Amtrak buys advanced Siemens trains worth $ 3.4 billion to overhaul its rail network

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Intended to spend $ 7.3 billion as part of a major effort to overhaul its U.S. passenger service, Amtrak has contracted Siemens’ California unit to deliver a new generation of greener, more comfortable trains to upgrade its aging fleet.

Siemens Mobility has won a $ 3.4 billion contract to build up to 73 multiple units, including locomotives and passenger cars, at its railroad facility in Sacramento, California, said Michael Cahill, the unit’s president. The agreement runs until 2030, with the first units entering service in 2024. They will use multiple sources of energy, including just electricity on some routes (via overhead lines), diesel and a hybrid lithium titanate battery system on others. Amtrak can purchase an additional 10 trains under the first phase of the agreement and has the option to add up to 130 more trains to use on the expanded network that it envisions.

“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, US-made equipment,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. “This investment is critical to the maintenance and growth of our regional and government-backed services in the Northeast and will enable our customers to travel comfortably and safely while reducing carbon emissions.”

The major sales deal comes ahead of Congress approving a massive federal infrastructure bill as President Joe Biden, a longtime Amtrak driver and fan, seeks to both dramatically modernize the country’s main passenger rail service and reduce harmful emissions from traffic. When it becomes law, the bipartisan compromise plan for infrastructure spending unveiled last month provides for $ 66 billion in new funds to upgrade passenger and freight railways.

“These new trains will reshape the future of rail transport by replacing our aging 40- to 50-year-old fleet with state-of-the-art American-made equipment.”

Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn

The $ 7.3 billion investment announced today includes the Siemens trains as well as long-term supplies of parts and services, equipment modifications and other upgrades, Amtrak said. The new trains will operate on electrified sections of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor as well as routes in the Pacific Northwest, New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia and North Carolina.

The trains are based on Siemens’ Venture series, which is already being used in the United States by the private rail operator Brightline for its South Florida service, said Cahill. The German industrial giant’s rail vehicle plant in Sacramento also supplies trains for services in California, Illinois and Canada. They are more spacious and offer a better driving experience with features such as individual power sockets, USB ports, on-board WiFi, improved lighting and panoramic windows.

“These will be more comfortable than the ones Amtrak has used before,” said Cahill. “The new trains will have air suspension, there will be bigger seats, wider aisles, better accessibility, bigger windows and the trains inside will also be bigger. We went to great lengths to maximize the interior space without maximizing the exterior. “

Siemens’ trains in California will meet the Federal Railroad Administration’s Buy America standards, Amtrak said. The Sacramento plant is in its thirtieth year of operation, employs more than 2,100 people, and obtains most of the electricity for train production from a 2.1 megawatt solar array.


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