Amtrak Locomotives

June 04, 2016  •  2 Comments

Recently, I was in my three-year-old son's room. I had decorated his room with various photos of our family and wildlife (bears, lions, etc.), which I shot specifically for him. My son turned to me and said wistfully, "Someday, I won't have any pictures in my room." "What do you mean?" I said. He responded, "Because I don't want any pictures in my room." Puzzled, I asked, "Why not?" And he responded, "Because they're not very good." Ouch! After taking a deep breath, I replied, "But you like my photo of the DC Streetcar hanging downstairs, don't you?" "Oh yes! I do!" he replied excitedly. And so there we have it, my son really just wants photos of trains in his room.

Amtrak #2003Amtrak #2003Amtrak trainset #2001 arrives at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Trainset #2001 is a Bombardier Acela Express (usually referred to simply as "Acela"). Acela is Amtrak's flagship and high-speed rail service along the Northeast Corridor. Acela trains are the fastest trainsets in the Americas; the highest speed they attain is 150 mph (240 km/h) in revenue service. Acela trains use tilting technology, which helps control lateral centrifugal forces, allowing the train to travel at higher speeds on the sharply curved Northeast Corridor without disturbing passengers.

The first Acela trainset entered service on December 11, 2000.

Acela Express, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Acela_Express&oldid=722885592 (last visited June 2, 2016).

I normally don't shoot by request, but for my three-year-old, I've made an exception and shot a series of Amtrak trains. I didn't know much about trains previously, but I learned quite a lot while shooting the series. So, I'll share the series along with a little bit of what I learned.

The following represents Amtrak's basic lineup of locomotives, starting with a GE P42DC, which is Amtrak's primary road diesel. It was introduced in 1996 and can travel up to 110 mph.

Amtrak #159Amtrak #159Amtrak locomotive #159 arriving at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Amtrak #159 is a GE P42DC, which is Amtrak's primary road diesel. The P42DC was introduced in 1996. It weighs 133.000 short tons (118.750 long tons; 120.656 t) and can travel up to 110 mph. Engine output is 3,550 horsepower.

The P42DC is part of the General Electric Genesis series of passenger locomotives produced by GE Transportation Systems for Amtrak, Metro-North, and Via Rail. There are a few unique things about the Genesis series of locomotives. First, they have a low height, allowing them to travel through low-profile tunnels in the Northeast Corridor. It is the only Amtrak diesel locomotive that meets the clearance or loading gauge requirements on every Amtrak route.

Second, they use a single, monocoque carbody design, thus making the locomotive lighter, more aerodynamic, and more duel efficient than its predecessors. However, this design makes it more costly and time-consuming to maintain and repair.

Finally, it is also a fully computerized locomotive that automatically controls all onboard functions, thus producing high reliability while keeping the maintenance requirements low.

GE Genesis, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=GE_Genesis&oldid=722660946 (last visited June 2, 2016).

The P42DC features an extra low height, allowing it to travel through low-profile tunnels in the Northeast Corridor. It also features a single, monocoque carboy design, which makes the locomotive lighter, more aerodynamic, and more fuel efficient than previous Amtrak diesel locomotives. However, this design makes it more costly and time-consuming to maintain and repair.

Below is a Siemens ACS–64 (also known as the "Amtrak Cities Sprinter"). The ACS–64 is an electric locomotive operated by Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor. The first Amtrak ACS–64 entered service in February of 2014. It can accelerate 18 Amfleet cars to maximum speeds as high as 125 mph in the Northeast Corridor in a little more than 8 minutes.

Amtrak #626 at Union StationAmtrak #626 at Union StationAmtrak locomotive #626 at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Amtrak #626 is a Siemens ACS–64 (also known as the "Amtrak Cities Sprinter"). The ACS–64 is an electric locomotive operated by Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor.

The first Amtrak ACS–64 entered service in February of 2014. It can accelerate 18 Amfleet cars to maximum speeds as high as 125 mph in the Northeast Corridor in a little more than 8 minutes.

The design is based on the EuroSprinter and the Vectron platforms, which Siemens sells in Europe and Asia. Significant structural changes to the design were made to comply with American crashworthiness requirements, including the addition of crumple zones and anti-climbing features as well as structural strengthening of the cab, resulting in a heavier locomotive than the previous models. The body is a monocoque structure with integral frames and sidewalls.

The ACS–64 has advanced safety systems, including specialized couplers designed to keep trains from rolling over, jackknifing, or derailing during a collision. Additionally, they are more energy-efficient than the older models Amtrak operated in the Northeast Corridor. They lack dynamic braking grids in favor of 100% regenerative braking, depending on grid receptiveness. Energy generated from the brake may also be utilized to meet HEP needs, further reducing current draw from the grid.

Siemens ACS-64, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Siemens_ACS-64&oldid=722367613 (last visited June 2, 2016).

The design of the ACS–64 is based on various platforms that Siemens sells in Europe and Asia and has significant structural changes to the design to comply with American crashworthiness requirements. The body is also a monocoque structure with integral frames and sidewalls. The ACS–64 has advanced safety systems and is more energy-efficient than the older Amtrak locomotives.

Amtrak #2001Amtrak #2001Amtrak trainset #2001 arrives at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Trainset #2001 is a Bombardier Acela Express (usually referred to simply as "Acela"). Acela is Amtrak's flagship and high-speed rail service along the Northeast Corridor. Acela trains are the fastest trainsets in the Americas; the highest speed they attain is 150 mph (240 km/h) in revenue service. Acela trains use tilting technology, which helps control lateral centrifugal forces, allowing the train to travel at higher speeds on the sharply curved Northeast Corridor without disturbing passengers.

The first Acela trainset entered service on December 11, 2000.

Acela Express, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Acela_Express&oldid=722885592 (last visited June 2, 2016).

In the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak also operates Acela Express trainsets. (The term "trainset" refers to a group of rolling stock that are permanently or semi-permanently coupled.) Acela is Amtrak's flagship and high-speed rail service along the Northeast Corridor. Acela trainsets can attain speeds as high as 150 mph, making them the fastest trainsets in the Americas. Acela trainsets use tilting technology, which helps control lateral centrifugal forces, allowing the them to travel at higher speeds on the sharply curved Northeast Corridor without disturbing passengers.

Amtrak #597Amtrak #597Amtrak #597 operating at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Amtrak #597 is a National Railway Equipment 2GS12BR diesel genset switcher. A switcher is a locomotive used for assembling trains and moving railroad cars around. A diesel genset is a diesel locomotie that uses multiple high-speed diesel engines and generators, rather than a single medium-speed diesel engine and a single generator.

Amtrak has some additional locomotives in service that are a bit less glamorous than the Acela trainsets. These locomotives are "switchers." A switcher is a locomotive used for assembling trains and moving railroad cars around. They aren't generally used for pulling cars between destinations. Above is a National Railway Equipment 2GS12BR diesel genset switcher.

So, I had some fun shooting these trains and I learned a lot more about Amtrak than I ever knew before. My son is also very happy with the photos, which is the most important thing.


Comments

2.Anna Zwirn(non-registered)
I think my 5-year-od grandson would be impressed with all of these trains. He LOVES trains! Thanks for the info.
1.Sandra Baggaley(non-registered)
So impressive, and loving!!
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