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Amtrak Invests in the Future

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Newly released visuals offer a glimpse into state-of-the-art trains

WASHINGTON – Built for the future, visuals of Amtrak’s newest trains reveal a modern customer experience. The new trains, Amtrak AiroTM, will start debuting in 2026 and operate on routes throughout the country. Routes include the Amtrak Northeast RegionalEmpire ServiceVirginia ServicesKeystone ServiceDowneasterCascadesMaple LeafNew Haven/Springfield ServicePalmettoCarolinianPennsylvanianVermonterEthan Allen Express and Adirondack.

“As we invest in the future, Amtrak is leading the way with a new era of rail,” said Amtrak President Roger Harris. “Our new trains will transform the Amtrak experience with significant environmental benefits, a progressive design and world-class amenities.”

The new trains will elevate the journey with a focus on comfort and efficiency. Amtrak Airo will provide even more advantages to traveling by rail, including:

  • Elevated Experience: With its modern, spacious interior and panoramic windows, customers have an improved view of the best sights in the country while connecting to the passing landscape.
  • A Greener Impact: The new trains are more fuel efficient and produce 90% less particulate emissions in diesel operations.
  • Reduced Travel Times: The new trains will operate at speeds up to 125 mph and offer near seamless transition between power sources where time-consuming locomotive changes were previously required.
  • Redesigned Café Car: More contemporary food service provides self-service options.
  • Wayfinding: Signage creates a cleaner, more evident and accessible way to identify and differentiate cabins – both on the exterior and interior through a color-coded system.
  • Spacious Seating:Each spacious seat prioritizes ergonomics, offers enhanced comfort with plenty of legroom, bigger and sturdier tray tables, moveable headrests and a dedicated cup and seatback tablet-holder.
  • Business Class: Choice of double and single seats offer customers greater flexibility.
  • Amenities: Features enhanced lighting, improved technology with digital customer information systems and touchless restroom controls, dedicated individual outlets, USB ports and onboard Wi-Fi.

“Americans deserve modern, safe, reliable passenger rail service, and introducing brand new rail cars is a major step towards improving the daily experience of commuters and travelers who depend on Amtrak,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “This year, FRA provided nearly $4.3 billion in annual funding to support these improvements, and with President Biden’s historic investments in Amtrak, we’re poised to make intercity passenger rail an even more efficient, convenient and accessible mode of travel for Americans.”

In response to strong customer demand, the new trains are part of a larger transformation that will revolutionize the Amtrak experience, including the new Acela trains. Amtrak’s move to the future also includes major infrastructure projects, service expansion, station upgrades, modernization efforts and improved track capacity along the Northeast Corridor.

A share of Amtrak’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funding will support the procurement of Amtrak Airo, which will be manufactured by Siemens in California.

For more information about Amtrak Airo please visit amtrak.com/amtrak-airo and access the latest visuals at media.amtrak.com/introducing-amtrak-airo/. Procurement details can be found here.

SUPPORTED QUOTES

Senator Chuck Schumer

“I fought to include over $21 billion for Amtrak in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and I secured over $2.3 billion for Amtrak in FY22 appropriations, so that initiatives that benefit passengers like these new trains and improved cabins could go forward. I am thrilled to see Amtrak stepping up its game for customers with the new Amtrak Airo trains, which will benefit customers throughout the country, including on more than half a dozen New York lines.”

Senator Leahy

“I am pleased to hear that Amtrak will continue to make meaningful investments in improving their passenger rail service. This service has connected Vermonters with the broader region for more than 50 years and will continue to be pivotal in our transition to a clean energy economy. As Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have proudly supported strong funding for Amtrak, including securing over $150 million throughout my tenure for rail improvements across Vermont that Amtrak Airo will utilize when its service begins in 2026.”

Senator Susan M. Collins

“From large cities to rural towns, Amtrak provides an important transportation option that connects communities across the country. Since it first began service more than twenty years ago, the Downeaster in Maine has provided service to millions of passengers and acts as an economic engine to towns along the way, earning the reputation as ‘America’s favorite train.’ This investment in new rail cars on routes like the Downeaster will enhance the overall experience and safety for riders as well as help promote the continued success of Amtrak in the years to come.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand 

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was passed in order to modernize our transportation systems so they can meet the needs of the 21st century. It is great to see Amtrak investing in these new trains using the law’s funding, and I look forward to continuing my work with Amtrak to make sure that New Yorkers have access to a sustainable, fuel efficient and reliable passenger rail network.”

Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR-04), House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair

“To meet the demands of travelers and address the threat of climate change, we need trains that are accessible, reliable, and environmentally friendly. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this $7.3 billion investment in Amtrak Airo equipment will reduce the environmental impact of the transportation sector while improving the passenger experience. Amtrak Airo will produce less air pollution than current models and will provide an enhanced level of comfort that will attract riders. I look forward to their debut in 2026 and congratulate Amtrak on today’s announcement.”

Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ-10), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials for the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

“I am proud to see Amtrak use the funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to upgrade their trains and service. I helped secure $41.5 billion for Amtrak in that law to help them improve efficiency and reliability nationwide. I look forward to riding these new trains during my frequent travels between my district and Washington, D.C.”

Congressman David Price (D-NC), Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee (T-HUD)

“With an eye towards future generations, Amtrak is taking substantial steps to modernize our nation’s rail infrastructure and incorporate the need for climate resiliency with their new fleet of Amtrak Airo trainsets. Thanks to the Biden Administration’s leadership, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and sustained investments through the annual appropriations process, transformative investments to our nation’s transportation infrastructure are now underway. These investments will create good, union jobs, while connecting communities across the country with efficient, safe and environmentally responsible transit options.”

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01)

“Amtrak provides efficient, essential and affordable transportation for millions throughout the United States. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has provided a historic opportunity to make critical improvements to our intercity passenger rail infrastructure, including for the train cars and engines that allow Americans to seamlessly travel and commute each day. I am proud to see these advancements in Amtrak’s Amtrak Airo equipment announced today and I look forward to continuing to work alongside our partners at Amtrak as we continue to improve the Northeast Corridor for generations to come.”

Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH-01)

“The benefits our communities see from upgrading our transportation infrastructure will continue for years to come. This vital investment will update our rail system ensuring it can better serve communities across New Hampshire in a reliable fashion, address the growing transportation needs of the Northeast, and reduce carbon emissions. I also applaud Amtrak’s decision to invest in our economy and help create good-paying jobs by purchasing equipment made in America. I will continue to support clean transportation, investments in American manufacturing, and projects like this one that meet the needs of Granite Staters.”

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-08)

“It is welcome news that Amtrak’s 29 new Amtrak Airo equipment will be serving the Greater Boston area. Amtrak Airo will be better for our environment and produce less air pollution and operate with greater fuel efficiency than Amtrak’s existing equipment. As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I am grateful for Amtrak’s commitment to helping create a greener transportation system, which was made possible by funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These new investments and equipment will make the customer transportation experience much more comfortable and enjoyable and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on the Northeast Corridor.”

Congresswomen Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

“As New Jersey’s sole congressional appropriator and a member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee, I’ve made it a priority to secure infrastructure funding for Central Jersey and communities across the country. Supported by a historic investment from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, this funding will bring Amtrak trains into the 21st century, create jobs, and keep our communities connected. I’m grateful for President Biden’s leadership and for the hard work of my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee who helped make the modernization of ‘America’s Railroad’ possible.”

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY-20)

“For decades, we have put investments in critical infrastructure on the backburner, leaving communities unequipped to deal with crumbling roads and bridges and insufficient public transit. Thanks to the advancement of our bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, these needs are at long last being addressed. I’m delighted by this investment that will ensure Amtrak trains meet passenger needs, whether one is traveling to work, home to see family and loved ones, or to a new destination, all while reducing air pollution.”

Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA-07)

“I’m thrilled that Amtrak’s new fleet of trains will be manufactured in Sacramento County by Siemens. Siemens has been an integral part of the Sacramento community for the past three decades and I am excited for the rest of the country to experience their state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly trains. This project will help modernize our nation’s rail infrastructure and support thousands of good paying jobs in our region.”

DJ Stadtler, Virginia Passenger Rail Authority Executive Director

“Service from the Commonwealth and destinations from DC to Boston will be faster and more enjoyable with Amtrak’s new dual-powered locomotives and equipment designed with the passenger in mind. Amtrak’s investment in this new top-of-the-line equipment mirrors our plans to provide our passengers with the most exceptional state-supported rail service possible.”

Ron Pate, Washington State Department of Transportation Director of Rail, Freight and Ports Division

“Amtrak Cascades is eager to welcome new trains to our scenic 18-city route linking Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. Our eight new trainsets and two new locomotives are scheduled for delivery in 2026. Featuring an evergreen and mocha color scheme representative of the Pacific Northwest, they will mimic the historic branding of previous Amtrak Cascades trains, but with a new look and feel that will carry us into the future.”

