Amtrak seeks proposals for equipment to replace Amfleet I cars

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Could future Amtrak trains in the Northeast look something like this? A Brightline train awaits boarding in Miami on Jan. 11, 2019. Amtrak has issued a request for proposal for new single-level passenger cars; the Brightline cars, built by Siemens, are the newest intercity equipment in the U.S. and the basis for cars on order for state-supported Amtrak service in California and the Midwest.
TRAINS: David Lassen

WASHINGTON — Amtrak has released a Request for Proposals seeking new single-level equipment to replace Amfleet I cars on the Northeast Corridor and adjacent state services.

According to a press release issued late Friday afternoon, the new equipment will be bidirectional, meet federal standards for operation at up to 125 mph, meet accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and include all equipment required for positive train control operation. Amtrak also says the new equipment will include large windows, improved climate control systems, improved seating and wi-fi, weather-tight doors and vestibles, and new designs for restrooms and passageways between cars.

The deadline for proposals is March 15, 2019, according to Amtrak’s procurement website. The passenger carrier says it could accept one or more proposals.

The equipment will replace Amtrak’s 470 Amfleet I and ex-Metroliner cars; the Amfleet cars are over 40 years old, while the ex-Metroliner equipment entered service 50 years ago this week for Penn Central.

State-supported Amtrak services in California and the Midwest have already ordered new single-level cars from Siemens, based on the cars in use on Florida’s Brightline. [See “Siemens to build next generation passenger cars,” Trains News Wire, Nov. 9, 2017.] That 137-car order replaced an order for 130 bilevel cars, placed in 2012, that fell apart when Nippon Sharyo was unable to produce a car which could meet the order’s structural requirements. [See “Expensive questions surface with changed passenger car order,” Trains News Wire, Nov. 9, 2017.]

In December, VIA Rail Canada also ordered new single-level corridor equipment requiring bidirectional operation. Siemens will also build that equipment. [See "VIA Rail Canada, Siemens announce deal for new corridor equipment," Trains News Wire, Dec. 13, 2018.]

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