posted on 1st Jan 2023 14:28
Following a July 2021 order for 83 single-deck push-pull trains using dual-power Charger locomotives, Amtrak unveiled on 15 December 2022 pictures of its new fleet.
It is the largest North American Siemens Mobility contract in history, and it includes dual-power trains (the first scheduled for delivery in 2024) and hybrid battery trains (the first of them envisaged to start testing in 2025). They will be built at Siemens Mobility’s Sacramento works and are scheduled for delivery between 2024 and 2030 (according to 2021 press release).
The trains were named Amtrak Airo and they „will offer a more sustainable way to travel and featuring a modern design with world-class amenities. The new trains will elevate the journey with a focus on comfort and efficiency, providing even more advantages to traveling by rail.“
The new 125 mph (201 km/h) trains will start debuting in 2026 and will operate on routes throughout the country. Routes include the Amtrak Northeast Regional, Empire Service, Virginia Services, Keystone Service, Downeaster, Cascades, Maple Leaf, New Haven/Springfield Service, Palmetto, Carolinian, Pennsylvanian, Vermonter, Ethan Allen Express and Adirondack.
The Amtrak Airo trains will be formed by a Charger diesel locomotive and a fixed rake of Venture coaches (an U.S. version of Viaggio Comfort coaches) with a driving trailer, creating non-powered multiple units (NMUs) as follows:
- 26 Type B-1 six-car rakes, the end car adjacent to the locomotive will be fitted with a transformer and pantograph, enabling the train to run also in electric mode,
- 32 Type B-2 eight-car rakes, the end car adjacent to the locomotive will be fitted with a transformer and pantograph, enabling the train to run also in electric mode,
- 17 Type C six-car rakes; the end car adjacent to the locomotive will be fitted with a battery pack, enabling the train to run also in an independent mode, enabling the train to run in Penn Station in New York through the New York Hudson tunnels without using the third rail,
- 8 Type D six-car rakes with the diesel locomotive. The trains will be diesel only and will operate on Amtrak’s Cascades services in Washington and Oregon.
Amtrak presented these key features:
- Elevated Experience: With its modern, spacious interior and panoramic windows, customers have an improved view of the best sights in the country while connecting to the passing landscape.
- A Greener Impact: The new trains are more fuel efficient and produce 90 % less particulate emissions in diesel operations.
- Reduced Travel Times: The new trains will operate at speeds up to 125 mph and offer near seamless transition between power sources where time-consuming locomotive changes were previously required.
- Redesigned Café Car: More contemporary food service provides self-service options.
- Wayfinding: Signage creates a cleaner, more evident and accessible way to identify and differentiate cabins – both on the exterior and interior through a color-coded system.
- Spacious Seating: Each spacious seat prioritizes ergonomics, offers enhanced comfort with plenty of legroom, bigger and sturdier tray tables, moveable headrests and a dedicated cup and seatback tablet-holder.
- Business Class: Choice of double and single seats offer customers greater flexibility.
- Amenities: Features enhanced lighting, improved technology with digital customer information systems and touchless restroom controls, dedicated individual outlets, USB ports and onboard Wi-Fi.
We asked Siemens and Amtrak for the technical data of the vehicles (locomotive supply voltage/s, traction power in each regime, brake power, dimensions, weights, capacity, etc.). We are waiting for an answer.