On Friday, Amtrak announced it’s implementing the first step in a 30-year rail-car fleet renewal plan by purchasing 130 new single-level cars for long-distance services.
The national intercity passenger railroad awarded a five-year, $298.1 million contract to CAF USA, which will manufacture and complete final assembly work for the cars at its Elmira, N.Y., plant. The first car is scheduled to roll off the assembly line in October 2012, according to CAF USA, a subsidiary of Spanish rail-car manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles.
The order includes 55 baggage, 25 baggage/dormitory, 25 sleeping and 25 diner cars. The new cars will enable the railroad to replace and supplement its existing fleet, improve on-time performance, and retire some cars that date back to the 1940s and 1950s, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement. The cars will feature more modern interiors with better layouts, upgraded lighting and more efficient air conditioning and heating systems, and improved accessibility for disabled passengers.
Revenue — which is surpassing budget estimates in part because of record ridership — will cover the contract’s first-year total of $29.8 million; funding for subsequent years will be sought from other sources, such as loans or direct Congressional appropriations, Amtrak officials said.
The railroad currently is reviewing bids to replace many electric locomotives operated along the Northeast Corridor and might award a contract sometime this summer.
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