Amtrak is preparing to replace its overnight trains with more sustainable and efficient models, marking the first step to replace its Long Distance Network, which consists of 14 overnight routes across the United States.
Ten manufacturers submitted their ideas on replacement railcars for the network, which include current Superliner I & II, Viewliner I & II and Amfleet II railcars. These railcars take travelers from coast to coast onboard routes such as the California Zephyr, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief and more. The first of these 800-some railcars began service in 1979, and are reaching their end of service within the next decade.
“Purchasing new long distance train cars will allow Amtrak to upgrade and modernize the iconic and vital overnight services that link our nation’s major regions. We are looking for new trains that improve safety, reliability, accessibility, and efficiency while offering the features our customers believe are most important to modernizing overnight train travel for the 21st century,” said Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia.
Amtrak expects to issue a formal procurement request for new railcars using funding provided by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The line has already ordered 125 new diesel-electric locomotives, mostly for the Long Distance Network.
“Amtrak’s progress in replacing its overnight trains with funds provided in the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is welcome news for America’s heartland. This investment in modern equipment will bring comfortable, more efficient, and more reliable rail service to Nebraska, and all other states where Amtrak operates long distance trains such as the California Zephyr,” said Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb.
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