Amtrak News

All of the latest news about America’s Passenger Rail System: Amtrak.


Amtrak is bringing 130 new single-level long distance cars to the rails by the end of 2014.

Manufactured by CAF USA in Elmira, N.Y., these new passenger cars have a little bit of everything and a whole lot of improvements.  Here are some facts about our Amtrak’s long distance cars.

  • How Many New Cars?  The new cars include 25 sleeper cars, 25 dining cars, 25 baggage/dormitory cars and 55 baggage cars. Yes, that's a lot of new equipment, and we can't wait!
  • A Place to Hang Your ... Bike.  Our new baggage cars even have bike racks, which means no more bike boxes!
  • Speedier  With the new design features, the cars traveling on the Northeast Corridor will have the ability to increase their top speeds to 125 mph.


On Feb. 7, 2014 Amtrak Northeast Regional #171 departed Boston, a new era of mobility began as the first of 70 new advanced technology electric locomotives entered revenue service.  The modern equipment provides more reliable and efficient service for passengers, and will power the Northeast region’s economic growth and continued prosperity.  


 “Amtrak is integral to the daily life of the Northeast and the new locomotives will keep the people and businesses of the region connected and on the move,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.  “New equipment ensures Amtrak can deliver the reliable service the region depends on and supports the growth of the region as America’s economic powerhouse.”


“Beyond improved reliability of service, the new locomotives represent a prudent business decision to invest in the future of the Northeast region and better position Amtrak to support ridership growth in the coming years,” said Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia. The new locomotives will serve as the strong workhorses of Amtrak Northeast Corridor operations, power all Northeast Regional and long-distance trains between Washington, New York and Boston, and match existing trip-times at speeds up to 125 mph.  Eventually, they also will operate on the Keystone Service between New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa.  


The Siemens-built electric locomotives, known as the Amtrak Cities Sprinter, are being assembled at its solar-powered rail manufacturing plant in Sacramento, Calif.  The equipment includes parts built from Siemens plants in Norwood, Ohio, Alpharetta, Ga., and Richland, Miss., and nearly 70 other suppliers, representing more than 60 cities and 23 states.  “We are extremely proud to serve as a rail technology partner for Amtrak,” said Michael Cahill, President of Siemens Rail Systems in the U.S.  “Through our teamwork with Amtrak, we are not only delivering improved performance, we’re boosting American manufacturing.  Our innovation, expertise and proven technology are helping transportation operators across the country keep the economy moving.”    


The new locomotives are designed for improved reliability and easier maintenance leading to faster turn-around times and increased availability for service. A state-of-the-art microprocessor system performs self-diagnosis of technical issues, takes self-corrective action and notifies the locomotive engineer.  In addition, there are redundant systems to ensure power is maintained to the passenger cars to keep heating and cooling systems working, the lights on and the doors operational.  The locomotives also meet the latest federal rail safety regulations, including crash energy management components.  Furthermore, the locomotives are energy efficient and use a regenerative braking system to feed energy back into the power grid.  Together, the 70 locomotives could save over 3 billion- kilowatt hours of energy and could result in more than $300 million in savings over 20 years. The new locomotives will replace older equipment that have between 25 and 35 years of service and average mileage of more than 3.5 million miles traveled with some approaching 4.5 million miles.  Amtrak expects to have several more new locomotives enter revenue service in the coming weeks and then will receive monthly delivery of the remaining units through 2015.    


On November 13, 2013, Amtrak and Siemens debuted  the first group of ACS-64 Electric Locomotives, called the Cities Sprinter.  These new locomotives will replace the entire fleet of 70 Northeast Regional units, currently AEM-7’s, by 2014 with an investment of $466 million.  The new ACS-64’s are capable of running at 125MPH in sections of the Northeast Corridor where permitted.

The ACS-64 is built in the USA – Sacramento California with parts coming from suppliers in 23 states.  Here’s a behind the scenes video from he factory floor and the first ACS-64 rolling off the line!



