Amtrak Planning to Acquire New Next-Generation High-Speed Train Sets

WASHINGTON – Amtrak is advancing plans to acquire new next-generation high-speed train sets and ending its plans to purchase 40 additional high-speed passenger cars to add to the existing Acela Express fleet.

In early 2013, Amtrak will issue a Request for Information (RFI) to formally start the process that will replace the existing 20 Acela Express train sets and add additional train sets to expand seating capacity and provide for more frequent high-speed service on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), the railroad said.

“Moving directly to new high-speed train sets is the best option to create more seating capacity, permit higher speeds, and maximize customer comfort all while improving equipment reliability and reducing operating costs,” said President and CEO Joe Boardman.

He explained that the previous plan to add 40 new passenger cars with newer technology to the older Acela train sets was a stop-gap measure, posed technical challenges and was determined not to be cost effective and insufficient to handle new ridership growth projections.

Boardman made the announcement before a Congressional committee saying that in the past two years Amtrak has moved forward a number of major proposals designed to address the NEC’s growth and development needs.