Amtrak CEO Mr Joseph Boardman says the new vehicles will be similar to
the existing Viewliner coaches, 50 of which were delivered in 1995-96.
The order comprises 25 sleeping cars, 25 restaurant cars, 55 baggage
cars, and 25 baggage/dormitory cars. The delivery of the new vehicles
will allow Amtrak to retire some of its oldest coaches, which date back
to the 1940s and 1950s.

Amtrak says the first year of the five-year contract will be funded
with $US 29.8 million from the company's own revenues, which are
running above budget estimates due to higher-than-expected passenger
numbers. Further funding will be sought from other sources.

The fleet renewal programme identifies 982 coaches for replacement,
while a significant portion of the locomotive fleet is also
life-expired. Amtrak is currently reviewing bids to replace electric
locomotives used on the Northeast Corridor, and says it may award a
contract for 20 locomotives within the next few months.