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Siemens Charger Locomotive Unveiling at Los Angeles Union Station October 1, 2018

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner
Siemens Charger Locomotive Unveiling
Los Angeles Union Station, California
October 1, 2018

Photos and report by Carl Morrison,




Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, Caltrans Introduce New, Cleaner Locomotives at Los Angeles Union Station

More reliable, greener Siemens Charger locomotives will power passenger trains along southern California coast between San Diego, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- With a blast of the locomotive's horn and a shower of biodegradable confetti, the Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) introduced new, cleaner locomotives to the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service today at Los Angeles Union Station.

State and local officials in attendance had an opportunity to step aboard one of 14 new Charger locomotives that will begin operating starting this fall. The Charger locomotives, manufactured by Siemens, will power the next generation of Pacific Surfliner trains between San Diego, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo.

"The production and delivery of new locomotives and railcars does more than provide an environmentally-friendly way to travel around the state," said Brian Annis, Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA). "It also directly employs more Californians in well-paid jobs, while indirectly generating more jobs throughout the state's economy."

The Charger is the first passenger locomotive to receive the stringent Tier IV emissions certification from the Environmental Protection Agency, making the Charger one of the cleanest diesel-electric passenger locomotives currently in operation. California is leading the charge and is at the forefront of low-emission rail vehicles.

"These locomotives were proudly produced by the 1,300 Siemens employees who work in our solar-powered plant in Sacramento, California, one of the most well-established, comprehensive manufacturing facilities of its kind in the country," said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rolling Stock in the U.S.  "Siemens is grateful for the opportunity to work with Caltrans and is proud to be a part of their efforts to provide clean and efficient transportation for the state of California."

The 14 locomotives were funded by Caltrans with approximately $100 million in state, federal and local funds, and will replace Amtrak-owned locomotives which are nearly 20 years old.

"I'm excited for these new locomotives, which will provide safe, clean and reliable passenger rail service in Southern California," said Caltrans Director Laurie Berman. "I'm very proud of partnerships like this – working together helps Caltrans do more for the mobility of Californians."

With 24 daily trains providing service along the Southern California coast, the Pacific Surfliner offers an attractive and environmentally-friendly transportation alternative that helps relieve congestion on adjacent freeways like Interstate 5 and U.S. 101.

"The Charger locomotives are almost 90 percent cleaner than the locomotives they will be replacing, and their 4,400 horsepower engines are more powerful and reliable too," said Bryan MacDonald, chairman of the LOSSAN Agency, which oversees the Pacific Surfliner service. "These locomotives will allow us to expand Pacific Surfliner service to meet growing ridership demand while also significantly reducing emissions in the communities we serve."

About the Pacific Surfliner

The Pacific Surfliner travels along a 351-mile coastal rail route through San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, serving 27 stations. It is the busiest state-supported intercity passenger rail route in the United States with 24 daily trains and annual ridership of nearly 3 million. To learn more and plan a trip, visit, like Pacific Surfliner on Facebook, or @PacSurfliners on Twitter.

About the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency

The Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency is a joint powers authority composed of rail owners, operators and planning agencies along the entire LOSSAN rail corridor. In addition to working to improve passenger rail ridership, revenue, on-time performance, operational flexibility, and safety, the LOSSAN Agency assumed management responsibility for the Pacific Surfliner service in July 2015, following the execution of an interagency transfer agreement with the state of California. For more information, visit

About Caltrans

Caltrans manages more than 50,000 miles of California's highway and freeway lanes, provides inter-city rail services, permits more than 400 public-use airports and special-use hospital heliports, and works with local agencies. Caltrans carries out its mission of providing a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability.

Media Contact:   Tori Elder, The ACE Agency,

SOURCE Amtrak Pacific Surfliner
--Press Release From:  

Fact Sheets from Siemens about the Charger

From the Press Kit by Media Contact Tori Elder, The ACE Agency and Michael Litschi, LOSSAN Agency

(Double-Click any fact sheet for a double-size copy; Click BACK in your browser to return to this page.)







The event started in a tent with seating and refreahments adjacent to the Charger.



Jennifer L. Bergener, Managing Director - Los Angeles - San Diego - San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency (LOSSAN)


Brian C. Annis, Secretary, California State Transportation Agency


Armin Kick, Vice President, Locomotives and High-Speed Trainsets, Siemens


Tony Kranz, Board Member, Los Angeles - San Diego - San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency (LOSSAN)


Speakers Photo


Countdown to the locomotive's bell and a shower of confetti.


Michael Litschi, LOSSAN Agency, prepares to come in with a cutter.


