Amtrak Invests $7.3B in New Equipment

MONDAY, JULY 26, 2021

Passenger railroad service Amtrak has recently announced a contract agreement with California-based Siemens Mobility Inc. for the manufacture of a new fleet of up to 83 multi-powered modern trains, with further options for up to 130 additional trains to support Amtrak growth plans.


The new equipment is expected to cost $7.3 billion and will be leveraged for state and northeast services.


“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.”


Equipment Deal


According to Amtrak, the investment includes the purchase of equipment and a long-term part supply and service agreement, which will accompany the contract to manufacture the trains. This will be done at Siemen’s Mobility manufacturing facility in Sacramento, California, and will comply with the Federal Railroad Administration Buy America Standards.


The investment will also include facility modifications, upgrades and other program expenses.


“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.”


The new trains include remote monitoring and fully integrated digital diagnostics for increased reliability. These advanced features will enable Amtrak to test and develop new technology and introduce new maintenance approaches to drive efficiency, increase availability and reduce long term costs.


“These new trains, some of which will be our first hybrid battery operations in the United States, will transform the way Americans travel. Offering a more sustainable and comfortable travel experience, they will be built for excellence and built with pride in Sacramento, California,” stated Michael Cahill, President of Siemens Mobility, Rolling Stock in North America. “Over the past decade, we’ve worked closely with Amtrak and its state partners to develop and deliver trains that meet the needs of America’s travelers, these next generation trainsets build on that experience and offer much more.”


In expanding on Cahill’s statement, the fleet will run on multi-power systems, with some utilizing the same hybrid battery as used for New York’s Empire Service. The decision is expected to provide a substantial environmental benefit through reduced criteria pollutants compared to the existing fleet.


As reported by Amtrak, the new trains plan to feature more comfortable seating, individual power outlets and USB ports, onboard Wi-Fi, enhanced lighting and panoramic windows, larger vestibules, a more contemporary food service experience, including self-service options, as well as state-of-the-art customer trip information, digital seat reservation system and navigation display system.


In terms of design, the new fleets have received enhanced HVAC, touchless restroom controls, and automated steps, all compliant with updated health and safety standards. The trains are also noted to meet all the latest safety regulations and standards, providing improved structural safety. 


With expanded capacity and the ability to shorten trip time, Amtrak expects the new equipment to add over 1.5 million riders, annually.


Once completed, the new equipment will operate on the Northeast Corridor, long distance Palmetto and various state-supported routes that will replace Amtrak-owned Amfleet, Metroliner, and state-owned equipment on certain routes throughout the country. In addition to the Northeast Regional, other routes will include the Adirondack, Carolinian, Cascades, Downeaster, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Maple Leaf, New Haven/Springfield Service (Amtrak Hartford Line and Valley Flyer), Pennsylvanian, Vermonter and Virginia Services.


“I applaud Amtrak’s investment in the future of passenger transportation, American manufacturing, and climate resiliency,” said California U.S. Rep. John Garamendi. “This project will support 2,100 jobs at the Siemens plant in the Sacramento for years to come. These energy-efficient locomotives will be replacing aging trains throughout the country, ensuring reliable Amtrak services, and reducing carbon emissions. 


“I have introduced legislation to further promote American train manufacturing and ensure that American infrastructure creates American jobs. Large investments like this purchase are a key step towards restoring American manufacturing, rebuilding American infrastructure, and revitalizing the American workforce.”


Recent Amtrak Reports


Earlier this year, New York Representative Ritchie Torres (D, NY-15) introduced H.R. 3002 last week, requiring that Amtrak adopt a repair-in-place method for track maintenance, rehabilitation and other purposes.


While the legislation aims to target rehabilitation projects on East River train tunnels, according to Torres and other government officials, if passed, the legislation could have a ripple effect on other projects in New York as well.


To meditate such project issues, which ultimately impact project timelines and overall cost, Torres claims that the repair-in-place requirement would speed up the process. The method was utilized by MTA for the rehabilitation of the L train tunnel and F trains.


Tagged categories: Contracts; Federal Railroad Administration; Government contracts; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; Mass transit; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Public Transit; Rail; Railcars

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