Amtrak Will Purchase New Train Cars for 14 Overnight Routes
Amtrak plans to replace railcars for popular routes such as the Auto Train, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder and Southwest Chief. Several companies are now submitting ideas as part of the first formal step to completely reequip the Amtrak Long Distance Network that provides service on 14 overnight routes from coast to coast.
“Purchasing new long distance train cars will allow Amtrak to upgrade and modernize the iconic and vital overnight services that link our nation’s major regions. We are looking for new trains that improve safety, reliability, accessibility, and efficiency while offering the features our customers believe are most important to modernizing overnight train travel for the 21st century,” said Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia in a statement.
Last month, a Request for Information was sent to potential suppliers defining and describing the scope of Amtrak’s overnight train fleet, including Superliner I & II, Viewliner I & II and Amfleet II railcars. As part of this effort, Amtrak is also researching design elements and customer amenities to evolve overnight and cross-country train travel in the coming decades.
Later this year, Amtrak plans to take the next step by issuing a formal procurement request. Funding for the future purchases is being provided to Amtrak through the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The existing fleet of overnight railcars has been delivered to Amtrak over the course of 40 years—with the first of more than 800 cars entering service in 1979. Most of the equipment in the current fleet will approach the end of its service life after the next decade.
Last year, Amtrak ordered 125 new diesel-electric locomotives, primarily for use on Long Distance routes. Over the last two years, Amtrak has invested $580 million toward $1.75 billion in accessibility improvements at Amtrak stations, mainly along these routes. Additionally, Amtrak dedicated $28 million to refresh railcars in the current overnight fleet.
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