Marie Therese Dominguez, New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner

“If anybody still wonders if the best days of passenger rail are ahead of us, they now have the visual proof and can rest assured. The best is yet to come, thanks to a focus on enhancing passenger amenities and employing greener technologies. Here in New York State, we are already making historic investments to improve connectivity, service reliability and safety. We are grateful for the partnership of Amtrak Chair Anthony Coscia and CEO Stephen Gardner, and we look forward to working with them and our federal partners in Washington to bring to life these immaculate trainsets that will define the passenger rail experience of the twenty-first century.”

Andy Batson, PennDOT Acting Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Transportation

“PennDOT is a proud supporter of intercity passenger rail and promotes mobility options for all Pennsylvanians. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Amtrak to provide high-quality transportation in Pennsylvania.”

Eric Boyette, N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary

“With a record-breaking year of ridership, North Carolina is thrilled to enhance our travelers’ experience with new trains in the coming years.”

Joe Flynn, State of Vermont Secretary of Transportation

“Vermont is enthusiastic about the new trainsets, which will replace the aging Amfleet railcars and transform our Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express services into state-of-the art, fuel-efficient services with increased reliability and passenger comfort and amenities. These trainsets will support and complement Vermont’s significant investments in passenger rail services, including the recent extension of the Ethan Allen Express service to Burlington and our efforts to extend the Vermonter service into Montreal. Vermont wishes to express sincere gratitude to its Congressional Delegation for providing the federal funding essential to bringing these new trainsets to Vermont.”

Joe Giulietti, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner

“The Connecticut Department of Transportation is excited and supportive of the planned purchase of new trainsets for Amtrak’s New England Regional and Northeast Corridor Services. Our customers have spoken and they desire a modern railroad experience that includes updated features and amenities on trains, which encourages an alternative to highway vehicle travel. This new equipment, along with Connecticut’s planned purchase of new coaches and locomotives, will be able to take advantage of the substantial infrastructure investments the State of Connecticut has already made and is currently planning along the Northeast Corridor and Hartford Line.”

Michael Cahill, Siemens Mobility Rolling Stock in North America President

“Our new trainsets are a key part of helping Amtrak transform rail travel for Americans. Passengers want a reliable, comfortable, and sustainable experience once on-board. Our 2,500 team members in Sacramento and hundreds of suppliers in the U.S. are proud to help Amtrak deliver the next generation of travel.”

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Putting Jobs First: California High-Speed Rail Crosses 13,000 Construction Jobs Milestone

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California High-Speed Rail construction site with workers in hardhats.
Artistic rendering of a CAHSR high-speed train running in the Central Valley. California High-Speed Rail.

In a significant milestone for the nation’s first high-speed rail project, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) announced that it has successfully created over 13,000 construction jobs since 2015. This accomplishment not only signifies progress for the ambitious high-speed rail system but also highlights the positive impact it has had on the local Californian workforce.

California High-Speed Rail Crosses 13,000 Construction Jobs Milestone

Central Valley Takes the Lead:
With over 70 percent of these jobs going to residents of California’s Central Valley, the project has played a vital role in providing employment opportunities for individuals in the region. It is worth acknowledging the efforts of nearly 1,400 workers dispatched each day to various high-speed rail construction sites. These jobs have injected economic vitality and growth into communities across the Central Valley.

Regional Breakdown:

  1. Fresno County: 4,222 jobs
  2. Kern County: 2,538 jobs
  3. Tulare County: 1,282 jobs
  4. Madera County: 580 jobs
  5. Kings County: 462 jobs
  6. Merced County: 189 jobs
  7. Remaining California Counties: 3,387 jobs
  8. Out-of-State: 369 jobs

A Decade of Strong Partnerships:
The Authority has had a longstanding partnership with the California State Building Trades, which has facilitated the creation of thousands of good-paying union jobs. Notably, during the past five years alone, over 10,000 construction positions have been generated through these collaborative efforts. Moreover, a significant focus has been placed on directing employment opportunities towards individuals from disadvantaged communities, further promoting inclusivity and economic upliftment.

California Jobs First Council:
To bolster job creation even further and ensure economic prosperity for all Californians, the California Jobs First Council was established. This council aims to align economic resources, expedite job creation, and enhance opportunities throughout the state. With particular focus on the Central San Joaquin Valley, this initiative serves as an impetus for creating more jobs, rapidly, in every community.

