AMTRAK unveiled refreshed interiors and other onboard improvements it is carrying out as part of a three-year, $US 28m initiative to modernise more than 450 long-distance coaches during an event at Chicago Union Station this week.

Amtrak showcased elements of the work - in addition to the first of its new low-emissions diesel-electric locomotives - following the completion of daily service restoration for 12 long-distance routes, which had experienced pandemic-related cuts.

The first of Amtrak's new long-distance locomotives.

Siemens Mobility is supplying Amtrak with 75 ALC-42s, designated Amtrak long-distance Charger units. Delivery of the remaining 3MW locomotives is expected by 2024.

Amtrak is updating the interiors of its 1980-1990-era double-deck Superliner fleet, serving primarily midwestern, southern and western routes. New seating cushions and upholstery, carpet, LED lighting, tables, and curtains are being installed on all Superliner coaches, sleeping cars, dining cars and sightseer lounges. Viewliner sleeping cars operating to and from the east and southeast will receive similar improvements.

The first refreshed coaches will be ready for passengers this summer, Amtrak said. It will start deploying the other three types of updated Superliners this autumn.

The lounge car of the refurbished Superliner fleet.

Among Amtrak’s other recent “customer experience” improvements are:
• restoration of traditional dining services on six western routes, commencing June 23
• launch of the electronic USA Rail Pass, which allows riders to take multi-segment train trips, and
• expansion of the BidUp programme, allowing riders to bid on upgrades into Amtrak’s premium services, including from coach class to private rooms.

“We are marking a new era in customer experience for our historic routes that serve the country with comfortable and affordable coach seating and private rooms,” says Mr Roger Harris, executive vice-president/chief marketing and revenue officer for Amtrak. “As we mark Amtrak’s 50th anniversary this year, these significant investments in the long-distance network lay the foundation for our next decades of service.”