By M.T. Burkhart
NJ Transit will purchase additional dual-mode locomotives, allowing the commuter railroad to retire some older diesel locomotives from its fleet.
Earlier this week the board of directors agreed to buy eight additional Bombardier ALP-45A dual-powered locomotives for $70.5 million. This is in addition to 17 that were approved in late 2017, bringing the total number of ALP-45A locomotives approved over the past few years to 25. They will join a fleet of 35 ALP-45DP dual modes (numbered 4500 to 4534 – including 4519 in a scheme honoring the Erie Lackawanna) that NJ Transit purchased a decade ago.
“These new locomotives are far more environmentally-friendly and will provide additional flexibility to operate on both electrified and non-electrified tracks,” NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett said in a news release. “Additionally, these locomotives will reduce the average age of our fleet, which ultimately results in improved reliability and on-time performance, and reduces service interruptions for customers.”
The ALP-45A locomotives will replace some older PL-42AC series diesel locomotives, the carrier said. Even if overhauled, the PL-42’s EMD 710 diesel engine cannot be upgraded to Tier IV environmental standards. Built by Alstom between 2003 and 2006, NJ Transit has 33 of these locomotives (numbered 4000 to 4032), the only ones built for service in the United States.
With a mix of electrified and non-electrified territory, the benefit of the ALP-45A is the capability to change power modes as well as redundancy by having two engines instead of one. The locomotives are designed to operate push-pull at speeds of up to 125 mph in electric mode and 100 mph in diesel mode.
NJ Transit expects delivery of the first ALP-45A locomotive from this week’s order in early 2022.