I’m a little late to the game here, but let me just say that Amtrak’s just-funded contract for new electric locomotives is supremely expensive:
$560 million for 70 locos, or $8 million each, $466 million for 70 locos, or $6.7 million each (see comment by aw with this link). The locomotives are an FRA-compliant version of Siemens’ EuroSprinter product, which has recently been sold in Europe for €3.7-4 million per unit, as has Bombardier’s competing TRAXX locomotive (in fact, the TRAXX even sold for €3.2 million). Amtrak is paying a premium of about 60-80% 35-50% for these locomotives, depending on exchange rates.
It gets worse. The new locos will enter service in 2013, just two years before the national mandate for positive train control goes in effect, allowing trains to be lighter and avoid the most onerous FRA regulations (in fact, the Northeast Corridor, where most of the locos are to run, already has a PTC system). The special modifications and design are what caused an increase in both weight, from 86-87 metric tons for the standard EuroSprinter to 97 for the Amtrak Cities Sprinter, and cost.
To put things in perspective, Sweden recently bought 180 km/h EMUs for €1.6 million per car. And the 700 Series Shinkansen cost $2.5 million per car. In other words, Amtrak could have gotten 3 EMUs for the price for one locomotive. (Amtrak’s new single-deck coaches cost $2.3 million per car, the same as EMUs abroad.)
The US Department of Transportation is announcing that “Siemens Industry USA is adding 250 new manufacturing jobs in order to design and build 70 new energy-efficient locomotives for Amtrak.” The cost premium works out to about
$200-250 million $100-150 million, or $800,000-1,000,000 $400,000-600,000 per job added; the total cost is $2.2 million $1.9 million per US manufacturing job. Needless to say, most of this money is not going to American manufacturing workers, but to consultants and Siemens’s train designers.