Amtrak contracts with Siemens to build the next generation of regional trains

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Amtrak is contracting with Siemens Mobility Inc. to manufacture a new fleet of up to 83  trains for state and Northeast services.

The trains will operate on multi-power systems that convert from electric lines to diesel and, in the case of New York State, battery-hybrid technology.

The agreement calls for further options for up to 130 additional trains to support Amtrak’s growth plans. In addition, the new fleet will offer modern rail features for travelers who don’t use the more expensive Acela service.

An early rendering from Siemens.

The equipment will be assembled at the Siemens Mobility site in Sacramento, CA. In addition, Siemens Mobility operates a site in New Castle that remotely monitors its locomotives.

Railway Age reported the deal would bring the new generation of trains to its system later in the decade.

Amtrak reported the deal would not impact Delaware maintenance sites that service equipment and refurbish passenger cars for the railroad owned by the federal government. 

“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 new equipment will operate on the Northeast Corridor, long-distance Palmetto, and various state-supported routes. It will replace Amtrak-owned Amfleet, Metroliner, and state-owned equipment on certain routes throughout the country. 

The new trains will be able to convert from catenary electric lines to diesel power without switching locomotives.

Wilmington is one of the busiest stops for Northeast Regional and Acela service.  Limited service is also provided at the Newark Train Station.

“The new dual-powered locomotives will drastically improve the rider experience, reducing the dwell time in Washington, D.C., that currently exists for an engine change,” said D.J. Stadtler, Executive Director of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority. “This will increase overall capacity and decrease travel time between anywhere in Virginia to New York City and Boston significantly.”

The $7.3 billion investment includes equipment purchase and a long-term parts supply and service agreement, facility modifications and upgrades, and other program expenses.

A long-term service agreement for technical support, spare parts, and material supply will accompany the contract to manufacture the trains. In addition, 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.”

According to Amtrak, the trains will feature more comfortable seating, individual power outlets, and USB ports, onboard Wi-Fi, enhanced lighting and panoramic windows, a more contemporary food service experience, including self-service options, as well as customer trip information, digital seat reservation system and navigation display systems. Amtrak expects the new equipment to add over 1.5 million riders annually.

Using multi-power systems, including hybrid battery operation for a portion of the fleet used for New York’s Empire Service, the trains will also provide an environmental benefit through reduced criteria pollutants compared to the existing fleet.

“If we invest in passenger rail, our nation can have a future with world-class transportation infrastructure that can spark economic growth, curb pollution, and connect Americans across the country to opportunity,” said  Delaware U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “Today’s announcement is a step towards that future—the first of many to come as we work to support Amtrak and all the good it can do for the American people.” 

“An upgrade to our nation’s infrastructure that will help move tens of millions of people faster, safer, and reliably is a step in the right direction. I am excited for this agreement between Siemens and Amtrak, and particularly glad for what this means for the thousands of men and women who will maintain these train sets in America,” said Delaware’s junior  U.S. 

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