The 200km/h locomotives will be built around the new-generation Cummins QSK95 16-cylinder diesel engine, which uses a Cummins selective catalytic reduction (SCR) after-treatment to meet US EPA Tier 4 emission standards due to come into force in January 2015.

The 2983kW locomotives will be assembled at Siemens Sacramento plant in California.

"Today's announcement acknowledges a new type of diesel-electric offering, one that is built with the passenger in mind," says Mr Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rail Systems USA. "Our goal is to provide high ride-quality with smooth, safe and efficient performance — for both the driver and the passengers — with cost savings for the operators and maintainers."

The first QSK95-powered freight locomotive will be a re-engined EMD SD90, which is due to enter service with Indiana Rail Road in the middle of next year. The locomotive will be equipped with Siemens ac traction equipment and traction control.