Yesterday, Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and various states announced they approved design specifications for "next generation" bi-level passenger-rail cars, which will support Amtrak’s plan to advance new or existing state-supported corridor service. The cars also will renew and replace Amtrak's national fleet and help foster the development of a domestic rail manufacturing industry, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement.
“This provides strong direction so Amtrak and states can move forward with modern bi-level equipment designed with updated passenger comfort, conveniences and safety features to meet the ever-increasing demand for more rail service,” said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman.
The bi-level passenger car specifications are the first to be issued by the Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee established by of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, and include three car types for use in corridor intercity passenger-rail service: coach car, cab/baggage car, and cafe/lounge car.
Equipment used in corridor services acquired with federal funds must meet the design specifications resulting from the work of the committee, the FRA said.
With bi-level design specifications now in place for corridor service, Amtrak can design as the foundation for the development of new bi-level long-distance equipment to replace its aging Superliners, according to Amtrak.