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Purchase agreements announced last month for more than 100 of Siemens’ popular Charger locomotives will keep Cummins employees busy for the next few years. That’s because the locomotives use Cummins’ QSK95 Tier 4 engine systems to help deliver clean, efficient power for passenger trains.

VIA Rail in Canada announced Dec. 12, 2018, it was purchasing 32 trainsets from Siemens Canada including the Charger for delivery beginning in 2021. Then, Amtrak announced Dec. 21, it would be purchasing 75 Charger locomotives also for delivery starting in 2021. All in all, the value of Siemens Mobility contracts for the year involving the Charger exceeded $1.5 billion.

The contracts will more than double the number of Charger locomotives in revenue service, and include multi-year parts, service and support agreements in addition to buy options for future purchases. The most recent contract will result in the single largest North American rail engine system purchase with aftermarket agreements in Cummins’ history. ​

The QSK95 is the largest diesel engine Cummins manufactures, built at the company’s engine plant in Seymour, Indiana (U.S.A.). In addition to the rail market, the 16-cylinder engine, rated at between 4,000 and 4,400-horsepower, is operating in the marine and power generation markets and is available for other industrial applications.

The engine system has played a key role in the Charger’s success from the beginning, when Siemens received its first round of orders in 2014 for 81 locomotives by passenger rail systems in Washington, California, Oregon, Illinois, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana and Maryland (USA). Currently, there are 70 of the locomotives in revenue operation. As of Jan. 8, they had traveled more than 5 million service miles over more than 320,000 hours.

The Charger was the first high-speed passenger locomotive to enter service meeting the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 4 emission standards in North America. It is expected to achieve an approximate 10 percent improvement in CO2, a nearly 90 percent improvement in Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and a more than 95 percent improvement in Particulate Matter (PM) compared to the locomotives it is replacing. Carbon dioxide is a key contributor to greenhouse gases (GHGs) while NOx and PM contribute to smog.​

​Photo: This is a rendering of the Charger locomotive released with the announcement of Amtrak’s purchase of 75.