body structure and meets the American 800,000lb buff strength requirement. Other safety features include full-width anti climbers and push-back couplers. A 16-cylinder Cummins QSK95 engine generates power to four AC traction motors via IGBT inverters. Head-end power is provided by a static inverter.[4]

The Charger is highly customizable with operators able to specify varying power outputs (from 4000hp to 4400hp), fuel tank sizes, and other mechanical options, such as strengthened plows and winterization, depending on the operating environment and conditions of the locomotives. Externally, The Charger can be specified with a blunt nose or with a customizable bolted-on streamlined nosecone. For locomotives with a blunt nose, space is provided between the ditch light clusters for a destination sign. An aerodynamic fairing can also be specified at the rear of the locomotive to match the height of bilevel passenger cars. With this option, the roof of the locomotive slopes upwards just behind the rear bogie. CalTrans has so far been the only operator to specify this option.

Variants

SC-44

The first model offered, the SC-44 is intended for short-distance Corridor service. It is equipped with a 6,800 L (1,800 US gal) fuel tank, 600 kW HEP capability, and is rated for a maximum of 4,400 hp. SC-44 locomotives have been ordered by many commuter railroads and state transportation departments for use on state-supported intercity routes.

SCB-40

Developed for the Brightline higher-speed rail service in Florida, the SCB-40 has a streamlined appearance with the front coupler hidden behind a removable nose cone. It shares the SC-44's 6,800 L (1,800 US gal) fuel tank but is rated for 4,000 hp. Brightline's SCB-40 units are part of fixed consists, with two locomotives semi-permanently coupled to four Venture coaches in a top-and-tail configuration.

ALC-42

The ALC-42 was developed for Amtrak's long-distance routes. In addition to a larger 8,300 L (2,200 US gal) fuel tank, they are equipped with bolt-on nose cones in similar styling to the ACS-64 to ease repairs after grade crossing accidents. The ALC-42 is rated for 4,200 hp to increase engine maintenance intervals, and can supply 1,000 kW of HEP. Amtrak placed an initial order of 75 locomotives in December 2018, with deliveries expected through 2024. [5] The first ALC-42s were placed into service on the Empire Builder service on February 8, 2022. Amtrak concurrently announced a further order of an additional 50 units.

A dual-power version of the ALC-42, the ALC-42E, will be utilized as the power units of Amtrak's upcoming Northeast Corridor/Empire Corridor trainsets. In addition to diesel-powered operation, the ALC-42E will have the ability to draw electrical power from an auxiliary power vehicle in order to operate on electrified or emissions-restricted portions of Amtrak's northeastern services. The APVs will be integrated within the trainsets and located immediately behind the locomotive, and will be equipped with a powered truck and either a pantograph or batteries.[6] Amtrak placed a base order for 73 dual-mode trainsets, with an option for up to 130 more.

SC-42

The SC-42 is the designation for VIA Rail's 32 Charger locomotives for their Quebec City-Windsor Corridor services. They were initially rolled out as SC-44 units, but were de-rated and re-designated prior to delivery. [7]

VIA's SC-42 units are equipped with streamlined bolt-on nosecones, as well as strengthened pilots and high-intensity discharge headlights to cope with their typical operating conditions. They are also equipped with 8,300 L (2,200 US gal) fuel tanks to match the fuel capacities of the outgoing P42DC units[8]. VIA's locomotives will be part of fixed consists of between 3 and 7 Venture coaches (including cab car), with the locomotives semi-permanently coupled to each consist.

The first two SC-42s, units 2200 and 2201, were delivered to VIA on September 29, 2021. 2200 was publicly unveiled to the public on November 30, 2021, alongside a full-length trainset.

Dual Mode

In December 2020, The MTA has approved a $334.9 million contract to Siemens for an initial order of 27 dual-mode locomotives for the Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road [9]. The dual-mode Charger locomotives will have similar specifications to the ALC-42 model, including bolt-on nose cones. Unlike Metro-North's existing dual-mode fleet, which can only operate in electric mode for short periods of time, these dual-mode locomotives will be able to operate on third-rail power wherever it's available [10]. These locomotives will be used to replace the MTA's fleet of GE P32AC-DM locomotives, which are approaching the end of their useful lives.

The first 19 units for the MTA are to be delivered starting in 2026. The contract includes an additional 144 options which can be taken by the MTA, the Connecticut Department of Transportation, and the New York Department of Transportation (for Amtrak's Empire Corridor services).

Specifications

Operators

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References