Amtrak requires a fleet of 257km/h trains as soon as possible to replace its Acela trains currently operating on the Boston – New York – Washington DB Northeast Corridor, and the trains need to tilt to cope with the curves on the line to reduce journey times. Conversely CHSRA wants conventional 320km/h trains to operate on its dedicated state-wide network.
Amtrak now intends to invite bids in July for a fleet of 28 tilting high-speed trains, while CHSRA expects to issue its own tender in October for 15 trains initially, although it will require up to 70 trains during the next 15 years.
"We were hoping it would be possible to leverage joint procurement and establish a national standard for high-speed trains for the US," says Mr Frank Vacca, chief program manager for the California project. "What came out was the fact that [the manufacturers] really were not able to provide a common platform or common train that met both of our needs. Now we're going to have something much closer to off-the-shelf trainsets from manufacturers. The more we can keep it off-the-shelf, the better it is for cost."