Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) announced yesterday that they are joining forces to find proven high-speed rail (HSR) train sets that could operate on AMTRAK's Northeast Corridor (NEC) and in California. A Request for Information (RFI) was issued today to start the process.
AMTRAK and the Authority are seeking HSR sets that are currently being manufactured and capable of safely operating at speeds up to 220 mph. For the purposes of this effort, manufacturers must have successfully built train sets in high speed (>250 km/hr) commercial operation for a minimum of two years.
By partnering in this effort, the two organizations hope to create efficiencies by ordering trains with the same specifications and create a U.S. standard for HSR equipment. If successful, the equipment could then be manufactured for domestic and worldwide use.
Current plans are for construction of the first section of California's HSR system to begin in the San Joaquin Valley, with a southernmost endpoint near Bakersfield.
“High-speed rail is right for America and Amtrak working with California to advance both our programs makes a lot of sense,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “For Amtrak, new high-speed train sets on the NEC means more seats, more frequent high-speed service and an ability to take advantage of higher speeds as the infrastructure is improved.”
“This is about investing in 21st Century state-of-the art high-speed rail,” said California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales. “We are pleased to join with Amtrak and look forward to continued collaboration in the future. This is a natural fit since Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and California will be the bookends for American high-speed rail.”
“We applaud both Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority for answering our call to explore joint procurement of the next generation of high-speed rail equipment,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “Combining orders will make it easier and more attractive for high-speed rail manufacturers to build factories here in the USA, bringing new high quality jobs and creating ripple effects throughout our domestic supply chain. The end result means the riding public will have lighter, faster, more energy efficient passenger rail equipment.”