AMTRAK confirmed on August 21 that it has exercised an option with Siemens Mobility for a further 10 200km/h Airo passenger trains to meet “surging demand” for rail transport.

The order takes the total number of trains that Siemens is supplying to 83. Amtrak awarded the initial $US 3.4bn contract for 73 of the multi-power push-pull trains in July 2021. This comprises 50 diesel-electric, 15 battery-electric hybrids, and eight US EPA Tier 4-compliant diesel locomotives and push-pull coaches.

Amtrak is set to deploy the new fleet on the following services: Northeast Regional, Empire Service, Virginia Services, Keystone Service, Downeaster, Cascades, Maple Leaf, New Haven/Springfield Service, Palmetto, Carolinian, Pennsylvanian, Vermonter, Ethan Allen Express and Adirondack.

Manufacturing of the trains from the initial order is underway at the Siemens plant in Sacramento, California, and the first sets are on schedule to enter service in 2026. Amtrak says it retains options from the original contract to order more trains in the future.

Amtrak is partially funding the new fleet orders using its allocation from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The new trains feature at-seat power options, spacious comfortable seats with enhanced leg room, 5G and onboard Wi-Fi options, spacious and accessible toilets, vestibules and café cars offering “contemporary food service.” The train’s business class section will offer more space between seats and will feature single and double seats.

“We are thrilled to satisfy the soaring demand for train travel with new state-of-the-art, American-made equipment that ensures the highest standards of comfort, service and amenities,” says Amtrak president, Mr Roger Harris. “As we advance this vision, we’re committed to getting people where they need to go, while reducing road and air congestion, creating jobs and supporting the American economy.”

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The September issue of IRJ will include an article on Amtrak’s service expansion, including exclusive insight from CEO, Mr Stephen Gardner.