From Siemens: Amtrak’s Next-Gen Trainsets

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

Amtrak has awarded Siemens Mobility $3.4 billion in contracts to design, manufacture and provide technical support services and maintenance for 83 trainsets of two power configurations, with options for up to 130 additional trainsets. For Siemens, it is the company’s largest North American contract in history. For Amtrak, its total investment, with a long-term parts supply and service agreement, facility modifications and upgrades, and contingencies, is $7.3 billion. Deliveries are slated to commence in 2024.

The new equipment, which includes dual-power (AC catenary/diesel) locomotives and first-of-their-type Venture Hybrid battery trainsets,will operate on the Northeast Corridor, long distance Palmetto and various state-supported routes. It will replace Amtrak-owned Amfleet, Metroliner, and state-owned equipment on certain routes throughout the country. In addition to the Northeast Regional, other routes will include the AdirondackCarolinianCascadesDowneasterEmpire ServiceEthan Allen ExpressKeystone ServiceMaple Leaf, New Haven/Springfield Service (Amtrak Hartford Line and Valley Flyer)PennsylvanianVermonter and Virginia Services. 

Trainsets for the Northeast Corridor and state-supported routes will be delivered from 2024 through 2030, while the Venture Hybrid battery trainsets will begin testing in 2025. Hybrid battery operation will be employed for the portion of the fleet used on New York State’s Empire Service.

All the new trainsets will include remote monitoring and fully integrated digital diagnostics “for increased reliability,” Amtrak said. “These advanced features will enable Amtrak to test and develop new technology and introduce new maintenance approaches to drive efficiency, increase availability and reduce long-term costs. They will feature more comfortable seating, individual power outlets and USB ports, onboard Wi-Fi, enhanced lighting and panoramic windows, larger vestibules, a more contemporary food service experience, including self-service options, as well as state-of-the-art customer trip information, digital seat reservation system and navigation display systems. The trainsets have been designed with the latest health and safety standards, including enhanced HVAC, touchless restroom controls, automated steps, inductive hearing loops, accessible restrooms and vestibules, an accessible Food Service car, and lifts for customers with reduced mobility, including wheelchair users. 

“These trainsets will also provide a substantial environmental benefit through reduced criteria pollutants* compared to the existing fleet.  They will meet all the latest safety regulations and standards, providing improved structural safety. With expanded capacity and the ability to shorten trip time, Amtrak expects the new equipment to add more than 1.5 million riders, annually.”

The trainsets will be manufactured at Siemens Mobility’s rail manufacturing facility in Sacramento, Calif., and will comply with Federal Railroad Administration Buy America Standards. The facility is celebrating its 30th anniversary of operations this year as it continues to add to its more-than 2,100 employees. Siemens describes the plant as “one of the largest of its kind on the continent, and also one of the most sustainable, using a 2.1 MW solar panel installation to provide the majority of its power.” Customer services, maintenance and repair operations will be managed out of Siemens Mobility’s 60,000-square-foot McClellan Park plant, also located in Sacramento.

“These new trainsets will reshape the future of rail travel by replacing our aging 40-to-50-year-old fleet with state-of-the-art, American-made equipment,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. “This investment is essential to preserving and growing our Northeast Regional and state-supported services, and will allow our customers to travel comfortably and safely, while deeply reducing criteria pollutants.”

“These trainsets will offer Amtrak and its passengers the latest in sustainable and intelligent rail technology,” said Siemens Mobility CEO Michael Peter. “We believe hybrid battery and dual-powered trainsets will play an important role in reducing emissions and protecting the environment in the United States. In addition, through our digital services, Amtrak will receive real-time information about vehicle operations, allowing it to ensure that passengers arrive safely and efficiently. Amtrak’s investment illustrates America’s commitment to enhancing its rail systems, offering passengers a more sustainable option for travel.”

“These new trainsets, some of which will be our first hybrid battery operations in the United States, will transform the way Americans travel,” said Siemens Mobility Rolling Stock-North America President Michael Cahill. “Offering a more sustainable and comfortable travel experience, they will be built for excellence and built with pride in Sacramento. During the past decade, we’ve worked closely with Amtrak and its state partners to develop and deliver trains that meet the needs of America’s travelers. These next-generation trainsets build on that experience and offer much more.”

*The U.S. EPA has established national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for six of the most common air pollutants—carbon monoxide, lead, ground-level ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide—known as “criteria” air pollutants (or simply “criteria pollutants”). The presence of these pollutants in ambient air is generally due to numerous diverse and widespread sources of emissions. The primary NAAQS are set to protect public health. EPA also sets secondary NAAQS to protect public welfare from adverse effects of criteria pollutants, including protection against visibility impairment, or damage to animals, crops, vegetation or buildings. 

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