Amtrak unveiled its newest trains last week, which will go into service beginning in 2026 on at least 14 intercity routes in the eastern and western U.S. Designed to replace nearly half-century-old coaches, Siemens Mobility in Sacramento, California, will manufacture the trains.
Capable of speeds up to 125 mph, the new trains, dubbed Amtrak Airo, are more fuel efficient and feature improved customer amenities, according to Amtrak. They will be delivered as 83 trainsets, including coaches and locomotives, some of which will include the ability to operate on hybrid battery power.
Elected officials and transportation leaders in states due to see the Airo trains responded positively to the announcement. “With a record-breaking year of ridership, North Carolina is thrilled to enhance our travelers’ experience with new trains in the coming years,” said North Carolina Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette in a statement.
In Maine, where the Downeaster trains connect coastal cities with New Hampshire towns and Boston, Republican Sen. Susan Collins said in a statement, “This investment in new rail cars on routes like the Downeaster will enhance the overall experience and safety for riders as well as help promote the continued success of Amtrak in the years to come.”
Amtrak awarded the $7.3 billion contract to Siemens Mobility in July 2021, which the rail equipment manufacturer said is its largest-ever North American contract. Siemens also produces passenger coaches for Amtrak trains in the Midwest and California. In addition, the company is manufacturing 125 diesel-electric locomotives for Amtrak for long-distance trains.
A portion of the $66 billion in funding for rail from the 2021 infrastructure law will help pay for the Airo trains. Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose said, "With President Biden’s historic investments in Amtrak, we’re poised to make intercity passenger rail an even more efficient, convenient and accessible mode of travel for Americans.”
In addition, Amtrak’s new high-speed Acela trains for the Northeast Corridor, built by Alstom, are expected to enter service next year.