WASHINGTON – Amtrak has released a Request for Proposals today, for a new fleet of single-level passenger rail vehicles to replace Amfleet I cars, providing new equipment with contemporary rail amenities to better serve Amtrak customers. Amfleet I cars are used primarily on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and adjacent State Corridor routes, including Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Maple Leaf, Adirondack, Vermonter, Downeaster, Carolinian, Pennsylvanian, Keystone Service, Virginia Service and New Haven/Springfield Service.
“Nearly half of Amtrak’s annual ridership is comprised of trips along the Northeast Corridor and adjoining corridors, and this new state-of-the-art equipment will provide customers with an enjoyable and efficient travel experience,” said Amtrak Vice President of Corporate Planning Byron Comati.
Amenities will include improved Wi-Fi equipment and connectivity, improved seating, weather-tight doors and vestibules as well as freedom to move throughout the train conveniently. The modernized fleet will also feature large picture windows, improved climate control systems for passenger comfort and completely new designs for restrooms and passageways between cars. Also, the new rail equipment will feature bi-directional operating capability, which will minimize endpoint turnaround times and provide operating efficiency.
The new railcars and trainsets will include all necessary equipment for Positive Train Control technology and meet recently updated federal Tier I safety standards for equipment operating at speeds of up to 125 MPH. Also, the new equipment will adhere to all accessibility requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The new trainsets will replace Amtrak’s fleet of 470 Amfleet I and ex-Metroliner railcars. Amfleet I railcars are over 40 years of age, while Amtrak’s fleet of ex-Metroliner equipment entered service 50 years ago this week for Amtrak’s predecessor, Penn Central. The base order for the new replacements includes 75 trainsets or their railcar equivalents with options to provide equipment for future service growth along the NEC and other state-supported routes. While Amtrak has recently refurbished the interiors of its Amfleet I railcars with new seating upholstery and carpeting, the age of the fleet and industry-standard lead times for new equipment requires that the replacement effort for this work-horse fleet begin now.
The Amfleet I replacement is one more step in Amtrak’s plan to upgrade and enhance the passenger experience, complementing other onboard and in-station initiatives including: acquiring new, modern locomotives and Acela trainsets; ongoing improvements at New York Penn Station; opening the new Moynihan Train Hall in New York; and further development of stations in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia.