Siemens Charger

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Siemens Charger
Amtrak Cascades 1401 - Siemens Charger engine at King Street Station, Seattle, WA - 01.jpg
WSDOT SC-44 No. 1401 at King Street Station in Seattle
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderSiemens Mobility
Order numberACE: 4
Amtrak state corridors: 63
Brightline: 10
  • SCB-40
  • SC-44
Build date2016–
 • UICBo′Bo′
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
TrucksSiemens model SF4
Wheel diameter44 in (1,118 mm)
Minimum curve250 ft 0 in (76.20 m)
Wheelbase32 ft 6 in (9.91 m) (between truck centers)
Length71 ft 6 in (21.79 m)
Width10 ft 0 in (3.05 m)
Height12 ft 6 in (3.81 m) (roof)
14 ft 4 in (4.37 m) (roof shroud)
Axle load67,500 lb (30,617 kg)
Adhesive weight100%
Loco weight264,556 lb (120,001 kg)
Fuel typeDiesel
Fuel capacity1,800 US gal (6,800 l; 1,500 imp gal) (Standard)
Larger tanks available up to
2,200 US gal (8,300 l; 1,800 imp gal)
Prime moverCummins QSK95
RPM range600-1800
Engine type45° V16, four stroke cycle
Displacement95 liters (5,800 cu in)[1]
Traction motorsSiemens AC Traction Motors
978 hp (729 kW) each
Cylinder size5.9375 liters (362.33 cu in)
MU workingYes
Train heatingLocomotive-supplied head-end power; 660 kW (890 hp) 3-phase, 60 Hz, 480 VAC
Ratings up to 1,000 kW (1,300 hp) available
Loco brakeDynamic / Regenerative / Electropneumatic
Train brakesElectropneumatic
Safety systemsFRA standards
Performance figures
Maximum speed125 mph (201 km/h)
Power outputSCB-40: 4,000 hp (3,000 kW)
SC-44: 4,400 hp (3,300 kW)
Maximum @ rail: 3,900 hp (2,900 kW)
Tractive effortStarting:
290 kN (65,000 lbf)
275 kN (62,000 lbf)
Factor of adh.4.07 (24.57%)
OperatorsAmtrak, Brightline, MARC
Official nameCharger
Data refers to the following except where noted:[2][3]

The Siemens Charger is a family of diesel-electric passenger locomotive designed and manufactured by Siemens Mobility for the North American market. There are two models: the SCB-40, which is designed for Brightline, and the SC-44. The first production SC-44 unit was unveiled on March 26, 2016. The first SC-44 unit went into Amtrak revenue service on August 24, 2017, followed by the SCB-40 which inaugurated Brightline service on January 13, 2018.


The Charger is powered by a Cummins 16-cylinder QSK95 4-stroke high speed diesel engine, which is designed to meet EPA Tier IV emissions standards that took effect in 2015.[4] Power output varies by model; the SCB-40, designed for Brightline, produces 4,000 hp (3,000 kW),[5][6] while the SC-44 produces 4,400 hp (3,300 kW).[7]

The top speed in service as per PRIIA specifications is 125 mph (201 km/h).[8] The locomotive shares much of its overall design with Siemens' all-electric locomotives Vectron used in Europe and the ACS-64 used by Amtrak and SEPTA. Four Insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) power inverters carry electric current to each of the four AC traction motors. A static inverter off of the main prime mover supplies head-end power (HEP). The locomotive also features dynamic braking with regenerative capability, allowing the locomotive to divert power generated by dynamic braking away from the resistor grids to HEP and on-board locomotive auxiliary power demands.[2]

In response to a 2013 Request for Information from Metro-North Railroad, Siemens said they might produce a dual-mode variant of the Charger with onboard energy storage for use by Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road, as well as intercity service, on Amtrak's Empire Corridor.[9]

Service history[edit]

CalTrans Charger pushing a San Joaquin train Oakland – Jack London Square station in November 2017

