[US] San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission orders Charger locomotives

The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC) has awarded Siemens a contract to build four diesel-electric Charger locomotives with an option to purchase four more.  The locomotives will service the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE), a growing commuter rail service that currently runs four daily round trips from Stockton to San Jose, with future planned extensions to Ceres, Modesto and Sacramento.  Delivery of the vehicles will begin December 2019.

“Our service is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and we are proud of the important part that this line has played in developing a strong, sustainable link between Stockton and the greater Bay Area,” said Steve Dresser, Chair, SJRRC Board of Directors.  “With this announcement, we will be taking even more cars off the road, and providing a quieter, smoother ride for our growing number of passengers.”

Starting with just two daily round trips in 1998, the ACE is now carrying 1.3 million passengers annually. The new locomotives will be able to pull 10-car trains, a 43% increase from the current capacity of 7 cars. Using the QSK95 Cummins engine, they will also provide a 16% improvement in fuel efficiency over the existing SJRRC locomotives. Importantly, comparing the fuel consumption of a fully-seated ACE commuter train to 2-person car travel, travelling by train results in a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Funding for the locomotives is funded in part by grants through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, and the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program.

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These locomotives will be built at Siemens’ Sacramento rail manufacturing plant.