Employees at Cummins Seymour Engine Plant will soon find themselves busier on the heels of the company’s announcement Friday of a deal to make 75 locomotive engines for Siemens Mobility’s Charger locomotives.
The Charger locomotives, equipped with Cummins’ QSK95 engine, will be purchased by Amtrak to help deliver clean, efficient power for its passenger trains.
The QSK95 is the largest diesel engine Cummins makes at its Seymour plant, which employed more than 900 this past year.
Besides the rail market, the 16-cylinder engine — rated between 4,000 and 4,400 horsepower — is operating in marine and power generation markets. Production of the first QSK95 diesel engines, also known as the Hedgehog, began in Seymour in the summer of 2014.
Amtrak announced the purchase of locomotives from Siemens on Dec. 21, 2018, for delivery to begin in 2021, according to a news release from Cummins. Overall, Siemens’ contracts for 2018 involving the Charger, including the Amtrak purchase, exceed $1.5 billion.
The QSK95 engine system has played a key role in the Charger locomotive success from the beginning when Siemens first received a round of orders for 81 locomotives in 2014 for passenger rail systems in 10 states, including Indiana, according to Cummins.
There are currently 70 of the locomotives in revenue operation, and as of Jan. 8, they had traveled more than 5 million service miles.
Amtrak plans to use the newly purchased Charger locomotives to power trains that crisscross the United States, including those on some of its most iconic routes, including the Cardinal, which runs from Washington, D.C., to Chicago and passes through central and northern Indiana; the California Zephyr; the Capitol Limited; the City of New Orleans; and the Crescent.
The Charger locomotives equipped with QSK95 diesel engine systems will be replacing locomotives that date to the 1990s.
The Charger was the first high-speed passenger locomotive to enter service meeting the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 4 million standards in North America.
The move is expected to more than double the number of Charger locomotives in revenue service for Cummins. The contract also includes multiyear parts, service and support agreements in addition to buy options for future purchases.
While the value to Cummins was not released, the contract will result in the single-largest North American rail engine system purchased with aftermarket agreements in Cummins’ history, according to the news release.
“Cummins is proud to be a part of this tremendous locomotive, which is not just demonstrating every day it can move people dependably and efficiently but also delivering significant reductions in particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide,” said Regina Barringer, general manager of Global Rail and Defense at Cummins. “Siemens Mobility has built a tremendous product that is making a positive impact through all of North America, and we’re glad to be part that.”