ACS-64 Facts & Figures:


  • Made in America
    The assembly of the
    Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) will provide work for 69 local manufacturers in 23 states across 60 cities in the United States.
  • Shiny and New
    70 new locomotives are replacing equipment that has been in service for more than 25 years and average mileage of more than 3.5 million miles traveled. The new locomotives are part of our comprehensive Fleet Strategy Plan to modernize and add equipment.
  • Keeping it Green
    Our new locomotives will be easier to maintain,
    more energy efficient and provide improved performance for regional and intercity routes.
  • Powerful
    ACS-64 can reach speeds up to 125 mph pulling up to 18 Amfleet coach cars.
  • East Bound
    Amtrak Cities Sprinter will operate on the Northeast and Keystone corridors as well as on long-distance trains on the Northeast corridor.
  • Testing Makes Perfect
    Three locomotives will undergo a variety of tests this summer including
    ride quality, maximum speed and diagnostics. The testing will take place at the U.S. Department of Transportation facility in Pueblo, Colorado and on the Northeast corridor.
  •  Two by Two
    The first locomotive is expected to begin service in fall 2013. The remaining units are scheduled for delivery two per month through 2016.




Next-generation equipment best option to meet growing ridership demand.


WASHINGTON – In order to better meet strong and growing ridership demand on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), Amtrak is advancing plans to acquire new next-generation high-speed train sets and ending its plans to purchase 40 additional high-speed passenger cars to add to the existing Acela Express fleet.


In early 2013, Amtrak will issue a Request for Information (RFI) to formally start the process that will replace the existing 20 Acela Express train sets and add additional train sets to expand seating capacity and provide for more frequent high-speed service on the NEC.


“Moving directly to new high-speed train sets is the best option to create more seating capacity, permit higher speeds, and maximize customer comfort all while improving equipment reliability and reducing operating costs,” said President and CEO Joe Boardman. He explained that the previous plan to add 40 new passenger cars with newer technology to the older Acela train sets was a stop-gap measure, posed technical challenges and was determined not to be cost effective and insufficient to handle new ridership growth projections.   


Boardman made the announcement before a Congressional committee saying that in the past two years Amtrak has moved forward a number of major proposals designed to address the NEC’s growth and development needs. The proposals are detailed in the Amtrak Vision for the Northeast Corridor 2012 Update Report.  


First, is the NEC Upgrade Program to bring the corridor up to a state of good repair, add additional capacity to allow limited service growth, and make targeted trip-time improvements for all existing intercity, commuter and freight services.  Among the elements is the Gateway Program to build vital track, tunnel and station capacity into the heart of Manhattan to support Amtrak and commuter rail growth.


Second, is the next-generation high-speed rail program to provide America’s economic, political and cultural capitals in the Northeast with the world-class 220 mph high-speed service the region deserves.  With possible operating profits over a billion dollars annually and ridership well into 40 million riders a year upon full build-out, Amtrak expects that private capital,  probably in the form of a public-private partnership, could play a significant role in this project. Boardman said the international experience with high-speed rail projects is that “only after the public sector has allocated significant funding and committed itself to a project of this magnitude that the private sector is willing to enter the deal and deliver value for money.” Adding that, “[o]nce these services are generate revenue streams, these projects can and will attract private funding that can help repay initial capital costs.” He went on to say he is certain Amtrak has been a good steward of the NEC noting that he is “confident that we have mapped out a workable plan, and that our search for a truly regional solution to the challenges of capacity will be successful.”


In FY 2012, Amtrak set a national ridership record of 31.2 million passengers, including a new record of 11.4 million riders on its Northeast Corridor services.  In addition, the introduction of high-speed Acela Express service in 2000 has transformed the air-rail market in the Northeast.  Today, Amtrak carries three passengers for every one airline passenger between New York and Washington, and carries more passengers between New York and Boston than all the airlines combined—making Amtrak not simply an alternative, but a preferred choice.  A copy of the full written testimony is attached and can be found here.



