Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger service in the United States, announced this week that they are investing $7.3 billion into a new fleet of state-of-the-art trains to modernize its aging fleet and attract more travelers.
Amtrak Is Investing In New Fleet Of Modern Train
Amtrak will be contracting California-based Siemens Mobility Inc. to manufacture a new fleet of up to 83 multi-powered modern trains with further options for up to 130 additional trains to support Amtrak’s growth plans.
“These new trains will reshape the future of rail travel by replacing our aging 40-to-50-year old fleet with state-of-the-art, American-made equipment,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn.
“This investment is essential to preserving and growing our Northeast Regional and state-supported services and will allow our customers to travel comfortably and safely while deeply reducing criteria pollutants.”
The trains will be manufactured at Siemens Mobility’s rail manufacturing facility in Sacramento, which is welcome news for the California economy.
“California’s innovation economy is coming roaring back, and this $7.3 billion contract – one of the biggest of its kind – represents good-paying jobs and further proves that California is a great place to do business,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Trains Will Be Equipped With Modern Amenities
The new fleet will offer modern rail amenities that better serve Amtrak customers.
They will feature more comfortable seating, individual power outlets and USB ports, onboard Wi-Fi, enhanced lighting and panoramic windows, and larger vestibules.
The trains will also have a more contemporary food service experience, including self-service options, state-of-the-art customer trip information, a digital seat reservation system, and navigation display systems.
Trains Will Be More Eco-friendly
A portion of the fleet used for New York’s Empire Service will use multi-power systems including Amtrak’s first hybrid battery operation to cut back on air pollution. As a result, these trains will provide a substantial environmental benefit through reduced criteria pollutants compared to the existing fleet.
“These new trains, some of which will be our first hybrid battery operations in the United States, will transform the way Americans travel,” stated Michael Cahill, President of Siemens Mobility, Rolling Stock in North America.
“Transit systems like Amtrak are the beating heart of our economy and bold investments like these allow us to take crucial steps forward to transform our transportation sector and reduce our carbon footprint,” said California U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui.
Fleet Will Be Used For Northeast Services
The new trains will mostly along the Northeast Corridor. They will also run the long-distance Palmetto line from New York to Miami as well as some state-supported routes, replacing Amtrak’s Amfleet, Metroliner, and state-owned equipment on certain routes across the country.
Demand For Trains Is Going Up
As Covid-19 restrictions ease and domestic travel continues to increase in the US, travelers are not only getting on flights but also on trains. Train ridership is approaching 60% of 2019 levels and the company told CNBC that over the Fourth of July weekend, demand reached 80% of what it was two years ago.
The investment and new fleets are being made to attract more travelers to Amtrak’s services in the future. With expanded capacity and the ability to shorten trip time, Amtrak expects the new equipment to add over 1.5 million riders annually.
“Amtrak’s procurement of new rolling stock is historic. These state-of-the-art trainsets will allow Amtrak to operate and provide services more safely, efficiently, and reliably,” said FRA Deputy Administrator Amit Bose.
“More importantly, doing so will give riders the modern passenger rail accommodations, amenities and comforts they want and deserve.”
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