Amtrak invests $50 billion in its network


Author: Mankirat Kaur

US national rail operator Amtrak is investing over $50 billion into modernising its network, introducing the new Amtrak Airo and Acela trains which will increase capacity up to 25%.

As part of its investment the company will spend $2.45 billion to renovate and modernise its Northeast Corridor fleet. Amtrak executive vice president, Capital Delivery, Laura Mason said ‘The Northeast Corridor (NEC) is one of the busiest, most complex and economically vital transportation systems in the world, serving more than 260 million passenger trips each year before the pandemic.’

Meanwhile, the new Amtrak Airo is being developed by Siemens Mobility producing 73 trains under a $7.3 billion investment plan and is scheduled to begin operating in 2026. Amtrak Airo will operate on several lines, including the Northeast Regional and Empire Service. Both new fleets strive to focus on customer comfort and satisfaction by offering a modern and roomy interior with the Acela train having almost 25% more seats, increasing its amount from 304 to 378 seats providing much greater leg room. The trains will have panoramic windows as they run through the picturesque countryside of Northeast America.

They also aim to reduce travel times because they operate at such high speeds with Amtrak Airo travelling up 125mph and Acela operating at speeds of 160mph, which is much higher than the 150pmh speed it currently operates at.

Accessibility features for people with mobility issues has been a priority within these fleets. ‘The New Acela trainsets were designed with a focus on improving accessibility,' said Amtrak spokesperson. 'They include American with Disabilities Act accessible bathrooms, larger digital displays, wider aisles for wheelchairs and handles on the side of headrests to assist with walking on the train.'

Mason believes that this trains will transform and enhance the passenger’s experience. ‘When people heard “Amtrak,” they often associated us with words like “old” and “antiquated.” Today, we’re changing that narrative as we deliver a new era of passenger rail in America.’