Official ribbon cutting.


Siemens' Representatives:  L to R Christoph Grimm, Paul Aichholzer, Armin Kick, technicians.


Half of the audience


Catered by Joan's On Third

Locomotive Tours 11 - 12:30

(Images with a narrow blue border can be clicked for a larger image;  click BACK in your browser to return to this page.)


Charger Locomotive includes crash management components including reinforced locomotive cab and push-back couplers.
14 new Chargers to be put into service on the Pacific Surfliner.


Crash energy management components including reinforced locomotive cab and push-back couplers.



Christoph Grimm, Deputy Project Manager, Siemens Mobility Division, gave me a personal tour of the Charger.


The left position has a screen that duplicates the operator's screen on the right.





Christoph Grimm, Deputy Project Manager, Siemens Mobility Division


4,400 hp Cummins diesel engine, made in Seymour, Indiana, (eight miles from my birthplace).  It can power longer trains to support future ridership demand.  16-cylinder meaning less maintenance than 20-cylinder EMDs.  Modular construction (note top panels) so modules can be taken out, replaced and repaired with less down time.  Capable of top speed of 125 mph - current top speed on the Pacific Surfliner route is 90 mph.  First locomotive to receive Tier 4 emissions certificate from EPA, among cleanest locomotives in nation.  90% emmisions reduction compared to current Pacific Surfliner locomotives.  16% more fuel efficient than current locomotives.  Facts confirmed by Paul Aichholzer, Director Locomotives Projects


Yours truly, Carl Morrison



In the back of the Charger are two orange boxes (not pictured) which are the first to be recovered after a crash, similar to black boxes on an commercial aircraft.


"X marks the spot" This is how I tell a Charger from an EMD, from the outside I look for the X of the Charger.

Current Pacific Surfliner equipment on display



I guess they will need a new banner with a Charger like this one taken on a bridge near the Del Mar Fairgrounds.


Surfliner Business Class Car


Lower level of the Business Class Car


Upstairs in the Business Class car, with free schedules which my station, FUL, doesn't hand out any more.


Attendants area for preparing amenities of Business Class.


Only one of the two doors on a Surfliner car will have the handicapped blue sign on the door.


One of the two doors on a Surfliner car will have this ramp for wheelchairs and scooters.  Look for the handicapped blue sign on the door that has it.


I had the attendant get the ramp out and take this photo to show how it works.  However, at a platform, the angle is not as severe.  The ramp is only put out when needed.  In my case, I just lift my scooter from the platform into the car. 


Once onboard the Surfliner car, nearby will be a missing seat where the scooter, or a wheelchair, can fit perfectly.




Hard to believe we have seen these F59s on the Surfliners since 1998!  They are being replaced by the new Chargers which were unveiled today.




I asked Michael Litschi <> how many Chargers will eventually be delivered and what the fate of the existing F59 locomotives would be.

There are currently 7 Charger locomotives in Los Angeles, and we expect another 7 to arrive before the end of the year, for a total of 14.

Each Charger locomotive will have a “burn-in” period during which it will operate as the second unit behind another locomotive.  The burn-in testing is expected to begin this month.

The existing Amtrak-owned F59 locomotives in the 400 series will be returned to Amtrak for use on other routes.  Earlier this year, Metra in Chicago announced that it is working with Amtrak to purchase up to 21 Amtrak-owned F59 locomotives.

Thank you Michael for the quick and complete response.

Los Angeles Union Station is a favorite place to view trains that service the area. The best way to view the 14 tracks of activity is to take a train to Union Station and when you arrive, instead of hurrying into the station, walk to the south end of the stub-in tracks and look west toward the station and east toward the Metro building to see the locomotives. Your ticket is your permission to be on the platform.


A new Metrolink No. 912 by EMD happened to be on a nearby track.



New EMD next to a 17-yr-old Genesis Amtrak Long Distance Train.


Metro light rail will be the nearest tracks to the station.


Amtrak Veterans Commemorative Unit NPCU 90208 Pacific Surfliner


The historic station itself provides many opportunities for photos.


Directly opposite of this Ticket Entrance, two night later, was an exclusive previw of the new Imperial Western Beer Co. and The Streamliner put on by the Los Angeles Conservancy from 6 to 9 p.m.



Amtrak Pacific Surfliner:

The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner travels along a 351-mile coastal rail route through San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

If the video above does not work, Click the link below for a video of the route:

Surfliner Facebook Page, with photos from the same unveiling plus earlier photos and reports:

A different nose configeration of the Charger can be seen on the Brightline in Florida:

Photo Credit: Jack Turner

By Jack M. Turner

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