Amtrak and California drop joint high-speed train tender

Amtrak and the Californian High Speed Rail Authority have decided not to pursue a joint procurement programme for high-speed trainsets.

In a statement, Amtrak said that after meeting with rolling stock manufacturers, the two organisations found that their requirements where too varied to be met by a single design or specification.

In January, Amtrak confirmed that it was looking to initially procure 12 new high-speed trainsets to compliment its current Acela Express service on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) between Washington, New York and Boston, with a further order in the early 2020s to replace the existing 20 Acela trains.

California plans to acquire 27 trains capable of operating at 220mph for its new high-speed route between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In statement issued yesterday (June 23), Amtrak said: “Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority have together decided to end the joint request for proposals for next-generation high-speed rail trainsets.

“Amtrak intends to move quickly to issue a new request for proposals so we can meet a critical short-term need to expand the capacity of the current Northeast Corridor (NEC) high-speed service and achieve our long-term operational goals.”

Adding: “After meeting and listening to the builders who expressed interest, Amtrak and the Authority concluded that obtaining a meaningful common platform would result in suboptimal solutions for Amtrak and the Authority, move us away from a service proven design and create significant risks as to schedule and costs.

“Amtrak needs more high-speed trains, with more seats per train, to provide more service for the growing ridership, mobility and economic needs of the Northeast region.”