August 27, 2012: Amtrak released a promotional video outlining their plans for the future of high speed rail in the North East as a series of upgrades to existing right of ways and new equipment purchases. Some of these upgrades are currently in progress.

January 11, 2012


With demand for intercity passenger rail service on the rise as demonstrated by yet another year of record ridership, Amtrak is moving forward with an aggressive agenda for 2012 and building for the future while strengthening current services.

Among the key actions planned in the New Year are building the first units of 70 new electric locomotives and 130 new single-level long-distance cars, the national roll-out of eTicketing to all trains, and the further integration and advancement of Northeast Corridor (NEC) planning efforts to improve the existing Corridor and develop a high-capacity, next-generation high-speed rail (NextGen HSR) system.

“Amtrak is building the equipment, infrastructure and organization needed to ensure our strong growth continues into the future,” said President and CEO Joe Boardman. “We are investing in projects critical for enhancing the passenger experience, essential for supporting our national network of services and vital for the future of America’s Railroad.”

Other significant projects in 2012 include: upgrading NEC tracks, bridges and other infrastructure; pursing efforts to expand Acela Express capacity; advancing initial planning work for the Gateway Program to provide additional capacity into Manhattan for intercity, commuter and NextGen HSR services; improving station accessibility under requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act; and continuing the development of a next-generation reservation system.

Boardman explained these and other projects support a strong focus on strengthening the Amtrak bottom line and its strategic goals of safety and security, customer focus, mobility and connectivity, environment and energy, and financial and organizational excellence.

He added the projects for 2012 follow and enhance recent accomplishments including a new all-time ridership record of nearly 30.2 million passengers in FY 2011 – the eighth ridership record in the last nine years. Among other major achievements in the past year, Amtrak also: made Wi-Fi available to 75 percent of all its passengers; launched an iPhone app; reduced its debt for the eighth consecutive year; and completed a massive renewal and integration of its financial, and procurement and materials management systems.

Siemens ACS64 Cab Mock-Up for Amtrak

Amtrak Major Projects in 2012

SEATTLE MAINTENANCE FACILITY Amtrak intends to complete in 2012 a $42 million project to upgrade its Seattle King Street Coach Yard Maintenance Facility. It involves concurrent work on the first two phases of a four phase project designed to improve the capacity, efficiency and working conditions of the shops that perform inspections, testing and maintenance of locomotives and passenger rail equipment. Phase I consists of the construction of an enclosed structure over two tracks and large enough to allow an entire Amtrak Cascades train to be serviced indoors. Phase II consists of a new three-story structure that will include a materials warehouse for the storage of parts, administrative offices and other facilities for personnel who presently work out of mobile trailers.


ADVANCING GATEWAY PROGRAM Amtrak intends to spend $15 million in 2012 for planning and other pre-construction activities on its Gateway Program to provide additional capacity into Manhattan for Amtrak intercity and New Jersey Transit commuter services, including the proposed NextGen HSR system. The overall scope includes building two additional tunnels under the Hudson River to access expanded terminal facilities serving New York Penn Station and the future Moynihan Station on the site of the former Farley Post Office. It also will replace and expand the century old Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River and increase from two to four the number of tracks between Newark and New York. Specifically, the funding in 2012 will be used for planning, design and preliminary environmental review for project elements as well as to begin utility relocation for the Portal Bridge project which is currently in the final design stage.

160 MPH HSR UPGRADES IN NEW JERSEY In 2012, Amtrak will advance design, engineering and other pre-construction activities for a $450 million project funded by the federal high-speed rail program that will boost top train speeds from 135 mph to 160 mph along a 24-mile section of the NEC between Trenton and New Brunswick, New Jersey. The project supports the goals of the Gateway Program and includes upgrading track, electrical power (frequency converter capacity and additional substations), signal systems and overhead catenary wires to permit the faster speeds and also reconfigures track switches at the western entrance to New York Penn Station to mitigate congestion issues. Major construction work will begin in 2013 with project completion expected in 2017.

