Siemens ALC-42 Locomotive

The Siemens ALC-42 locomotive is a 4,200 horsepower diesel-electric locomotive, designed for Amtrak long-distance and intercity routes. It is one of the many ways Amtrak plans to modernize its equipment in the coming years.

The Siemens ALC-42 locomotive is one of the most revolutionary developments in the modern era of rail transportation. They are environmentally friendly and adhere to the stringent guidelines put forth by the EPA. Let’s talk a little more about the capabilities and advantages of the Siemens ALC-42 locomotive in more detail below.

The Siemens ALC-42: A New Beginning

Already known for its impressive performance on shorter intercity routes, the Siemens Charger is now being introduced on Amtrak’s long-distance routes. This 4,200 horsepower locomotive can reach speeds of up to 125 mph and provides a cleaner, faster, and more fuel-efficient way to travel throughout the country.

amtrak alc-42
Jeff Carlson

The ALC-42 locomotive was first introduced into service in February 2022 and can be seen leading various trains throughout the country. The original order for the ALC-42 was for  75 locomotives, with the option for an additional 50 locomotives. In June 2022, Amtrak exercised the option for 50 additional locomotives, bringing the total order to 125 locomotives.

The ALC-42 locomotives are extremely fuel-efficient and meet the EPA’s tier 4 emissions standards. Similar to the other Charger locomotives, these units are being built at Siemens Mobility’s plant in Sacramento, California, and use part suppliers from throughout the country.

Key characteristics and technological developments

The ALC-42 is one of the most advanced locomotives on the rails today, and introduces a number of different technological developments to the Amtrak system. Some of these include:

  • Electric Drive Technology: When compared to other types of diesel locomotives, the ALC-42 locomotives are equipped with electric drive technology, which lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Regenerative Braking: The Siemens ALC-42 is equipped with regenerative braking, which allows the kinetic energy of the locomotive to be transformed into electrical energy to slow down the locomotive, and it can even be stored for later use. This improvement results in less wear and tear on the braking system, therefore, lowering maintenance costs.
Jonathan Lee
  • Advanced energy management system: The locomotive is also equipped with an advanced energy management system, that optimizes the power distribution and overall fuel consumption. The locomotive regulates the overall flow of energy by using a state-of-the-art real-time monitoring system, making sure that the energy consumption is properly optimized.

The ALC-42’s aerodynamic design also contributes to its efficiency. When designing the locomotive, Siemens was laser-focused on ensuring that the body shape was extremely aerodynamic and that lightweight materials were used to reduce air resistance during operation. This will help improve the performance of the locomotive, and even reduce the wear and tear on railroad infrastructure.

Added advantages and effects on rail transportation

There are quite a few advantage that the ALC-42 has on rail transportation. Let’s take a closer look at this in more detail below.

amtrak long distance
Jonathan Lee

Cost effectiveness

The ALC-42 provides some impressive cost savings for the national passenger carrier. This is mostly due to its energy-efficient design, reduced fuel consumption, therefore, lowering overall operating expenses. Furthermore, these new locomotives are very dependable, and are designed to increase the on-time performance of trains throughout the system.

Improved Performance and Flexibility

The ALC-42 provides performance and flexibility that is needed being the new backbone of the Amtrak diesel-electric fleet. The ALC-42 provides Amtrak with exceptional acceleration and overall performance, even on the system’s steepest grades.

Siemens ALC-42: Technical

The Siemens ALC-42 is powered by a 4,200 horsepower Cummins QSK95 prime mover. These new Chargers provide more fuel capacity to handle Amtrak’s long-distance routes, with a fuel capacity of up to 2,200 gallons. They use Siemens’s 3-phase AC induction motors, which provide 978 horsepower each. The ALC-42 has a top speed of 125 mph.


The Siemens ALC-42 is a prime example of how sustainable rail transportation has the potential to completely transform how we transport people and things. This impressive locomotive sets new standards for effectiveness and eco-friendliness with its impressive drive and performance, regenerative braking, sophisticated energy management, and focus on environmental sustainability. The Siemens ALC-42 provides us with a step forward towards a greener, more sustainable future for rail transportation.


Lifelong Rail Enthusiast and Owner of Worldwide Rails

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