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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Amtrak issues updated fleet plan

Today, Amtrak released an updated version of its fleet plan outlining the railroad’s approach to replace aging locomotives and rail cars to meet future high-speed and intercity passenger-rail service needs.

Developed to align with Amtrak’s broader strategic plan and goals, the fleet plan calls for replacing and supplementing the railroad’s fleet with tiered procurements through 2023. Amtrak officials created the strategy with a conservative view of growth prospects and a vision of a significantly expanded U.S. intercity passenger-rail network in mind.

During the past two years, Amtrak has awarded two major equipment contracts. The railroad has purchased 70 electric locomotives to replace the fleet currently operating on the Northeast and Keystone corridors. The $466 million contract was awarded to Siemens, which is scheduled to begin delivering units in 2014. Amtrak also has ordered 130 single-level long-distance diner, sleeper, baggage and baggage/dormitory cars under a $298 million contract with CAF USA, which is scheduled to begin delivering units in fall 2013.

The new equipment will improve reliability, enhance financial and on-time performance and “foster a more positive and modern image of Amtrak,” according to a press release.

Meanwhile, Amtrak officials also have been involved in the Next Generation Equipment Committee, a partnership between Amtrak, the states, the Federal Railroad Administration and rail industry representatives. Established under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, the committee to date has developed specifications for new intercity passenger-rail equipment, including a multi-level car, single-level car and high-speed diesel locomotive. Amtrak will use the specifications in future equipment procurements.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/30/2012