NIANTIC RIVER BRIDGE REPLACEMENT In 2012, Amtrak is continuing construction on this $125 million multi-year project to replace the movable Niantic River Bridge originally built in 1907 and located between East Lyme and Waterford, Conn. Partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the new bridge will enable Amtrak to increase speeds and minimize traffic and delays. The project involves constructing a new two-track, electrified railroad bascule bridge just south of its present position, new track alignments on both approaches to the bridge and expansion of the navigation channel beneath the bridge and an increase in the vertical under-clearance above the water for the benefit of river traffic. Also, sections of the Niantic Bay Overlook boardwalk will be reconstructed and the beach replenished. The project is expected to be completed in May 2013.


NEW YORK EAST TUNNEL TRACK WORK Amtrak will continue work on a $72 million multi-year project in 2012 to replace track in all four of its East River tunnels that access New York Penn Station. The track structure for the full length of each tunnel will be replaced, including new ties, rail, and ballast plus other drainage improvements. The project will improve the reliability of both Amtrak intercity and Long Island Railroad commuter rail services and is expected to be completed in mid-2015.


POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL (PTC) By the end of 2012 –three years ahead of a Congressional deadline for the rail industry— Amtrak intends to complete a $12.8 million project to install PTC technology capable of controlling train movements to prevent collisions on sections of Amtrak-owned tracks along the NEC not already equipped with the sophisticated safety technology. Federal funds are covering 80 percent, or nearly $10.3 million of the cost.


ENHANCING SECURITY In 2012, the Amtrak Police Department will expand its comprehensive rail security efforts to provide increased right of way protection to detect and deter terrorists seeking to derail passenger trains, particularly those operating on the Amtrak-owned NEC. In addition, efforts will be made to re-engage passengers and the public as part of its Partners for Amtrak Safety and Security program and “If you See Something, Say Something…Hopefully, its Nothing” public awareness campaign to encourage individuals to report behaviors or activities that are unusual or out of the ordinary such as trespassers and suspicious packages by calling Amtrak Police at 1-800-331-0008.

"This isn't your grandfather's locomotive. Not only will we use renewable energy to build them, the locomotives will also include energy efficient features, such as regenerative braking that can feed up to 100 percent of the energy generated during braking back to the power grid," said Oliver Hauck, president of the Mobility Division of Siemens Industry, Inc.


The current locomotive platform has been designed for improved safety, reliability and maintainability. The Amtrak-specific design also meets the latest Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requirements for front end strength, incorporating a crumple zone for collision with large objects in addition to an enhanced safety cage and anti-climber functionality.


This equipment purchase is part of Amtrak's multi-year Fleet Strategy Plan to replace its entire fleet of passenger rail cars and locomotives over the next 30 years. Amtrak is the largest passenger rail operator on the North American continent and the only operator of a high-speed line.


About Siemens:
Siemens AG (NYSE: SI) is a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, and operates in the industry, energy and healthcare sectors. For more than 160 years, Siemens has built a reputation for leading-edge innovation and the quality of its products, services and solutions. With 405,000 employees in 190 countries, Siemens reported worldwide revenue of $104.3 billion in fiscal 2009. Siemens in the USA reported revenue of $21.3 billion and employs approximately 64,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico. For more information on Siemens in the United States, visit


A division of Siemens Industry, Inc. (SII), Siemens Mobility (MO) Division is North America's leading provider of transportation and logistics solutions. Using its "Complete mobility" approach, the division focuses on networking various modes of transportation to maximize the most efficient transport of people and goods. "Complete mobility" includes operations control systems for railways, roadway traffic control systems, airport logistics solutions, postal automation, traction power supplies, rolling stock for mass transit, regional and mainline services, turnkey systems as well as forward-looking service concepts. The Mobility Division posted worldwide revenues of $8.8 billion in fiscal year 2009.


July 13, 2011

Amtrak is projecting that for the first time ever its annual ridership will exceed 30 million passengers and in the process set a new all-time record when the current fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

“We are having a very strong year because people around the country are choosing the convenience, efficiency and hassle-free environment of Amtrak to meet their travel needs,” said President and CEO Joe Boardman. “Amtrak has wisely invested the federal funding we have received to improve infrastructure and equipment. Continued investment in Amtrak and passenger rail will support the further growth of this increasingly vital transportation option.”

