New ACS-64 locomotives enter service on Keystone Corridor

Amtrak’s new Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) electric locomotives entered service this month on the Keystone Corridor.

“The Keystone Service provides transportation that is competitive with driving, and these locomotives will further improve customer service,” PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said in a news release. “Our new transportation plan will allow us to keep improving the service and the stations so the experience on and off the train is a great one.”

The new ACS-64 locomotives, built by Siemens Mobility, will replace Amtrak’s fleet of AEM-7 (known as “meatballs” by some railfans) and HHP-8 electric locomotives. The new engines will pull regional and long-distance trains along the Northeast and Keystone corridors.

Amtrak says the new locomotives will be easier to maintain and use less energy than it’s current fleet. Additionally, the locomotives’ “regenerative braking system” will feed energy back into the power grid, according to Amtrak.

Amtrak placed the $466 million order for 70 of the Siemens-built electric locomotives in October 2010. Complete delivery of the new engines will take until 2016.