Amtrak Cascades’ New Locomotives Make Seattle Debut
OLYMPIA – The first of the new Amtrak Cascades locomotives are in Seattle and ready for their debut as the new fleet prepares to go into service this summer.
The public is invited to get a sneak peek at one of these new machines Sunday, May 21, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Seattle’s King Street Station. The Siemens Charger locomotive on display will be stationary, allowing participants to see the exterior design close-up, as well as take photos and leave with a commemorative souvenir. Interior tours aren’t possible due to safety constraints, but displays will be available detailing these state-of-the-art machines.
The event will occur on a newly built platform at King Street Station that is part of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s upgrades to the track and signal systems at this busy station. Participants also can learn about other planned improvements to Amtrak Cascades service starting this fall.
The unveiling is planned before Sunday’s Seattle Mariners first pitch, giving families a chance to see the new train before taking in the game at nearby Safeco Field.
New locomotive unveiling
11 a.m., Sunday, May 21
King Street Station, 303 S. Jackson St, Seattle
Roger Millar, Secretary of Transportation;
Ron Pate, Director WSDOT Rail, Freight, and Ports Division;
Steve Morrison, Director, Business Development, Siemens Rail Systems
WSDOT purchased eight of the Siemens Charger locomotives for $59 million as part of a larger $800 million federal grant to improve passenger rail service. The locomotives will be used along the Amtrak Cascades corridor from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Eugene, Oregon. Amtrak Cascades is jointly administrated by WSDOT and the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Once complete, the Cascades High-Speed Capital Rail projects will add two more daily roundtrips between Seattle and Portland, reduce travel time between the cities and increase on-time reliability.
The locomotives were built in America at the Siemens facility in California and are powered by 16-cylinder, 4,400 horsepower Cummins engines. The new locomotives meet the strictest Environmental Protection Agency emission rates and also have on-board positive train control safety features, higher acceleration rates and top speeds, and greater reliability than current locomotives.