The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in the US has introduced 14 new locomotives to the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service in collaboration with the Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency.

Scheduled to replace Amtrak’s 20-year old units, these new Siemens-built Charger passenger locomotives will power the trains operating between San Diego, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo.

The initiative is a part of California’s plan to deploy low-emission rail vehicles to ensure environment-friendly services across the state.

The Charger diesel-electric locomotives have already received Tier IV emissions certification from the Environmental Protection Agency.

“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.”

California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) secretary Brian Annis said: “The production and delivery of new locomotives and railcars do more than provide an environmentally friendly way to travel around the state.

“It also directly employs more Californians in well-paid jobs, while indirectly generating more jobs throughout the state’s economy.”

Manufactured at Siemen’s facility in Sacramento, the procurement of these locomotives was financed by Caltrans with $100m in federal, state and local funds.

LOSSAN Agency chairman Bryan MacDonald said: “The Charger locomotives are almost 90% cleaner than the locomotives they will be replacing, and their 4,400hp engines are more powerful and reliable too.

“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.”

The 350km-long Pacific Surfliner service is a passenger train service along the Southern California coast.

Operated by Amtrak, the service offers faster transportation alternative to the passengers reducing traffic congestion along the Interstate 5 and the US 101.