Future Expansion and Construction Progress:
Looking ahead, the Authority is resolute in extending the current 119-mile high-speed rail network to span 171 miles, reaching from Merced to Bakersfield. The construction has already commenced on this expansion project. Presently, more than 25 dynamic construction sites are active within the Central Valley. As a testament to its commitment to environmental stewardship, the Authority has obtained full environmental clearance for 422 miles of the high-speed rail program, stretching from the Bay Area to Los Angeles County.

Stay Updated:
For the latest developments and information about the high-speed rail construction, interested individuals are encouraged to visit the official website: www.buildhsr.com. On the website, visitors can access recent videos, animations, photographs, press center resources, and the latest renderings of the project. All files are available for free use, courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s achievement of surpassing 13,000 construction jobs is undoubtedly a cause for celebration. By focusing on job creation and prioritizing the local workforce, this landmark project is making a positive difference in the lives of Californians, particularly those in the Central Valley. With continued progress and future expansions, the California High-Speed Rail project not only brings efficient transportation but also provides a substantial economic boost that benefits communities and individuals alike.

https://hsr.ca.gov/2024/03/19/putting-jobs-first-california-high-speed-rail-crosses-13000-construction-jobs-milestone/

Source: California High-Speed Rail Authority

@stmblog

13k+ jobs created! 🚄 California High-Speed Rail breaking records and boosting the economy! jobs infrastructure https://stmdailynews.com/category/the-bridge/urbanism/

♬ original sound – STMDailyNews – STMDailyNews

What is California High-Speed Rail?

The California High-Speed Rail (CAHSR) is a state-funded project led by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Currently under construction, Phase 1 is planned to cover 494 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles, passing through the Central Valley. There are plans for Phase 2, which would extend the system to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 776 miles. Authorized by a 2008 ballot, this ambitious project aims to connect major urban areas, significantly reducing travel times. The goal for Phase 1 is to achieve a travel time of 2 hours and 40 minutes between San Francisco and Los Angeles, a vast improvement from the existing Amtrak service, which takes around nine hours.

Construction of Phase 1 began in the Central Valley back in 2015. The project is being built in sections due to limited funding. The state aims to complete a 171-mile (275 km) long Initial Operating Segment (IOS) connecting Merced and Bakersfield by 2024. The IOS is expected to begin its revenue service as a self-contained high-speed rail system between 2030-2033, at an estimated cost of $28–35 billion. CAHSR trains running along this section would be the fastest in the Americas, with a top speed of 220 mph (350 km/h).

Between January 2015 and December 2023, a whopping amount of $11.2 billion was spent on the IOS project, which includes 119 miles (192 km) currently under construction, alongside upgrades to the existing rail lines in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles. The plan is that Phase 1 will share tracks with conventional passenger trains. However, the Authority has not yet secured funding to connect the Central Valley section with either the Bay Area or Los Angeles, which involves crossing several major mountain passes. As of 2024, it is estimated that Phase 1 will cost a total of $106.2 billion.n.

Supporters of the California High-Speed Rail project emphasize the potential benefits it offers, including the reduction of air traffic and highway congestion, decreased pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and the promotion of economic growth by connecting inland regions to coastal cities. However, opponents argue that the project is too expensive and advocate for directing funds to other transportation or infrastructure initiatives. The choice of route and the decision to initiate construction in the Central Valley, rather than more densely populated areas, have been points of contention. The project has encountered notable challenges such as delays and cost overruns due to management issues, legal disputes, and a lack of complete funding commitment.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_High-Speed_Rail#

https://stmdailynews.com/category/the-bridge/urbanism/

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  • Rod Washington

    Rod: A creative force, blending words, images, and flavors. Blogger, writer, filmmaker, and photographer. Cooking enthusiast with a sci-fi vision. Passionate about his upcoming series and dedicated to TNC Network. Partnered with Rebecca Washington for a shared journey of love and art.

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Riding the Rails to a Sustainable Future: The Rise of High-Speed Rail in the U.S.

High-speed rail in the U.S. offers a sustainable, faster, and comfortable alternative to flying and driving, significantly reducing carbon emissions.

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"High-speed rail in the U.S. offers a sustainable, faster, and comfortable alternative to flying and driving, significantly reducing carbon emissions."
Acela and Metro-North commuter trains share the same tracks through Connecticut.

