America’s aging rail system is woefully out-of-date, but a recent order for 32 of Siemen’s hybrid “Charger” locomotives could bring new life to old railways. With a top speed of 125 MPH, the diesel-hybrid trains are said to be faster, quieter, and all around more efficient. More importantly though, they’re taking America in the right direction.
Though the current “fastest” train in the U.S. is the Amtrak Acela, which tops out at 150 MPH, an old railway system limits it to speeds of, at most, 85 MPH, and many other train networks can’t even manage that. The $225 million order for 32 of Siemen’s new hybrid locomotives, however, should inject a little modernity into a system approaching 200-years old in some places.
The 32 trains will be heading to five states; California, Illinois, Washington, Michigan, and Missouri…which means America’s busiest rail corridor in the Northeast gets the shaft. Again, The first of these new trains will hit the tracks by 2016, though the hope for a national network of high-speed trains is still decades away.
Maybe if California gets its shit together, I’ll be able to ride an American high-speed train before my 50th birthday (in 22 years…).