Amtrak Is Getting a $7.3 Billion Upgrade to Its Fleet of 50-Year-Old Trains

The 10-year-plan includes 83 new train cars and infrastructure improvements

New Acela Fleet testing on the Northeast Corridor

Courtesy of Amtrak

With an aging fleet of trains—many of which made their debut half a century ago—the United States' national rail service, Amtrak, is due for a major upgrade. Today, it announced that one is in the works.

Over the next 10 years, Amtrak plans to invest $7.3 billion in 83 state-of-the-art trains designed by California-based manufacturer Siemens Mobility, Inc., to replace portions of its fleets—specifically the Northeast Corridor services and the long-haul Palmetto line, as well as a few state-specific operations.

The new trains will have redesigned interiors with more comfortable seating and enhanced food service, but the most important feature will be the locomotives. They're designed to operate both on diesel fuel and electricity, and they're also bidirectional, meaning they don't have to turn around at the end of the line. Both of those features will speed up service, allowing Amtrak to expand its schedule.

“The new dual-powered locomotives will drastically improve rider experience, reducing the dwell time in Washington, D.C., that currently exists for an engine change,” DJ Stadtler, executive Director of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, said in a statement. “This will increase overall capacity and decrease travel time between anywhere in Virginia to New York City and Boston significantly.”

And given that the trains will be brand new, delays due to train maintenance should be reduced, cutting back on an issue that plagues Amtrak's current service.

“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,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. “This investment is essential to preserving and growing our Northeast Regional and state-supported services and will allow our customers to travel comfortably and safely, while deeply reducing criteria pollutants.”

There is a tiny caveat to this entire plan—Amtrak still needs to secure the funding for the project for it to move forward. Right now, Congress has pledged $200 million thus far, though Amtrak anticipates more budget to come through, per The Washington Post.

Was this page helpful?