AMTRAK has awarded Siemens Mobility a $US 3.4bn contract to build 73 multi-power push-pull trains for use on the North East Corridor and on state-sponsored routes across the United States.   

The initial order comprises 50 diesel-electric trains, 15 battery-electric hybrids, and the remaining trains will be US EPA Tier 4 diesel locomotives and push-pull coaches. A Siemens spokesman told IRJ they were unable to provide information yet as to the number of vehicles per train.   

The dual-powered trains will use Charger locomotives, which can run on diesel, bio-diesel or electric power. Siemens says the locomotives offer 95% particulate matter 89% emissions reduction compared with existing Tier 0 locomotives and will be able to make use of electrification as it is introduced, helping to improve the sustainability of Amtrak’s operations. 

The hybrid-battery powered trains can be charged by either a 480V external power source, by regenerative braking, or by the diesel engine. 

Manufacturing will commence at Siemens Mobility’s plant in Sacramento, California, in 2023. The first new trains will be delivered in 2024 and the first hybrid battery trains will be delivered in 2025. The full fleet will be delivered by the end of 2030. Amtrak’s new fleet will operate in the Northeast Corridor serving state-supported routes including services in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.   

“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,” says Amtrak CEO, Mr Bill Flynn.   

Flynn added that the investment is essential in preserving the regional and state-supported services in the various states.   

The contract includes an option to build a further 140 trains. However, the split between the number of dual-power and battery-hybrid sets has not been determined. Siemens Mobility will also provide predictive maintenance technology and real-time digital monitoring.  

The support aspect of the contract includes a long-term service agreement, spare parts and material supply. The trains will be fitted with wireless communication systems, remote monitoring and fully integrated digital diagnostics. This will allow the operator to test and develop new technology and introduce new maintenance methods designed to increase availability and reduce long-term costs.  
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.  All of the trains will feature individual power sockets, USB ports, on-board Wi-Fi, enhanced lighting and panoramic windows, self-service food options, customer information systems and digital seat reservation and navigation display systems.  

The trains will have an enhanced air-conditioning system, touchless restroom controls and automated steps. Also being fitted to the trains are inductive hearing loops, accessible toilets and vestibules, an accessible food service car and lifts for passengers with reduced mobility.   

“We believe hybrid battery and dual-powered trains will play an important role in reducing emissions and protecting the environment in the United States,” says Mr Michael Peter, Siemens Mobility CEO. “Amtrak's investment illustrates America's commitment to enhancing its rail systems, offering passengers a more sustainable option for travel."  

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