The North County Transit District has ordered two additional diesel-electric Siemens Charger locomotives, it announced Monday, which will complete the transit agency’s effort to convert its Coaster locomotive fleet to lower-emission vehicles when they go into service.
A total of nine reduced-emission locomotives will make up NCTD’s fleet, which will allow it to nearly double the frequency of the Coaster service. That service runs 41 miles between the Oceanside Transit Center and the Santa Fe Depot in Downtown San Diego with eight total stops. The Coaster currently runs 11 times a day, Monday through Friday.
“Submitting our final order for two additional locomotives cements our commitment to enhancing our Coaster riders’ experience,” said Tony Kranz, NCTD board chair and Encinitas councilman. “In addition to increasing service frequencies, these new locomotives will provide a smoother and more reliable passenger experience, will significantly reduce diesel emissions and improve air quality and reduce noise pollution for residents and riders.”
In 2018, NCTD initially ordered five Siemens Charger locomotives to replace aging vehicles. The first order of locomotives was delivered and is in the testing and commissioning phase. In 2019, NCTD’s Board of Directors approved the purchase of two additional Siemens Charger locomotives and two new trainsets — with each trainset including a locomotive as well as four bilevel coach cars and a bilevel cab car from another manufacturer.
According to NCTD, the new locomotives will provide an estimated 90% reduction in emissions compared to previous engines. They are Tier-4 certified by the EPA, and were recently emissions-verified by California Air Resources Board standards.
“We are grateful to NCTD for their continued confidence in Siemens’ technology,” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Mobility Rolling Stock in North America. “These two additional locomotives represent an important milestone for us, bringing the total number of locomotives Siemens Mobility has sold in North America to 300.”
“We are proud to be able to manufacture these locomotives by Californians for California. Producing these locomotives at our solar powered Sacramento factory further improves the strong environmental footprint of NCTD’s service,” he said.
NCTD was able to purchase the locomotives as part of a multi-state procurement with the California and Illinois departments of transportation. According to an NCTD statement, this joint agreement lowers procurement costs.
Siemens provides the light rail vehicles for San Diego and has provided locomotives for Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains on the LOSSAN Corridor between San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
–City News Service
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