Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Amtrak is debuting a new trainset that will make its way into service in 2026 as part of an enormous investment in infrastructure. The new train cars will replace the current “Amfleet” models that have been in use for years which are showing their age with a considerable amount of wear and tear.
Soon, passengers will be able to enjoy cars with modern amenities, making Amtrak a more viable option for traveling between cities.
Let’s take a look at the details of these new trainsets!
Amtrak’s New Trains
The new Amtrak trains will be called Amtrak Airo, and will debut on the following routes in 2026:
- Amtrak Northeast Regional
- Empire Service
- Ethan Allen Express
- Keystone Service
- Maple Leaf
- New Haven/Springfield Service
- Virginia Services
Unfortunately, it will some time to produce these trains in California, so we’re still a few years off from seeing these trains enter service. However, there are a number of new exciting features onboard that will make the wait worth it, as we’ll see below.
Amtrak previously ordered 73 of these trainsets, but has purchased an additional 10 sets as of August, 2023 to meet increased ridership demands.
Amtrak has highlighted a number of new features that passengers will find on the new Airo trains, including:
- Large, panoramic windows that allow passengers to see the passing scenery outside.
- Hybrid engine power, which results in a 90% reduction in emissions when compared to diesel engines, which are currently in use in major sections of track across the country, including the heaviest-used section, south of Washington, D.C.
- Each train can travel at speeds up to 125 mph, allowing them to travel faster between stations. It’s worth noting that this feature will likely only be of much use in the Northeast Corridor where Amtrak owns the track it operates on. In sections where a change between electricity and diesel is needed, the new cars will offer a faster transition.
- Self-service options in a new Café Car.
- New signage denoting which car is which and how to move about the train.
- New seats with additional legroom, sturdier tray tables, built-in seatback entertainment holder for your own device, and a newly-designed tray table. You’ll also find new lighting, power options, Wi-Fi service, and touchless options when using the bathrooms.
- Business class will now offer a 2-1 seating configuration versus the current 2-2 offering. This will allow for more privacy and will be a major differentiator between coach and business class cars.
As you can see, these new trains will be decidedly more modern and practical for today’s travelers than what’s currently plying the rails today.
Amtrak recently received a significant infusion of cash thanks to the major infrastructure bill passed by Congress in 2022, and we’re starting to see the first tangible results of that with the announcement of these new trainsets.
While it will be several years before they enter into service, they’ll provide a markedly different experience than current models and will help usher Amtrak into the future of train travel in the U.S.
Featured Image Credit: Amtrak
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