With demand for high-speed rail service at record levels, Amtrak is moving to acquire new trainsets to supplement and eventually replace its aging Acela Express equipment currently operating on the heavily - traveled Northeast Corridor (NEC).
In a Request for Proposals (RFP), Amtrak is seeking up to 28 next – generation high – speed trainsets capable of meeting or exceeding current Acela trip - times on the existing NEC infrastructure. The new equipment is intended to have 40 percent more seats per train than current trainsets.
“The Northeast Corridor needs more high - speed rail capacity to help move the American economy forward,” said President and CEO Joseph Boardman. “More and more people are choosing Amtrak for travel between Washington, New York and Boston. New equipment means more seats and more frequent departures to help meet that growing demand.”
Amtrak’s Acela Express service is as popular as ever. Ridership is up 7 percent over last year and trains are often sold out, especially during peak periods. On 25 occasions so far in FY 2014, the number of daily trips on Acela topped 14,000. That’s compared to five times in FY 2013 and is an indication of the value placed on the convenience and comfort of high-speed rail.
Current manufacturers of high - speed rail equipment, defined as manufacturers with equipment in commercial operation at speeds of at least 160 mph, will be eligible to submit bids.