Amtrak Issues RFI for Zero-Emissions Technology

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
Image Courtesy of Amtrak

Image Courtesy of Amtrak

Amtrak announced April 16 that it has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to seek options that will help transform its rail fleet with zero-emissions technology, “marking progress towards the company’s long-range goal of eliminating emissions used to power Amtrak’s trains.”

“Finding the cleanest technologies to carry customers across our vast network will be transformative as we deliver a new era of rail,” said Amtrak President Roger Harris. “We are excited to take this important step toward providing safe and reliable service with a smaller impact on the environment.”

According to Amtrak, all qualified parties are encouraged to respond to the RFI, which supports the U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization by 2050. “Aiming to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2045 sits at the heart of Amtrak’s Climate Commitment,” the company said.

To reach this goal, the company says it has:

  • Committed to doubling ridership from 2019 levels to 66 million riders per year by 2040, displacing more energy-intensive cars and plane trips.
  • Procured more than half of the company’s electricity from carbon-free sources with the goal of achieving 100% by 2030.
  • Supported California partners in a May 2023 switch to renewable diesel (RD) on Amtrak Capitol Corridor, Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquins trains.

Additionally, the company has ordered the following:

  • 83 new Amtrak Airo trains that will operate on the fully electrified Northeast Corridor and on routes throughout the country producing 90% less particulate emissions in diesel operations.
  • 28 new all-electric, high-speed Acela trains that are designed to use 40% less energy per passenger than the existing Acela fleet.
  • EPA Tier 4 compliant Siemens Charger locomotives which significantly reduce criteria air pollutants (CAP) compared to existing equipment.

Much of Amtrak’s passenger fleet is powered by zero-emission equipment, including 108 electric Northeast Regional and Acela locomotives. Electric-powered locomotives produce no emissions when powered by carbon-free electricity. The results of the RFI, the company says, “will inform Amtrak’s future decisions to procure the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly fleet for deployment across Amtrak’s network.”

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