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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / Amtrak, Siemens finalize deal for new equipment (updated)

Amtrak, Siemens finalize deal for new equipment (updated)

By | July 7, 2021

Siemens says order for 73 trainsets includes hybrid, dual-power equipment

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Black and white drawing of new passenger equipment

 

Black and white drawing of new passenger equipment
An illustration provides a preliminary look at Amtrak’s new Siemens equipment, which will include dual-mode and hybrid trainsets. The design suggests a Siemens Charger locomotive front end mated to a passenger car. (Amtrak)

WASHINGTON — Amtrak and Siemens Mobility have reached agreement on contracts for 73 to 83 new trainsets to replace Amfleet I and related equipment on Northeast Corridor and state-supported services.

A press release from Siemens characterizes the deal as worth $3.4 billion, while Amtrak says the agreement is for $7.3 billion, including a long term parts and service agreement, facilities upgrades and other related expenses. The deal also includes options for up to 140 additional trainsets and related maintenance agreements.

The contract is the largest North American order in Siemens history. Amtrak had announced in April that it had chosen Siemens to build replacements for current Amfleet I equipment, but declined to offer additional details until contracts were finalized [see “Digest: Amtrak selects Siemens to build new intercity trainsets,” Trains News Wire, April 21, 2021].

“These new trains will reshape the future of rail travel by replacing our aging 40-to-50-year old fleet with state-of-the-art, American-made equipment,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said in a press release. “This investment is essential to preserving Northeast Regional and state-supported services for the future and will allow our customers to travel comfortably and safely, while reducing carbon emissions.”

The equipment will operate on the Northeast Corridor, the New York-Savannah, Ga., Palmetto, and state-supported routes, including the Adirondack, Carolinian, Amtrak Cascades, Downeaster, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Maple Leaf, Hartford Line and Valley Flyer, Pennsylvanian, Vermonter and Virginia services. It will replace Amfleet I cars, Metroliners, and various state-owned equipment, such as North Carolina’s car fleet.

The equipment order will include dual-power and battery hybrid trains, which should eliminate the need for engine changes on regional trains at Washington D.C., and the Vermonter at New Haven, as well as the dual-mode locomotives currently used on Empire Corridor trains into New York’s Penn Station. Still to be specified is how much of the order is for dual-mode or hybrid equipment, and details of the makeup of the trainsets.

“These new trains, some of which will be our first hybrid battery operations in the United States, will transform the way Americans travel,” Siemens Mobility President Michael Cahill said. “…Over the past decade, we’ve worked closely with Amtrak and its state partners to develop and deliver trains that meet the needs of America’s travelers, these next generation trainsets build on that experience and offer much more.”

Passenger cars with multicolor exterior striping
Siemens Venture passenger cars for Amtrak’s San Joaquins await service in Stockton, Calif. The new Amtrak order is based on Venture equipment. (Bob Johnston)

The new equipment will be built at Siemens’ plant in Sacramento, Calif. It will feature predictive maintenance technology and real-time digital monitoring. For riders, trains will include features such as individual power outlets and USB ports, onboard WiFi, a digital seat reservation system, and trip information and digital navigation displays. They will have accessible restrooms, vestibules, and food service cars, wheelchair lifts, and inductive hearing loops.

The first equipment is slated to be delivered in 2024 with the first Venture Hybrid trainsets arriving in 2025. Deliveries will continue through 2030.

Siemens is currently in the midst of building a 137-car order of Venture cars for use on state-supported trains in California and the Midwest. Various issues have delayed the introduction of those cars in service, although an Amtrak official said in June that the cars could begin operation as early as late this month.

— Updated at 1:25 p.m. CDT with additional information from Amtrak. Watch Trains News Wire for further details and additional analysis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 thoughts on “Amtrak, Siemens finalize deal for new equipment (updated)

      1. I know beggars can’t be choosers, I hope new long distance equipment will be like the Viewliners in the east.
        Of Amtrak doesn’t go with high level cars in the west, you’ll be looking at 18 car trains.

        1. It is very likely that they will be single-level. Take a look at the Siemens Nightjet Sleepers that are being built for Austria. They are based on the Ventures, and thus they could very easily be modified for North American service. It would allow for the streamlining of the majority of Amtrak’s fleet if they went with more Siemens cars. Thus I think that a LD Venture will be made.

