Amtrak, California High-Speed Rail Authority Looking for High-Speed Trains

Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) last month issued a request for proposals to build modern, state-of-the-art high-speed train sets.

The train sets, officials contend, are needed to meet Amtrak’s short-term need to expand the capacity on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and also the long-term operational needs of both Amtrak and the Authority. Amtrak wants up to 28 high-speed train sets, each with between 400 and 450 seats, which can meet or exceed current Acela Express trip-times on the existing NEC infrastructure between Washington, New York and Boston.

In California, the Authority wants an initial order of 15 train sets which will have a minimum of 450 seats that can meet its planned trip-time requirements for service from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles on what will be largely brand new infrastructure.

A goal of the procurement is to identify whether established high-speed rail equipment manufacturers have service-proven designs that can meet both the short-term needs of Amtrak and the long-term operational needs of the Authority and Amtrak with little or no modification.

Officials also home the joint procurement of equipment with a large degree of commonality will result in lower unit acquisition and life cycle costs for both Amtrak and the Authority, while helping expand the U.S. role in high-speed rail equipment manufacturing.