The Illinois Department of Transportation is leading the procurement with the first deliveries expected in 2016. The FRA has allocated $US 808m to manufacture the 35 locomotives and 130 double-deck coaches, with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) awarding the American subsidiary of Sumitomo, Japan, the $US 352m coach contract in September 2012. The coaches are being built at Nippon Sharyo's plant in Rochelle, Illinois and are scheduled to be delivered between autumn 2015 and early 2018.

The RFP states that the locomotives should use ac traction motors and meet EPA Tier 4 emissions standards. The winning bidder for the locomotive contract will be announced in early 2014. Many of the new locomotives and 88 of the coaches will be operated on upgraded infrastructure between Chicago and St Louis, and Chicago and Detroit (IRJ January p28).

This is the second locomotive contract to be procured under the standardised regulations outlined in Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) 205 specifications for the Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee. Southern California Regional Rail Authority selected EMD on May 31 to supply up to 20 F125 Spirit diesel-electric locomotives, which will also be designed to meet EPA Tier 4 standards, for operation on Southern California's regional rail service, Metrolink.

"The new uniform standards will drive down costs and allow more manufacturers and suppliers to compete, fostering healthy competition while re-establishing the US domestic supply chain for passenger rail equipment," says federal railroad administrator, Mr Joseph Szabo. "The intent to purchase 35 new locomotives comes as intercity passenger rail ridership continues to post and exceed ridership records. The need for new rail equipment has never been greater."