December 14, 2020

MTA selects Siemens to build new Dual Mode locomotives

The Long Island Railroad Today has reported that: "This week, Metro-North is seeking MTA Board approval to award a $335 million contract to Siemens Mobility for the design and manufacture of 27 new dual mode locomotives, the first in a new line of engines on a contract that includes options for up to 144 additional locomotives. Much like the P32AC-DM was a direct successor of the P40DC/P42DC locomotives mass produced for Amtrak's use nationwide, Metro-North's new dual mode (if awarded) would also be a direct successor to the ongoing Siemens Charger program, which has been in production since 2016.

"As part of the RFP process, Siemens did not bid the base specifications, instead their proposal included only an alternative design "based on [Siemens'] standard Charger locomotive platform already in operation and customized to meet what [Siemens] believed to be Metro-North's crucial technical requirements". Metro-North spent 18 months negotiating with Siemens and reviewing the alternative design to come up with the ultimate specifications and the contract terms for the order. Included in the original phase 1 RFP were several design options that could be included as part of the final contract, including:

  • A diesel and DC third rail dual mode with a top speed of 110 mi/hr or 125 mi/hr (instead of 90 mi/hr)
  • A diesel and AC overhead wire locomotive with a top speed of 110 mi/hr or 125 mi/hr (similar to NJTransit's ALP-45DP locomotives)
  • A DC third rail and AC overhead wire motor (no diesel) that can run on 25 c/s 12.5 kV, 60 c/s 12.5 kV, and 60 c/s 25kV overhead wire

"The staff summary again does not detail the specifics of what the options would be, only that the locomotives for the LIRR, ConnDOT, and NYS DOT would be "in an alternate configuration". The alterations for LIRR could be as simple as installing different cab signaling equipment or something more substantial... NYS DOT would likely be taking advantage of the first design option for a higher-speed locomotive, as the upper portions of the Empire Corridor to Albany can currently support train speeds of up to 110 mi/hr. The other two options are unlikely to be used in this contract. The diesel/AC overhead wire design option was likely included as a placeholder or feeler for Amtrak in case they wanted to convert off-corridor NEC trains to all dual mode."