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Amtrak to spend $7.3 bn on US rail upgrade, with $3.4 bn on Siemens trains

·2-min read
Just weeks after President Joe Biden spoke at a celebration of Amtrak's 50th anniversary, the quasi-public rail company announced a $7.3 billion push to upgrade its rail service

Amtrak will invest $7.3 billion to upgrade US rail travel with more fuel-efficient trains and improved customer amenities, such as panoramic windows and touchless restroom controls, the company announced Wednesday.

The iconic US railroad, which receives considerable funding from the federal government and many US states, said it reached an agreement with Siemens Mobility to manufacture up to 83 trains.

"These new trains will reshape the future of rail travel by replacing our aging 40-to-50-year old fleet with state-of-the-art, American-made equipment," said Amtrak Chief Executive Bill Flynn.

"This investment is essential to preserving Northeast Regional and state-supported services for the future and will allow our customers to travel comfortably and safely, while reducing carbon emissions."

The announcement comes about six weeks after Amtrak commemorated its 50th anniversary on April 30 at an event in Philadelphia with President Joe Biden -- a frequent rider when he served as a Senator from Delaware.

It also comes as Washington lawmakers weigh a hefty infrastructure plan by Biden, who has been nicknamed "Amtrak Joe."

The plan includes options for as many as 130 additional Siemens trains, as well as investments for facility modifications and upgrades, said Amtrak.

The new trains will operate across the Northeastern corridor, as well as various state-supported routes, including in North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia and Washington.

In tandem with the announcement, Siemens announced an Amtrak contract for $3.4 billion to manufacture trains in Sacramento, California.

The new trains, the first of which will be delivered in 2024, will have wireless communications, as well as remote monitoring to enhance reliability, Siemens said.

The trains also will feature more comfortable seating, individual power outlets, self-service food options and state-of-art navigation display systems, the companies said.