Production began with the SC-44. The first production unit was unveiled on March 26, 2016.[10] The first two Charger locomotives to leave Siemens' factory in Florin, California were transported to the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado in June 2016[11] and underwent testing of performance metrics such as acceleration and braking.[12] The first Brightline SCB-40 locomotives were delivered in December to undergo testing in Florida ahead of the service's planned launch in mid 2017,[13] while additional locomotives destined for Amtrak service underwent testing for federal certification requirements beginning in February 2017 along the Cascades corridor in the Pacific Northwest.[14] On April 19, the locomotives began testing in Illinois.[15] The locomotive made its first test run across Missouri from St. Louis to Kansas City on April 25, 2017, with the California units beginning the month-long pre-revenue testing on the Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin routes in May.[16]

The first SC-44 entered revenue service on a Hiawatha Service train on August 24, 2017.[17] Chargers entered revenue service in California on the Capitol Corridor in November 2017,[18] and in Cascades service the following month.[19] The first SCB-40 entered service on January 13, 2018, along with the opening of Brightline.

On December 18, 2017, Washington state SC-44 1402 was wrecked while pulling an Amtrak Cascades train on the first day of revenue service using Point Defiance Bypass, when the train derailed on a tight curve while approaching the Interstate 5 overpass.[20]


Amtrak (state corridors)[edit]

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), in conjunction with its counterparts in California, Michigan, Missouri and Washington, purchased 32 locomotives for corridor service operated by Amtrak in March 2014. Included in this $225 million order were options for an additional 75 corridor-configured locomotives and 150 locomotives configured for long distance service, with the long distance locomotive being fitted with a larger 2,200 US gallons (8,300 l; 1,800 imp gal) fuel tank as opposed to the 1,800 US gallons (6,800 l; 1,500 imp gal) tank on the corridor locomotive.[21][8] California units have an aerodynamic spoiler on the rear roof that matches the height of bi-level California and Surfliner cars.

In 2015, IDOT ordered 12 additional units for use on the upgraded Lincoln Service corridor.[22] California ordered 14 additional units in November 2015, and two more in 2016, for use on the Pacific Surfliner beginning in 2018.[23] Several additional units were later added, for a total of 63 locomotives (32 base order and 39 option order): 22 for California, 8 for Washington state, and 33 for the Midwest states.[24][25]


MARC announced in August 2015 that it was seeking $58 million to purchase eight locomotives to replace their aging electric powered AEM-7 units, with deliveries planned for late 2017.[26] The purchase was approved by the Maryland Board of Public Works on September 16, 2015.[27] The MARC order uses part of the Amtrak state-corridor options.[28] The first MARC Charger was shipped from the Siemens factory in early December 2017, and began testing in mid-January 2018.[29]


Streamlined SCB-40, built for Brightline

Brightline purchased ten SCB-40 locomotives with options for an additional eleven.[30][31] The locomotives will be used in pairs, bookending four passenger cars (expandable to seven) on a new rail system between MiamiCentral and Orlando International Airport Intermodal Terminal. The Brightline locomotives are built with a streamlined front end, concealing the front coupler behind doors, and produce a maximum of 4,000 hp (3,000 kW) instead of the 4,400 hp (3,300 kW) on the SC-44.[32][6]

Altamont Corridor Express[edit]

California regional commuter line Altamont Corridor Express ordered four Charger locomotives in April 2018, with deliveries expected to begin in December 2019.[33]


In June 2018, the North County Transit District Board of Directors approved the purchase of five Chargers for its San Diego-area COASTER commuter rail service. Deliveries are expected to begin in the first half of 2021.[34]

Metro-North Railroad[edit]

In July 2018, Metro-North Rail Commuter Council’s vice chairman announced that the agency is considering purchasing 15 SC-44 locomotives to replace the current fleet of locomotives for the Port Jervis Line.[35]

Northern Lights Express (proposed)[edit]

Chargers are planned (but have not been purchased) for the Northern Lights Express, a proposed higher-speed passenger service in Minnesota.[36]


