WASHINGTON – With its intercity passenger rail equipment nearing an average age of 26 years, Amtrak issued an updated fleet strategy plan that analyzes the company’s need to replace its existing conventional and high-speed fleet and manage capacity to meet the forecasted growth in ridership across its national network.
Since its initial publication last year, the plan is updated throughout to reflect the current state of the fleet, programs that are underway and changes in the larger business environment.
For example, last year Amtrak awarded two major equipment contracts. One is for 130 single-level cars to replace the oldest cars in the fleet and provide increased capacity for long-distance trains. The other is for 70 electric locomotives to replace all those now in use on the Northeast and Keystone Corridors to improve reliability and support future service expansion.
The updated plan also provides more detail on the recent Amtrak announcement that the railroad intends to begin procurement in fiscal year 2012 of 40 additional Acela Express cars to increase capacity on all 20 existing high-speed trainsets, if funding is identified. New to the plan is discussion about development work now underway to support more frequent Acela service with the acquisition of a new fleet of high-speed trainsets to expand Amtrak’s premium service.
There is also an extensive update on the work of the Next Generation Equipment Committee, a partnership between Amtrak, states, the Federal Railroad Administration and industry participants. The group has generated specifications for new corridor equipment including a bi-level car, a single-level car and a high-speed diesel locomotive. Amtrak will use these specifications in coming rounds of equipment procurement.
The plan provides Amtrak with a flexible and adaptable strategy to fleet development to meet demand for service now and in the future, and support the growth of a domestic manufacturing base vital for the success of intercity passenger rail in America.
It will be posted here on Amtrak.com under the Comprehensive Business Plan section