LTK assisted Amtrak in the design, development and commissioning of the Acela High Speed Train sets and HHP locomotives between 1993 and 2002. This project also included the North End Electrification Project, a major design and construction effort with new 25 kV, 60 Hz catenary between New Haven, CT and Boston, MA.
LTK served as the lead engineering firm for this project from start to finish with tasks of specification writing, evaluation of product offerings, design reviews, vehicle testing at TTCI in Pueblo, CO and on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) between Washington, DC and Boston.
LTK participated in every aspect of the design including propulsion, auxiliary power, HVAC, the dynamic tilting system, friction brakes, lighting, on-board diagnostics, the nine-aspect cab signal package, the Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES) and communications.
These vehicles are equipped with GTO inverter drives and regenerative braking to return the kinetic energy of the train back to the traction power system, where it can be used by other trains or returned to the utility grid. The “front end” has four quadrant PWM rectifiers to maintain near unity power factor under all modes of operation. Between Washington and the Hell Gate Bridge in Queens, NY, the NEC catenary supply is 11.5 kV, 25 Hz. The power is supplied by rotary converters, solid state converters and two waterwheel generators. This territory is highly receptive to regenerated power because of the density of electric train traffic and traction power system operation that normally does not open section breaks between Washington and the Hell Gate Bridge.
Between New Haven and Boston, the 25 kV, 60 Hz catenary is supplied by transformers from several utility companies and is capable of accepting regenerated power from the vehicles and supplying it back into the power grid. This section is also very receptive to regenerated power. The section between New Rochelle, NY and New Haven is owned and operated by Metro-North Railroad and is 12.5 kV, 60 Hz. The substations can accept regenerated power back to the utility grid.
Amtrak owns and operates a short 12.5 kV 60 Hz traction power system between the Hell Gate Phase Break in Queens, NY and Metro-North in New Rochelle.
During the early stages of the project, the electric power utility companies were reluctant to accept the regenerated power and feared poor power quality from the train. LTK worked with Amtrak to demonstrate through a series of tests that the power from the train had lower harmonic content than the existing power grid. The power companies then agreed to accept the regenerated power, yielding significant operating cost reductions.