Feb. 7. 2014 |

New electric Amtrak locomotivesU.S Vice President Joe Biden visited 30th Street Station in Philadelphia Thursday to unveil Amtrak’s new Cities Sprinter electric engine, which will power trains along the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington beginning Friday.

The locomotives are lighter, safer and more powerful, Biden said. The train’s braking system also generates energy and funnels that energy back into the grid.
Biden stressed that energy efficiency will save Amtrak money. He aimed his remarks about environmental friendliness to students in the crowd.
“It matters to your generation of students, it matters to global warming, it matters to the atmosphere,” he said.

In a portion of the speech heavy on statistics, Biden stressed that a network of reliable modern trains will increase productivity.

While half of all flight delays are in New York City and Philadelphia and 50 percent of bottlenecks occur on the Northeast Corridor, Biden argued that faster and more appealing trains will alleviate this congestion.

Amtrak bought the 70 new engines using a $593 million loan from the Federal Railroad Administration, a figure that includes money for other system enhancements. Built by Siemens in Sacramento, Calif., Amtrak president Joseph Boardman said the locomotives are safer, smoother and more efficient than the current fleet.

The new equipment, which will save $300 million over 20 years in electricity costs, replaces engines that average 25 to 35 years old, Boardman said.


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