DETROIT — Amtrak’s Plan is to spend $7.3 billion to replace 83 passenger trains, some of which are almost 50 years old, though much of the financing is still subject to congressional approval.
Amtrak said on Wednesday that some of the trains would be hybrids, able to run on both diesel and electricity where wires are available, as part of a contract with German manufacturer Siemens AG. Beginning in 2024, the new trains will replace Amfleet, Metroliner, and state-owned trains.
The new engines and passenger cars will be manufactured at a California facility.
More comfortable seats, improved ventilation, individual power outlets and USB connections, onboard WiFi, and panoramic windows will all be available on the new trains. When running in diesel mode, according to Amtrak CEO William Flynn, they will pollute considerably less than earlier trains.
The trains will go to stations in New York, New England, California, the Pacific Northwest, Virginia, and other locations. Siemens has offered the railroad the opportunity to purchase 130 additional trains.
The first delivery, according to Siemens, will be to the Cascades line in the northwest in 2024, with the remainder following through 2030. In 2023, production will begin. There will be an engine and about six to eight vehicles on each train.
According to the announcement, the deal would cover equipment as well as a long-term parts supply and service agreement.
Flynn stated in an interview that the trains will be capable of speeds of up to 125 mph (201 kilometers per hour) and will be able to transition from electric to diesel mode without experiencing current delays caused by switching engines. Trains are frequently limited to 90 mph (145 km/h) due to track conditions, he said.
According to Amtrak, financing will come from around $200 million previously granted by Congress, as well as future funds that will need to be approved. “We anticipate having annual funds for our part of the train sets,” says the company “he stated “We have the capacity to finance the units as well if that money isn’t available at the time,” Flynn added. States will pay back the money via railways and passenger tickets, he added.
Amtrak’s board of directors has approved up to $4.9 billion in equipment, parts, and service, as well as $2 billion in facility modifications. For roughly $3.4 billion, Amtrak will purchase 73 trains as well as a 20-year parts and service agreement.
Before the coronavirus epidemic, Amtrak ridership reached a new high of 32.4 million passengers in 2019, according to Flynn. According to him, passenger volume is roughly 62 percent of what it was before the epidemic.
Amtrak and Alstom, a French train manufacturer, signed a deal in 2016 to build 28 high-speed trains for the Acela Express service in the Northeast Corridor.
President Joe Biden’s administration has presented a $66 billion infrastructure plan that includes freight and passenger rail. During his 36 years as a senator, Biden often rode Amtrak between Washington and his home in Wilmington, Delaware, and has suggested a significant increase in government funding for the rail service.
Increased usage of public transportation and rail, according to supporters, would cut greenhouse gas emissions.