  1. Anyone know how to submit a correction? This order does not include equipment replacement owned by NCDOT. They have their own federal grant money to purchase their own equipment for the Piedmont service. The state-owned equipment Amtrak references in the article are for Washington and Oregon who own the Cascades trainsets…

  2. The article refers to “trains” instead of cars. How many cars per train? Dining service? Sleeper service? Lounge cars? One would hope so, in light of the train consists these are targeted to replace.

  3. Gotta wonder where this leaves the ACS64s that were purchased in greater quantity than needed for the number of NERegionals they were operating at the time and certainly even now. And how about that “predictive maintenance technology” and “real time digital monitoring”. Do the SC44s based at CHI and owned by ILDOT have those features? If so, reading some of the posts on the Trainorders.com “Passenger Trains” forum, one would conclude those features are either not working or the Mech Dept at Amtrak’s 14th Street facility are ignoring them. To Mr. Sanchez, you need to smell the sour stench coming from Stephen Gardner’s kitchen. He does not want to operate those trains. He and Mr. Flynn have no intentions of ordering LD coaches, sleepers, lounges, and diners to replace the Superliners and add to the eastern eq pool. That’s the only reason I can think of for the well-publicized “refresh” of those cars. And purchases of new cars for the LDs only makes sense if those routes gain at least a second train on a complimentary schedule if not a third. The one train in 24 hours after 50 years of operation is not going to cut it anymore. But Amtrak cannot double or treble LD frequencies because the freight railroads no longer have the mainline track capacity needed to operate them efficiently. And no one is going to pay to put it back.

    1. If you read between the lines of the Amtrak press release it sounds like dual diesel and electrics for Virginia trains and possible the pennsylvanian. The dual diesel battery trains will replace empire corridor trains–probably just displacing the P32 ACDMs. Probably everything else will use existing ACS 64s. More details would be nice, but that is what the text implies.

    2. Your opinion has a few holes in it. First of all, do you remember a few years back when Amtrak refurbished the Amfleets? That was a temporary solution to extend their life and comfort levels, but now replacements will be ordered. Same goes with the LD fleet, first a refresh to extend their lives until new equipment is delivered, and then the order comes. Second of all, Mr. Gardner and Mr. Flynn have both publicly said that new LD equipment will be/has to be ordered. Even if they don’t want to run the trains (if that were true, then why invest in a fleet refresh and dining improvements), Congress has made it clear that Amtrak will continue running them. This all just takes time.

  4. Well Mr. Sanchez we’ll see. But at the risk of sounding like a broken record I will repeat that any and all programs to continue the LD services must include an expansion of frequencies. And for that to happen USDOT, AAR, and top management teams of the host railroads must have a series of meetings, to hash out win-win solutions so the passengers and the freights can not step on each other under normal operating conditions. Despite all the high-falutin talk about expanding passenger rail nationwide that came out of the Obama administration, at least before the Republican sweep of 2010, no effort was made to bring the host railroads to the table. And it’s not happening now. Let’s take the Lake Shore as an example. That in 50 years that train hasn’t grown at the very least into a NY-CHI with a BOS connection and a BOS-CHI with a NY connection, on complimentary schedules, is pathetic. But there it is. But try running 6 LDs (includes the Capitol) on NS Cleveland-Porter, IN and then add the Michigan trains Porter west without a major program to add track capacity and operational flexibility. But who pays for the latter?

    1. IF the threshold for state0supported rotes is shorter, then we might see those frequencies.

  5. For the LD Trains they need to stick with Bi level Cars, they shouldn’t go to single level cars and plus they should give another builder a try since 1 manufacturer could build something that proves better then Siemens.

    1. I would disagree with you there. Singe-levels are safer and most importantly, readily available.

  6. The article could use a little clarity. The N.E. Regional rail trains mentioned, are those that would need Dual Power, much like the trains that once used the General Motors FL-9, only these will use catenary instead of third-rail. For instance, the Pennsylvanian can use catenary to Harrisburg, then convert to diesel to Pittsburg.
    The ACS-64 are strictly electric, and used on Regional trains, as apposed to the Acela Express, which is also being up-graded to the Avelia Liberty. The ACS-64 replaced the AEM7 on the Regional rail trains, between Boston and Washington.
    The old Amfleet cars built by Budd, served well for 40 – 50 years.

    I still have my doubts on the Battery Hybrid locomotives, when you consider it also has to handle electric power (HEP) to the passenger cars for HVAC and lighting. That is a lot to expect for any battery.

    1. I am very curious as to this battery solution. I would not be surprised if the locomotive had an electric generator to help out the battery car. Keep in mind, it only has to run on battery between New York and Croton-Hamron.

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