Amtrak is implementing the first step in a long-term, comprehensive fleet renewal plan with the purchase of 130 new single-level railcars to support its long-distance train services.
The five-year, $298.1 million contract is being awarded to CAF USA, which is creating 575 jobs to perform manufacturing and final assembly work at its plant in Elmira, N.Y. The first car is scheduled to roll off the assembly line in October 2012.
"This major equipment purchase demonstrates our strong belief in the future of intercity passenger rail in America and Amtrak's leading role in meeting this critical national transportation need," said President/CEO Joseph Boardman.
Boardman added that the 130 single-level passenger railcars are similar to the popular Viewliner model and includes 25 sleeping cars, 25 diners, 55 baggage cars and 25 baggage/dormitory cars for use primarily on long-distance trains. They will replace and supplement the existing fleet, improve financial and on-time performance, and foster a more modern, positive image of Amtrak.
Additionally, Amtrak can begin to retire some of its oldest cars still in service that date back to the 1940s and 1950s.
Passengers will experience many improvements with the new equipment including: modern interiors with better layouts; better lighting and more efficient air conditioning and heating systems; additional outlets to power personal electronic devices; bicycle racks in the baggage cars; as well as improved accessibility for passengers with disabilities.
CAF USA along with its parent company, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles of Beasain, Spain, is an experienced railcar manufacturer to the U.S. and world markets. CAF USA will manufacture the stainless steel car shells and perform final assembly of the cars at its Elmira, N.Y., facility where it currently produces transit rail equipment for several U.S. transit systems.