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 Regional, Empire Service, Virginia Services, Keystone Service, Downeaster, Cascades, Maple Leaf, New Haven/Springfield Service, Palmetto, Carolinian, Pennsylvanian, Vermonter, Ethan 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.
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.”
“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.”
The Flawed Perspective on High-Speed Rail in the United States
High-speed rail: Overcoming obstacles, embracing benefits
In a recent article titled “Why High-Speed Bullet Trains Won’t Work in the U.S. Right Now,” published in Scientific American, the author presents a pessimistic view on the feasibility of high-speed rail in the United States. While the article highlights the need for significant infrastructure upgrades, it fails to acknowledge the potential benefits and long-term value of investing in high-speed rail. This article aims to address the flaws in the argument presented and shed light on the importance of embracing high-speed rail as a transformative transportation solution.
Outdated Infrastructure and its Implications:
The article correctly points out that the existing rail infrastructure in the United States is not designed to handle high-speed trains. The tracks, bridges, tunnels, and power lines were built over a century ago for slower commuter and freight services. However, this observation overlooks the fact that high-speed rail requires dedicated tracks designed for faster speeds, similar to those found in many European and Asian countries.
The Need for Investment and Modernization:
To bring high-speed rail to the United States, significant investments are required to upgrade the aging infrastructure. President Joe Biden has recognized the importance of high-speed rail and has included it as one of the key initiatives to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. While the article highlights the financial challenges involved, it fails to acknowledge the long-term environmental and economic benefits that high-speed rail can bring.
Obstacles to Overcome:
The article outlines four key obstacles that complicate the implementation of high-speed rail in the United States. These include the need for track improvements, adherence to Buy America policies, a lack of domestic rail industry, and the need for adequate funding. While these challenges are indeed significant, they should not discourage the pursuit of high-speed rail. Instead, they should serve as opportunities to address and overcome these obstacles collectively.
Benefits of High-Speed Rail:
High-speed rail offers numerous advantages that can revolutionize transportation in the United States. It provides a greener alternative to driving and flying, reducing carbon emissions and alleviating congestion on highways and in airports. Additionally, high-speed rail enhances accessibility, connecting cities and regions more efficiently, boosting tourism, and stimulating economic growth along the rail corridors.
The Path Forward:
Despite the current limitations, progress is being made in bringing high-speed rail to the United States. Amtrak has plans to introduce new high-speed rail cars on the Northeast Corridor, albeit with speed restrictions due to the outdated infrastructure. The expansion of tracks capable of accommodating high-speed trains is also underway, with a goal of reaching speeds up to 160 mph on 100 additional miles of track in the next 12 years.
While the Scientific American article highlights the challenges and limitations associated with implementing high-speed rail in the United States, it fails to recognize its transformative potential and the long-term benefits it can bring. While significant investments and infrastructure upgrades are necessary, embracing high-speed rail presents an opportunity to revolutionize transportation, reduce carbon emissions, enhance connectivity, and spur economic development. By acknowledging the importance of high-speed rail and working collectively to overcome the obstacles, the United States can pave the way for a more sustainable and efficient transportation future.
Give feedback on proposed transit option for West Phoenix
Residents asked to weigh in on proposed transit type and route for West Phoenix. Public meetings held virtually on Sep. 21 and in person Sept. 27
Phoenix – Valley Metro and the city of Phoenix are seeking community feedback on the recommendation for the West Phoenix High-Capacity Transit Alternatives Analysis. The comprehensive study, initiated in fall 2022, seeks to identify a high-capacity transit option for West Phoenix residents.
The project team will host two public meetings and have an open public comment period to gather input on the recommended transit route and mode for West Phoenix, noted below.
Meetings will be held on the following dates:
Thursday, September 21, 2023 (virtual)
Join online at valley-metro.webex.com
Wednesday, September 27, 2023 (in person)
Desert West Community Center
6501 W. Virginia Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85035
The recommendation is for light rail transit on the route highlighted below:
Both meetings will provide identical presentation materials and be available in English and Spanish. View digital flyer with more information here.
Source: Valley Metro
Amtrak’s Case for Immediate Union Station Takeover: A Turning Point in Pursuit of Modernization
“Amtrak’s urgent court case for Union Station takeover: A pivotal moment for modernization efforts.”
Amtrak made a compelling case in court for the immediate takeover of Union Station in Washington, D.C. The company argued that seizing control of the station’s leasing rights from Union Station Investco (USI), a private company, is necessary to modernize the nation’s second-busiest intercity train hub. The hearing, presided over by Judge Amit P. Mehta, highlighted the growing tension between Amtrak and USI in recent months.
Amtrak had been engaged in settlement discussions with USI but reached an impasse after multiple meetings failed to produce a mutually agreeable purchase price. With increasing vacancies and a decline in ridership at Union Station, Amtrak sees the takeover as a crucial step towards revitalizing the transit hub.
The case represents a turning point in Amtrak’s efforts to assume control over the station’s operations and management, enabling them to pursue multibillion-dollar investments. Union Station is set to undergo a significant makeover in the coming decades, and Amtrak aims to play a central role in its transformation.
As the court proceedings continue, we eagerly await updates on this story. Amtrak’s pursuit of Union Station marks an important development in the future of intercity rail travel and the revitalization of one of the nation’s key transportation hubs. Stay tuned for further developments as this situation unfolds.
To learn more about this story, please read: https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2023/09/11/amtrak-eminent-domain-union-station-dc/
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