Manufacturers are submitting ideas to replace some Amtrak trains, which is the first step in changing and updating their trains. Railcars for notable routes such as the Auto Train, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder and Southwest Chief will be under consideration.
“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 in a press release.
The current group of overnight railcars have been delivered to Amtrak over the course of 40 years. Over 800 cars entered service in 1979 and have seen wear and tear. Most of the equipment in the current fleet will approach the end of its service life after the next decade, according to the release.
Later this year, Amtrak says it plans to take the next step by issuing a formal procurement request in the release. The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted by Congress and the Biden Administration in 2021 will provide funding for the future purchases to Amtrak.