In the early 1990s, Amtrak explored the development of modern high-speed trains and leased two European electric trainsets for testing and revenue service on the Northeast Corridor between Washington and New Haven. In 1992-1993 two trainsets were leased—the Swedish-built X2000 and the German Intercity Express (ICE) built by Siemens. These two trains were chosen because both could travel at higher speeds than conventional trains on existing main line track, unlike other contemporary French and Japanese high-speed trains that required new, dedicated tracks. Besides testing on the Northeast Corridor, they were also displayed in cities across the country.
On August 17, 1993, the German Intercity Express (ICE) train was headed to Milwaukee for display, having just passed KK Bridge and under the Milwaukee Road-era cantilever signal bridge while heading northbound on “Wash 4”. While touring areas away from the electrified NEC, the European high-speed electric trainset received motive power assistance from Amtrak’s pair of unique EMD F69PHAC units Nos. 450 and 451.
These two locomotives were the first all-new A.C. traction locomotives in North America. They were experimental locomotives in a carbody similar to a F40PH, but with a built-out windshield sloping back from the nose, and were outfitted with Siemens A.C. traction equipment (providing a nice tie in to the ICE tour), along with a 12-cylinder 710G engine. After evaluation at Pueblo’s test track, they put on thousands of miles in passenger service, providing EMD with plenty of test data and real road experience using A.C. traction. Having served their purpose as testbeds, the pair returned to EMD, and other than this brief outing with Amtrak’s ICE train, the pair finally succumbed to languishing unused at NRE after 1999.