GE Technology Supports High Speed Passenger Rail Initiatives in the United States
Washington, D.C. -– As part of a four-day GE Works event with discussions centered around manufacturing, innovation and jobs, GE Transportation announced an important milestone in high speed rail development in the U.S. GE Transportation, along with Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), announced that they have received approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to operate Amtrak trains at 110 mph on 97 miles of Amtrak-owned line between Kalamazoo, MI and Porter, IN. The new service will reduce the travel time on Amtrak’s owned section of track on the Wolverine and Blue Water service by approximately 20 minutes.
Following the successful installation and testing of GE’s Positive Train Control Safety System, Amtrak and MDOT, FRA and GE Transportation will inaugurate the higher speed rail service on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 with government leaders, Amtrak executives, MDOT officials and members of the media from Chicago and Michigan. The group will take a passenger train achieving speeds of 110 mph from Chicago, IL to Kalamazoo, MI, and back.
“This is the first expansion of regional high speed rail outside the Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor,” said President and CEO Joseph Boardman when Amtrak announced the FRA decision. “With our partners in Michigan, we will extend this 110 mph service from Kalamazoo to the state’s central and eastern regions in the coming years.”
Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation are partnering with GE Transportation to use the company’s Incremental Train Control System technology for similar plans on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor where federal regulations also require the high speed rail train control safety technology.
Lorenzo Simonelli, President and CEO of GE Transportation, said: “GE Transportation has had a long partnership with Amtrak, and we are proud of the accomplishments we’ve had with this project and have finally achieved the approvals for 110 mph service. We look forward to deploying this technology further to ensure safe, reliable high speed service. GE Transportation is committed to providing the latest technology and products to high speed rail programs worldwide as an essential part of sustainable infrastructure growth for many years to come.”
A full-featured, vital positive train control system, ITCS increases the speed of all trains on the network. ITCS continually monitors the condition of signals, switches and crossings, and ensures that train operation is safe at any speed.
The Amtrak 110 mph expansion service in western Michigan was a project that GE Transportation together with Amtrak, MDOT and FRA implemented beginning in 1995, and after successfully reaching milestones of 90 mph in 2002 and 95 mph in 2005 is now complete and successfully operating at 110 mph. Amtrak will operate eight daily passenger trains at 110 mph; three Norfolk Southern freight trains also operate through this section of track under ITCS control.
ITCS has been deployed on thousands of miles of railroad around the world. It operates as both an overlay and as a standalone signal system in Asia and Australia, as well as being the high speed rail Positive Train Control solution in Michigan and Illinois. GE is currently deploying ITCS as a train control solution in California to help Amtrak achieve interoperability in the coming years.
GE Transportation is on the forefront building the next generation, higher-speed passenger locomotive. GE and MotivePower, Inc. (MPI) signed a contract in Aug. 2010 with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to supply 20 passenger locomotives to be delivered in 2012-2013. The locomotives will be equipped with EPA Tier 3-compliant emissions technology and will be manufactured in Boise, Idaho with the locomotive engine kits being supplied by GE Transportation.
The combination of MPI’s leading integration expertise and GE’s fuel savings, emissions reduction and AC traction technologies is poised to deliver the most reliable and efficient passenger locomotive to date.
GE works to move the country forward in higher speed passenger rail service with innovated ITCS train control systems and the most technological advanced passenger locomotives in North America. The continued growth in high speed passenger rail service will provide sustainable well-paying manufacturing and technology jobs in the United States.
About GE Transportation
GE Transportation, a unit of GE (NYSE: GE), solves the world’s toughest transportation challenges. GE Transportation builds equipment that moves the rail, mining and marine industries. Our fuel-efficient and lower-emissions freight and passenger locomotives, diesel engines for rail, marine and stationary power applications, signaling and software solutions, drive systems for mining trucks, and value added services help customers grow. GE Transportation is headquartered in Erie, Pa., and employs approximately 12,000 employees worldwide.