In a world where environmental sustainability and efficient transportation are becoming increasingly critical, the United States is making strides towards a faster and greener future with the expansion of high-speed rail networks. While the U.S. may have lagged behind other countries in this area, promising developments such as the Brightline West project in the Southwest, the Texas line connecting major cities, and the Northwest corridor linking bustling urban centers are paving the way for a new era of travel.

High-speed rail presents a compelling alternative to traditional modes of transportation. With trains reaching speeds of up to 200 mph, these systems offer a comfortable, cost-effective, and time-efficient way to travel. Compared to flying, high-speed rail eliminates the hassles of airport security checks and long wait times, while surpassing the speed of driving without the stress of being behind the wheel. Passengers can unwind, be productive, or simply enjoy the journey, making it a holistic travel experience.

Beyond the convenience and comfort it offers, high-speed rail holds immense promise in reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change. The potential environmental impact of projects like the Brightline West is staggering, with estimates suggesting that millions of cars could be taken off the road, significantly curbing carbon pollution. Given the alarming statistics on the environmental cost of traditional transportation, transitioning to high-speed rail is a crucial step towards mitigating the harmful effects of climate change.

The urgency of addressing climate change cannot be overstated. The emissions released from burning fossil fuels are driving global warming at an alarming rate, leading to catastrophic consequences such as extreme weather events and environmental degradation. By opting for public transportation like high-speed rail, individuals can contribute to cooling down the planet and reducing their carbon footprint. Additionally, embracing sustainable modes of travel such as walking and biking not only promotes environmental conservation but also enhances personal health and well-being.

As the U.S. accelerates its efforts to embrace high-speed rail and other eco-friendly transportation options, we are moving closer to a future where sustainability and efficiency go hand in hand. By choosing to ride the rails, we are not only embarking on exciting journeys but also taking meaningful steps towards a cleaner, greener planet for generations to come.

If you are interested about high speed rail in America, check out these articles:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acela

https://www.hsr.ca.gov/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brightline

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_the_United_States

https://stmdailynews.com/category/the-bridge/urbanism/

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  • Rod Washington

    Rod: A creative force, blending words, images, and flavors. Blogger, writer, filmmaker, and photographer. Cooking enthusiast with a sci-fi vision. Passionate about his upcoming series and dedicated to TNC Network. Partnered with Rebecca Washington for a shared journey of love and art.

    View all posts

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Progress and Setbacks: Amtrak’s Journey Towards High-Speed Trains in the Northeast Corridor

After years of delays and setbacks, Amtrak is nearing the introduction of new high-speed trains in the Northeast Corridor, promising faster travel.

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2nd test run of Pre-production Acela II on the PH Line. Amtrak has full rights to this image. New Acela 21 in Testing

After years of challenges and setbacks, Amtrak is edging closer to introducing new high-speed trains to the bustling Northeast Corridor. Following a series of delays and rigorous safety and design disputes, the new trains have finally received clearance from the Federal Railroad Administration to commence track testing along the route from Washington, D.C., to Boston.

The Avelia Liberty trains, with a price tag of about $1.6 billion, are set to replace the aging Acela fleet. Promising a maximum speed of 160 miles per hour and increased passenger capacity, these sleek red, white, and blue trains are expected to offer a faster and smoother ride, featuring enhanced tilt technology for navigating curves.

However, the project has been plagued by setbacks, with the trains now three years behind schedule. Despite initial hopes for a 2024 launch, the exact date for passenger service remains uncertain. The challenges have included issues with computer modeling, delays in train delivery, and the need for significant repairs and upgrades to the Northeast Corridor tracks.

Amid these challenges, Amtrak has spent over $48 million on maintaining the outdated Acela trains. The journey towards high-speed rail in the Northeast has been a bumpy one, marked by unanticipated obstacles and contractual oversights. Nevertheless, as Amtrak and Alstom move forward with on-track testing, stakeholders are hopeful that the identified problems will pave the way for a smoother testing phase and eventual passenger service.

As the saga continues, the industry will keenly observe how these new trains perform on the Northeast Corridor, with a collective hope that this technological leap will ultimately redefine travel on one of America’s busiest rail corridors.

Author

  • Rod Washington

    Rod: A creative force, blending words, images, and flavors. Blogger, writer, filmmaker, and photographer. Cooking enthusiast with a sci-fi vision. Passionate about his upcoming series and dedicated to TNC Network. Partnered with Rebecca Washington for a shared journey of love and art.

    View all posts

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