Amtrak Begins Process of Replacing its Overnight Railcar Fleet

Just one month after Amtrak sent out a request for information regarding replacement railcars for its overnight routes, the US railroad company has received submissions from ten manufacturers.

The request was sent to potential suppliers defining and describing the scope of Amtrak’s overnight train fleet including its Superliner I and II, Viewliner I and II and Amfleet II railcars. This marks the first formal step to completely requipping Amtrak’s long-distance network.

The new vehicles will be used to provide 14 overnight routes across the country including the Auto Train, California Zephr, Southwest Chief and Empire Builder.

Amtrak serves over 500 destinations across the US

Some of Amtrak’s existing fleet of overnight railcars entered service as far back as 1979, and most of the equipment in the current fleet will approach the end of its service life in just ten years’ time.

Tony Coscia, Chair of the Board at Amtrak, said:

“Purchasing new long distance train cars will allow Amtrak to upgrade and modernise the iconic and vital overnight services that link our nation’s major regions.

“We’re looking for new trains that improve safety, reliability, accessibility and efficiency while offering the features our customers believe are most important to modernizing overnight train travel for the 21st century.”

Coscia says this represents the final phase in Amtrak’s long-term plan to replace its trains—beginning with new Acela equipment and continuing with the Airo trains announced last month.

Funding for the railcars will come via the US federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Amtrak plans to issue a formal procurement request later this year.

As part of this project, Amtrak is also researching design elements and customer facilities to improve overnight and cross-country train travel in the future.

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