State and local officials toured one of 14 new Chargers that will begin powering Surfliner services from autumn.

The four-axle 3.2 MW Charger is the first diesel-electric passenger locomotive to receive Tier IV emissions certification from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The locomotives were funded by Caltrans with approximately $US 100m in state, federal and local funds, and will replace Amtrak-owned EMD F59PHI units, which are nearly 20 years old.

“These locomotives were proudly produced by the 1300 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,” says president of Siemens Rolling Stock in the United States, Mr Michael Cahill. “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.”

“I’m excited for these new locomotives, which will provide safe, clean and reliable passenger rail service in Southern California,” says Caltrans director, Ms Laurie Berman. “I’m very proud of partnerships like this - working together helps Caltrans do more for the mobility of Californians.”

“The Charger locomotives are almost 90% cleaner than the locomotives they will be replacing, and their 3.2 MW engines are more powerful and reliable too,” says Mr Bryan MacDonald, chairman of Lossan Agency chairman, 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.”