Amtrak is basing its projection of more than 30 million passengers on strong June ridership numbers and expected ticket sales for July, August and September. June 2011 was the best June on record with more than 2.6 million passengers for the month and marked 20 consecutive months of year-over-year ridership growth, a streak that began in November 2009.

This strong performance is part of a long-term trend that has seen Amtrak set annual ridership records in seven of the last eight fiscal years, including more than 28.7 million passengers in FY 2010.

Comparing the first nine months of FY 2011 (October – June) to the same time period in FY 2010, national Amtrak ridership is up 6.4 percent so far this fiscal year and all three major business lines are showing gains: the Northeast Corridor up 5.6 percent, state-supported and other short distance corridors up 7.8 percent, and long-distance trains up 3.9 percent.

Factors contributing to the continuing success of Amtrak include high gasoline prices, continued growth in business travel on the high-speed Acela Express trains with free Wi-Fi service, the increased appeal and popularity of rail travel, and effective marketing campaigns.


June 30, 2011

Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman made the following statement regarding a Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan from the Federal Railroad Administration. Additional information is attached.

"Record numbers of passengers are riding Amtrak trains across our national network of intercity routes. To better serve our customers, we are implementing a fleet replacement and renewal plan to improve the reliability and performance of our equipment.

“As a result of the RRIF loan announced today by the Federal Railroad Administration, Amtrak’s purchase of 70 new, energy efficient and higher performing electric locomotives is fully funded. These locomotives will operate on the Northeast and Keystone Corridors beginning in 2013, replacing units in service between 20 and 30 years with average mileage of 3.5 million miles traveled.

“The Amtrak fleet strategy plan will provide new and modern equipment for passengers, and develop and sustain the domestic production capacity needed for the long term viability of intercity passenger rail in the United States.

“We appreciate the strong support of the Obama administration in advancing passenger rail in America."

Siemens Awarded $466 Million Locomotive Contract by Amtrak

Contract Brings Jobs to Three States and New Technology to the Northeast Corridor to Better Serve Passengers on the Busiest Rail Route in the Country

Oct. 28, 2011


Siemens today announced that it has been awarded a $466 million contract to build 70 electric locomotives for Amtrak's Northeast and Keystone Corridor lines as part of Amtrak's landmark fleet rejuvenation initiative. The contract will require an additional 250 people to build the locomotives, with 200 in Sacramento, Calif. and 50 collectively in Norwood, Ohio and Alpharetta, Ga.
The locomotives will be built at Siemens' existing light rail manufacturing facility in Sacramento, Calif. The plant, which has been in operation for 26 years, is powered up to 80 percent by two megawatts of solar energy and employs 750 people. All main components of the new locomotive will be produced in Siemens plants in the United States – including the motors in Alpharetta and propulsion containers in Norcross, Ga. The first locomotives will be delivered in 2013.


"As the global leader in rail innovation, we are thrilled that Amtrak has selected our proven locomotive technology and that this project will create 250 new green manufacturing jobs in the United States," said Daryl Dulaney, president and CEO, Siemens Industry, Inc. "These locomotives will be built in America using renewable energy and provide cleaner, more efficient movement of people on the most heavily traveled rail route in the country."


"Amtrak is a critical transportation provider in the Northeast and modern locomotives are essential to meet the service reliability expectations of our passengers and for us to handle the growing ridership demand in the coming years," said President and CEO Joseph Boardman.


Siemens is already a successful producer of American light rail trains with every third light rail vehicle in the United States being a Siemens train. The new Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS64) is based on Siemens latest iteration of the proven EuroSprinter electric locomotive. Over 1,600 units are in operation worldwide, and this latest version will be customized to meet the strenuous environment of the Northeast Corridor at a sustained speed of 125 mph.

Siemens ACS64 Rendering for Amtrak

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