Amtrak is ushering in a new era of modern rail travel.
The railroad company just shared highlights of its new state-of-the-art trains, dubbed the Amtrak Airo, which will enter service on the Northeast Corridor from North Carolina to New York in 2026.
Passengers can look forward to “a new era of modern train travel,” Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said of the sleek new trains that will offer what Amtrak calls “an elevated experience.”
Speaking at a news conference at the Moynihan Train Hall in New York City, Amtrak President Roger Harris said these new modern rail cars combine “sustainable transportation, world-class design and modern amenities” that represent a “movement toward Progress and Change for Amtrak” which features the reimagined Post Office building that houses the Moynihan Train Hall, where Amtrak trains depart and arrive in New York City.
The first images of the regional trains show shiny new carriages with ergonomically designed dove gray seats with dark blue adjustable headrests and plenty of legroom and workspace. The clean and bright contemporary design also offers cup holders and tablet holders on each seat. One particularly noteworthy new detail: the panoramic windows allow passengers to “enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the country,” Harris explained.
Another notable addition is the redesigned café carriages, where passengers will have more self-service options and ‘contemporary’ food offerings.
Janet Ho, the assistant commissioner of the New York Department of Transportation, said the state is especially excited about the introduction of Amtrak Airo, saying it “will help revitalize the passenger experience both in New York and across the nation.” with increased ADA accessibility and improved in seat amenities.”
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And in line with New York City’s environmental programs, the hybrid-powered trains will have zero emissions as they pass through New York’s tunnels, he added.
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The new hybrid engines won’t be as fast as the new Acela trains launched in 2023 which will reach speeds of 160 miles per hour. However, these advanced technology trains will save time on longer journeys as they will be able to traverse the entire corridor without having to switch engines, currently required to switch from commonly used electric motors to the diesel required in more rural areas.
The new green hybrid engines will make this transition seamless and cut the time usually needed to change engines by around 25 minutes.
Related: Amtrak begins $28 million upgrade on sleeping cars and coaches
Routes for the new regional trains include Adirondack, Carolinian, Cascades, Downeaster, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Maple Leaf, New Haven/Springfield, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Vermonter and Virginia services.
California-based Siemens Mobility will produce the new fleet of 83 modern multi-power trains. Harris says the first car is expected to be completed by 2025 in time to launch in 2026, with the entire fleet expected to be fully operational by 2031.
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Additional reporting by Meghna Maharishi.