Amtrak is making a huge investment in the future of travel, introducing new trains that will improve the passenger experience while reducing emissions and running more efficiently than current models.
The Amtrak Airo will debut in 2026 thanks to more than $21 billion included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress earlier this year.
“As we invest in the future, Amtrak is leading the way with a new era of rail,” Amtrak President Roger Harris said in a release. “Our new trains will transform the Amtrak experience with significant environmental benefits, a progressive design, and world-class amenities.”
Amtrak is also planning infrastructure upgrades and improvements to stations, as well as service expansion. But the new trains are the icing on the cake.
“Americans deserve modern, safe, reliable passenger rail service, and introducing brand new rail cars is a major step towards improving the daily experience of commuters and travelers who depend on Amtrak,” said Federal Railroad Administration administrator Amit Bose. “We’re poised to make inter-city passenger rail an even more efficient, convenient, and accessible mode of travel for Americans.”
Amtrak anticipates launching the new trains on routes all across the country.
The Airo trains will feature a number of enhancements over current trains, including:
- Spacious interiors and panoramic windows to give passengers an enhanced view while they travel across the country
- Efficient trains that produce 90 percent fewer particulate emissions
- Faster trains that will travel at speeds up to 125 mph to reduce travel times for passengers
- Redesigned cars, including café cars with more contemporary options and more self-service availability, better signs, and a color-coded system to allow passengers to better identify cabins
- Improved seating that includes uses of ergonomics for comfort, adjustable headrests, sturdier tray tables, and more
- Choice of double or single seating in business class
- Improved amenities, including better lighting, touchless restroom controls, and dedicated outlets, USB ports, and on-board Wi-Fi for passengers
Legislators On Board
Members of Congress were happy to send the funding to Amtrak to improve train service across the country.
“The bipartisan infrastructure law was passed in order to modernize our transportation systems so they can meet the needs of the 21st century,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. “It is great to see Amtrak investing in these new trains using the law’s funding.”
Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio was particularly excited about the environmental impacts of the new trains.
“To meet the demands of travelers and address the threat of climate change, we need trains that are accessible, reliable, and environmentally friendly,” said DeFazio. He also noted the investment “will reduce the environmental impact of the transportation sector while improving the passenger experience.”
Transportation officials across the country are just as pleased.
“If anybody still wonders if the best days of passenger rail are ahead of us, they now have the visual proof and can rest assured,” said Marie Therese Dominguez, a commissioner with the New York State Department of Transportation. “The best is yet to come, thanks to a focus on enhancing passenger amenities and employing greener technologies.”
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