In August, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) decided to order eight Charger diesel locomotives from Siemens. The 200 km/h passenger diesels will replace ten type AEM7 and HHP8 electrics, which are used for MARC (Maryland Area Regional Commuter) passenger services. Last week, Maryland's Board of Public Works approved the $58.1 million contract.
The decision to replace the electrics has been made because Amtrak, which provides maintenance to the MARC fleet since 1983, has retired its own HHP8 electrics and will see its AEM7s replaced by Siemens ACS-64 Cities Sprinter electrics. In late 2017 the first Chargers should take over from the older electrics.
MTA will order the Chargers in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation, which closed a framework contract for Charger diesel locomotives with Siemens in 2014. The deal between the Illinois DOT and Siemens consists of firm orders for 32 Chargers and options for another 225 machines. Eight of the 225 options will now be firmed up for MTA.
MTA's decision to buy Charger diesel locomotives is another success for Siemens on the North American market for locomotives. Not only was the Illinois DOT deal good for 32 locomotives (+225 options), also All Aboard Florida decided to add Chargers to its fleet by ordering 10 machines (+10 options). Furthermore, Siemens is currently delivering 70 ACS-64 Cities Sprinter electrics to Amtrak and in June the manufacturer was able to add an order by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) for 13 electrics (+5 options) to be delivered in 2018.