  1. ^ "QSK95 For U.S. EPA Tier 4/EU Stage IIIB And EPA Tier 3/EU Stage IIIA". Cummins. 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Charger Diesel-Electric Locomotive: All Aboard Florida" (PDF). Siemens Mobility. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 23, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  3. ^ "Charger Diesel-Electric Locomotive: IDOT, Caltrans, WSDOT" (PDF). Siemens Mobility. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 24, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  4. ^ TRAINS Magazine (19 February 2016). "Siemens Charger locomotive receives a Cummins engine" – via YouTube.
  5. ^ Glucksman, Marc (2018). "The Siemens Diesel-Electric Series". Passenger Train Journal. 42 (1): 18–21.
  6. ^ a b C. Vantuono, William (July 5, 2017). "Brightline going biodiesel". Railway Age. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  7. ^ Guss, Chris (July 2016). "SC-44s on the horizon". Trains. 76 (7): 17.
  8. ^ a b "Specification for Diesel-Electric Passenger Locomotives" (PDF). Amtrak. July 10, 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  9. ^ "A.4 Technical Explanation for 110 MPH Sustained Speed". A.4 Technical Explanation for 110 MPH Sustained Speed. Federal Railroad Administration. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  10. ^ "Siemens unveils first complete Charger locomotive". Railway Gazette. 30 March 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  11. ^ "First Siemens Charger locomotives head to TTCI". Railway Age. June 22, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  12. ^ "Charger diesel on test at Pueblo". Railway Gazette. August 11, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  13. ^ "First Brightline trainset delivered". Railway Gazette. December 14, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  14. ^ "New Amtrak Charger locomotives testing on Cascades route". Railway Age. February 15, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  15. ^ "New Siemens Charger Locomotives Begin Testing" (Press release). Illinois Department of Transportation. April 19, 2017.
  16. ^ "Siemens' Charger locomotives begin rolling in California, Illinois". Progressive Railroading. April 26, 2017.
  17. ^ "Siemens Charger solos for first time out of Chicago". Trains. August 24, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  18. ^ "Make Way! New Charger Locomotives Coming Through" (Press release). Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority. November 3, 2017.
  19. ^ "'Charging' up the west". Trains Magazine. December 4, 2017. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  20. ^ "'UPDATE: Amtrak in fatal derailment south of Tacoma'". Railway Age. December 18, 2017. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  21. ^ "Siemens wins an additional locomotive contract in the USA" (PDF) (Press release). Berlin, Germany: Siemens Mobility. March 18, 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  22. ^ "Siemens to deliver 34 locomotives to three states in the U.S." (PDF) (Press release). Siemens Mobility. November 6, 2015.
  23. ^ "Cleaner Locomotive Fleet Powers Up: 22 New Units Ordered for State-Supported Amtrak Corridors" (PDF). The Mile Marker. Caltrans. December 2016. pp. 31–32.
  24. ^ Next Generation Equipment Committee (February 2017). "Multi State Diesel Electric Locomotive Procurement: The Siemens Charger" (PDF). American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. p. 2.
  25. ^ "Siemens rolls out first Cascades Charger locomotive". Railway Gazette. March 8, 2017.
  26. ^ Dresser, Michael (August 8, 2015). "MTA seeks $58 million for new MARC engines". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  27. ^ "Board Of Public Works Approves $58 Million Contract For Eight MARC Locomotives" (Press release). Baltimore, Maryland: Maryland Transit Administration. September 17, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  28. ^ "Marc to replace electric locomotives with diesels". International Rail Journal. August 13, 2015. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  29. ^ "Siemens ships new locomotives for Septa and Marc". International Rail Journal. December 7, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  30. ^ "More Siemens Charger diesel locomotives ordered". Railway Gazette. November 9, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  31. ^ "All Aboard Florida Selects Siemens as Train Manufacturer" (Press release). Sacramento, California: Siemens Mobility. September 11, 2014. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  32. ^ "First look: Rail cars for new Florida passenger train". USA Today. June 10, 2016.
  33. ^ "Altamont Corridor Express orders Charger locomotives". Trains Magazine. April 26, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  34. ^ "NCTD Board Approves Purchase of New Locomotives to Serve San Diego County". North County Transit District. July 9, 2018. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  35. ^ MTA Board - MNR Committee Meeting - 07/23/2018, July 23, 2018, retrieved August 23, 2018
  36. ^ "Northern Lights Express Spring 2018 Newsletter" (PDF). March 2018. Retrieved July 16, 2018.

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