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New trains by Siemens Mobility come to North America

31 December 2022
Reading time ~ 4 min
Exterior visual of Siemens Venture locomotive-hauled push-pull trains for the Amtrak Airo service
Exterior visual of Siemens Venture locomotive-hauled push-pull trains for the Amtrak Airo service. Source: Amtrak
Ivolgina Anna, Editorial Contributor to International Projects, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency
Reading time ~ 4 min
Stolchnev Alexey, Russian Projects Editor, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency

Canada, US: The producer received an order to deliver 3 diesel locomotives and 9 passenger coaches for Canadian operator Ontario Northland. At the same time the manufacturer finished designing push-pull Venture trains under a large-scale contract with Amtrak and started their assembly at its plant in Sacramento.

The Government of Ontario and Ontario Northland announced signing a contract with Siemens Mobility to deliver 3 trainsets for $102 mln USD. The trainsets will include Charger diesel locomotives that meet EPA Tier 4 emission standards and three trail coaches, including one with a driver’s cab. The rolling stock is planned to be delivered by late 2026 to revive Northlander service, which will provide for rail transportation between Timmins and Toronto.

Exterior visual of Siemens trains for Northlander service Exterior visual of Siemens trains for Northlander service. Sources: Government of Ontario

Meanwhile larger events took place in the USA. At Penn Station in New York Amtrak presented exterior and interior visuals for new push-pull Venture trains for Airo service, which are to be launched in 2026-2031. The new rolling stock is based on the Viaggio Comfort coaches developed specially for the North-American market, replacing aging Amfleet I coaches produced in the 1970-80s by Budd Company (their current share in the operator’s fleet is about 40%). The designing of the vehicles is almost finished and the body of the first coach is currently in production at Siemens plant in Sacramento, according to Amtrak.

The contract worth $4.9 bln for delivery and maintenance of 83 Venture trainsets was concluded by Amtrak and Siemens in summer 2021, with options for up to 130 additional trainsets. The deal is financed within a large-scale five-year US infrastructure investment plan totalling $1.2 trln approved last year.  

Exterior design concept of train for Amtrak Airo service Exterior design concept of train for Amtrak Airo service. Source: Amtrak

There are three configurations to be supplied, each having a Charger ALC-42E diesel locomotive by Siemens equipped with Cummins QSK95 engine with a power of 3.2 MW, a power car and 6-8 trailer stock, including first and second-class coaches, a dining coach and a coach with driver’s cab. The train should accommodate 350 passengers. The top speed is set at 200 km/h. It is noted that the Venture interiors will feature a large glazing area. The first class will have 2 + 1 seats and the second class will have 2 + 2 seats.

Amtrak-supplied trainset configurations will differ in the following:

  • The most produced series of 56 trainsets will have hybrid diesel-catenary traction. According to Siemens Director of Business Development in the US, Steven Morrison, the distributed traction technology is brand-new technology to the company. The locomotive will be coupled to a powered, pantograph-equipped traction car. When the traction mode from the 25kV and 12.5 kV AC catenary power is activated, the diesel engine is shut down while the power car will be powered by 4 traction motors in the trailer coach with a driver’s cab and another 4 in the locomotive.
  • The second series of 17 trainsets will be powered by catenary and batteries installed in the power car.

The third, diesel-only configuration is the first to be produced for running the Amtrak Cascades line between Seattle, Vancouver, British Columbia and Portland. The exterior and interior design of the green-coloured trains will differ from the rest of the fleet.