Cummins Inc. diesel engines built in Seymour will power passengers along high-speed trains in Illinois, California and three other states if the project stays on track.
Seymour Engine Plant is close to having a new customer for its QSK95, the 4,000-plus-horsepower behemoth known as the Hedgehog, the largest engine Cummins builds and the catalyst for a $219 million expansion in Seymour.
Spokesman Jon Mills confirmed that the Columbus-based engine maker is working on a contract with Siemens AG to produce 32 Hedgehogs for use in high-speed passenger train locomotives designed to reach 125 mph.
He declined to discuss details of the project until an agreement is completed.
Siemens AG received a $226 million contract to build the diesel locomotives for use in five states that are developing high-speed intercity passenger routes with Amtrak, the federal passenger train service. Federal tax dollars available through 2009 stimulus legislation will finance the purchases.
The engines will be delivered to customers in California, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Washington, according to Siemens. Siemens has built diesel-powered locomotives in Europe but not in the U.S.
Siemens and Cummins, which specializes in diesel engines for trucks and power generators, announced a partnership this past December to collaborate on the production of passenger train locomotives.
Number of QSK95 Hedgehog engines that Cummins Inc. may supply to Siemens AG for high-speed train locomotives
Total contract that Siemens, a German-based conglomerate, has through a multistate bid process overseen by the Illinois Department of Transportation
The bid price offered by Siemens per locomotive
Value of an expansion project at Seymour Engine Plant for accommodating the manufacturing the QSK95
The companies said then that the locomotives will be built and assembled at Siemens’ solar-powered plant in Sacramento, Calif., using Cummins engines made in Seymour as the power unit.
The 95-liter engine is the most powerful high-speed 16-cylinder diesel to be installed in a locomotive, the companies said.
The first QSK95-powered freight locomotive, with Siemens AC traction equipment, is expected to begin commercial service operation in a field test with the Indiana Rail Road Co. in mid-2014 as the first heavy-hauler repower QSK95 installation.
More work possible
The new Siemens deal could prove bigger for Siemens and Cummins.
As the winning bidder, Siemens received the right to supply up to 225 additional locomotives, provided state or federal funding is available, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Siemens proposed an initial price of $7 million per locomotive.
The Illinois Department of Transportation, which handled the multistate bidding package, recommended Siemens as the successful bidder on Dec. 18 and rejected an appeal by Caterpillar Inc., one of two other companies submitting bids for the contract, on Feb. 18, spokesman Guy Tridgell said.
“We expect the contract with Siemens to be wrapped before the end of this month,” Tridgell said. Production is slated to begin in 2015, he added.
Work continues on the $219 million expansion project at Seymour Engine Plant, which is now producing a limited number of QSK95 engines for use as demonstrator models, such as the first two built.
One of those is housed at the plant and the other is on tour across Europe as part of its marketing campaign.
Limited production of the Hedgehog for delivery to customers is expected to start sometime this year with full production expected by summer 2015.
Once full production starts, the project is expected to have resulted in 290 new workers, mostly higher-paying engineers, at the Seymour facility.
More office workers also are expected to result from the Hedgehog project.
Expansion at the plant has remained a top priority for Cummins despite an overall slowdown in its business.
Cummins expects to start work on an office expansion at Seymour Engine Plant this year.
The office expansion will extend north toward Fourth Street, eating into much of the factory’s parking lot. Cummins plans to expand its parking on the north side of Fourth Street on property that is now vacant.
Those properties are in the process of being rezoned, according to city records.
A development plan for the office expansion should be filed soon with the Seymour Plan Commission, Building Commissioner Jeremy Gray said Tuesday.
Cummins employed 536 workers at its Seymour Engine Plant as of this past Dec. 13, up from 495 reported in January 2013, according to Jackson County Industrial Development Corp.