With the average age of Amtrak equipment just over 28 years, the rail network outlined an updated plan to replace aging locomotives and passenger railcars with the acquisition of new equipment necessary to meet the anticipated needs of its national network of intercity and high-speed passenger rail services.
“This strategy provides Amtrak with a flexible and adaptable approach to fleet management and will deliver an enhanced product to satisfy the expectations, wants and needs of our customers,” said President/CEO Joe Boardman.
Boardman explained that the updated fleet plan Amtrak Fleet Strategy Plan Version 3.1 is designed to provide a roadmap to replace and supplement the current Amtrak fleet in tiered procurements through 2023. Also, the plan is being developed with input from all Amtrak departments and is in alignment with the company’s broader strategic plan and goals.
Amtrak has built its fleet strategy on a thorough understanding of the intercity passenger rail business, a conservative view of its growth prospects and a clear vision to dramatically expand U.S. intercity passenger rail in collaboration with its federal and state partners on the foundation of rail’s inherent advantages as a greener and safer form of travel.
Presently, Amtrak has made two major equipment contract awards. The first is for 70 new electric locomotives to replace the entire electric locomotive fleet now operating on the Northeast and Keystone Corridors.
The $466 million contract was awarded to Siemens Transportation of Sacramento, Calif., which is to deliver units for service beginning in 2014. The other is for 130 new single-level long-distance cars consisting of diners, sleepers, baggage, and baggage/dormitory cars to replace some of the oldest equipment in the fleet that dates back to the 1940s and 1950s. The $298 million contract was awarded to CAF USA of Elmira, N.Y., which is to deliver units beginning in the fall of 2013.
The new equipment on order will improve reliability of operations, enhance financial and on-time performance, and foster a more positive and modern image of Amtrak.
In addition, Amtrak is heavily involved in and committed to the work of the Next Generation Equipment Committee, a partnership between Amtrak, the states, the Federal Railroad Administration and representatives of the rail industry. This committee was established by Congress under Section 305 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, and has to date, generated specifications for new corridor equipment including a multi-level car, a single-level car and a high-speed diesel locomotive. Amtrak will use these specifications in coming rounds of equipment procurement.