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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.

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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

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“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

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“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)

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“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)

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“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

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“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

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“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

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“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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That year LA declared it was at “Peak Car!”

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Peak Car
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Was there a time it was consider that “The City of Angeles,” had reached “Peak Car?”

I recently came across an article posted by the Metro Digital Resources Librarian on the Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive web site run by Metro Los Angeles. The article talked about LA’s new obsession with the automobile and how it gained popularity, in the early 1920s.

Library researchers pointed out that notable resources concurred with this, including Scott L. Bottles’ Los Angeles and the Automobile: The Making of the Modern City, and Ashleigh Brilliant’s The Great Car Craze, How Southern California Collided with the Automobile in the 1920s.

The automobile was new and fresh, and also offered freedom to its owners, who realized that they could become more mobile and not rely solely on the massive LA street car network at the time.  The number of vehicle registrations in Los Angeles had quadrupled in just an eight-year period from 1914-1922.

“Automobile use exploded as the passenger vehicle transitioned from a hobbyist’s pursuit to a relatively affordable means of getting around the sprawling region and beyond.”

Metro Librarian found out what was happening on the public transit side of the story when they found an article published in Electric Railway Journal titled “California and Her Tractions, Part II.

MetroDigital Resource Librarian:

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As one of several features titled “A Series of Articles on Salient Phases of the Electric Railway Situation,” author Edward Hungerford details the then current state of public transit in the Los Angeles area.

And within that overview, he interviews Paul Shoup, Pacific Electric Railways president and vice-president of Southern Pacific Company.

Hungerford documents Pacific Electric’s earnings in a recent six-month period, and asks Shoup “for the real translation of these figures.”

Shoup responds by stating:

They mean that the peak of the competition of the automobile, publicly or privately owned or operated, has been reached out here — and passed. Not only is the rapidly rising cost of cars and tires and gasoline and oil beginning to deter the overenthusiastic motorists, but I think that the novelty of excessive motor riding also is rather wearing off. The hazards of driving on crowded highways are becoming more apparent and parking spaces in towns and cities more a question of doubt.

In addition to our great numbers of motor stage routes in every direction, we now have some 500,000 automobiles in California licensed for pleasure purposes, to which should be added the cars owned and operated by the 100,000 Easterners who come out here every winter. The competitive effect of all these cars has been, and still is, vast indeed. But we already can see in it a declining curve.

Yes, you read that right, Shoup declared that personal vehicle usage had peaked and that it was on the decline.

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Shoup explains that Los Angeles Railway profits were consistent with those of Pacific Electric, but acknowledges that “increases in both operating cost and taxes had gone ahead a little more than proportionately.” But he intimates that the rising cost of automobile operation (gas, tires) means that cars will cease their encroachment into transit’s share of mobility.

MetroDigital Resource Librarian:

This statement was part of an interview published in a national journal. Was he telling industry professionals what they wanted to hear? Did he want to assuage fears of rail employees that their jobs were going to disappear as more people purchased and used automobiles? Was he hoping that his perspective would turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy so he could remain atop Pacific Electric and Southern Pacific?

You can read the full article here: https://metroprimaryresources.info/when-los-angeles-was-declared-to-have-hit-peak-car-in-1920/15665/

https://stmdailynews.com/category/stm-blog/blog/

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BRIGHTLINE REVEALS FIRST LOOK INSIDE ITS ORLANDO STATION

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ORLANDO, FL – Brightline, the only provider of modern, eco-friendly, intercity rail in America, is pulling back the curtain on Central Florida’s latest attraction, Brightline’s Orlando Station. Today, Brightline released a video and renderings of the future station, located at Orlando International Airport, that will connect millions and regionalize the state. The station spans three-stories, featuring groundbreaking design and a unique synthesis of luxury amenities that meet the demand of today’s modern traveler. Opening this year, Brightline’s Orlando Station will revolutionize train travel in America and continue Brightline’s vision of offering a guest-first travel experience.

The guest journey begins at the main entrance, located off the airport’s expansive two-story glass atrium. Once inside the station, passengers can purchase tickets from guest services or one of several self-service kiosks, and check luggage before proceeding through touchless turnstiles into the security screening area. Brightline is currently the only rail system in America that screens all passengers and bags prior to boarding. 

“This world-class train station continues our mission of transforming train travel in America,” said Patrick Goddard, president at Brightline. “We have carefully thought through each detail of this station to ensure that it exceeds the expectations of the modern traveler.”

The station takes the luxury amenities Brightline is known for to new heights featuring an upscale retail experience with convenient in-station shopping and its Mary Mary Bar, serving hand-crafted cocktails and lite bites. The signature sit-down bar is positioned at the far end of the station with a stunning panoramic view overlooking the train platform where guests can leisurely watch as trains arrive and depart the platform. 

Located above the Mary Mary bar is an iconic, flip-flap message board that can rotate alphanumeric text and/or graphics to form a message. A nostalgic nod to historic train stations, the flip-flap will provide updated train schedules, boarding times, news of the day and other announcements complete with the flip-flap sound reminiscent of the first passenger train stations in America.

Passengers will access trains by escalator or elevators to the first level platform and board from one of two new track platforms. These platforms are 1,000 feet long and will accommodate a train with four coaches and two locomotives that will transport guests on the Orlando to Miami route in just over three hours.

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Brightline offers two classes of service, SMART and PREMIUM. Brightline’s PREMIUM service, will provide complimentary drinks and snacks in a dedicated lounge and train coach. Throughout the station, all guests will have access to free high-speed Wi-Fi, charging stations at every seat, 87 big screen televisions and a children’s play area located in the SMART lounge.

The 37,350 square foot station is located in the heart of Orlando International Airport’s new 80,000 sq. ft. Terminal C and connects directly to the airport’s parking deck C, which will have more than 350 parking spaces reserved for Brightline guests. An automated people mover connects the terminal to the rest of the airport facilities including Terminal A and B in under five minutes.

Brightline’s Orlando station is designed by Bigtime Design Studios, an architecture firm based out of Miami, Florida, that also designed the newly opened Brightline stations in Boca Raton and Aventura, alongside the architect of record Sonny Fornoles of Borrelli + Partner. The buildout of the station is led by Orlando-based contractor Gomez Construction Co., a minority owned business whose headquarters are based in Orlando, Florida, and employs more than 100 workers on this project.

For more information about Brightline’s Orlando station, visit www.gobrightline.com/orlando.

Source: Brightline

Link: https://stmdailynews.com/blog/

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Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering Sets to Usher in the Era of Unmanned Ships

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  • Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) aims to demonstrate machinery and safety system automation as the next step to successful autonomous transoceanic voyage
  • After completion of demonstration in 2024, the company plans to employ unmanned ship technologies for the first time in large merchant vessels

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 8, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE), the intermediate holding company of HD Hyundai, is joining hands with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) to take another step forward to developing unmanned ships that can navigate and perform safety diagnosis without human assistance. KSOE signed a MOU with ABS on the development and demonstration of automated machinery and integrated safety control system in autonomous ships on January 6 in Las Vegas during CES 2023. The MOU signing ceremony was attended by: Kisun Chung, President and CEO of HD Hyundai and KSOE; Sungjoon Kim, Senior Executive Vice President (SEVP) of KSOE; Jeon Seung-ho, Senior Executive Vice President of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), and from ABS, by Christopher J. Wiernicki, CEO and Patrick Ryan, CTO.

Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) and the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) signed an MOU on the development and demonstration of machinery automation solutions for autonomous ships on January 6 in Las Vegas. (From right: Jeon Seung-ho, Senior Executive Vice President of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI); Kisun Chung, President and CEO of HD Hyundai; Sungjoon Kim, Senior Executive Vice President (SEVP) of KSOE; Patrick Ryan, CTO of ABS; Christopher J. Wiernicki, CEO of ABS.)

“We plan to cooperate with ABS on the AI-based LNG fuel propulsion system (Hi-GAS+) demonstration project that won the CES 2023 Innovation Award,” said Sungjoon Kim, SEVP and head of KSOE’s Advanced Research Center. “Through the MOU, we hope to further extend our lead in unmanned technology, that enables autonomous navigation and self-diagnosis of equipment and safety.”

ABS is one of world’s leading ship classification organizations that contributes to the stable growth of the shipbuilding and maritime industry by setting standards for safety and technological excellence for ships and offshore structures.

The two parties plan to demonstrate KSOE’s machinery automation system (HiCBM) and onboard integrated safety control system (HiCAMS) on actual ships for the first time globally by 2024. HiCBM and HiCAMS are AI-based solutions that allow ships to self-diagnose the condition of machinery and equipment within the ship such as engines and generators, and automatically recognize and respond to unexpected situations such as fire. KSOE obtained approval in principle (AIP) for the two systems from ABS in September 2022.

The two will work to bring a successful demonstration of the two systems which will mark the realization of the world’s first unmanned large merchant vessel ship capable of operating for long periods without the assistance of a navigator, engineer or even a deckhand.

“ABS is leading the industry in supporting autonomous projects and assisting pioneers like HD Hyundai and KSOE. Autonomous technologies that are fully integrated within the broader vessel infrastructure have the potential to increase safety by reducing human error,” said Patrick Ryan, ABS Senior Vice President, Global Engineering and Technology.

In June 2022, HD Hyundai’s subsidiary Avikus, installed the autonomous navigation system on a large merchant ship and succeeded in crossing the ocean for the first time in the world.

About HD Hyundai

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HD Hyundai is the world’s largest shipbuilding and heavy industries conglomerate. HD Hyundai started as a shipbuilder in 1972 in a small fishing village in Ulsan, the southeast of South Korea. On the foundation of solid leadership in the shipbuilding industry, it is now progressing to become the most innovative solution provider in the heavy industry and energy sectors, ranging from shipbuilding, offshore engineering and construction equipment to the refinery, petrochemical, and smart energy management businesses. Marking its 50th anniversary, the group was renamed to HD Hyundai to change the paradigm of traditional shipbuilding industry and emphasize its presence in other industries. 

SOURCE HD Hyundai

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