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Amtrak unveils its new fleet of sustainable ‘Airo’ trains


North America’s main railway operator is constructing its next-generation train model which will hit the tracks in the coming years.

Amtrak Airo will begin to hit tracks across North America from 2026.

North American railway operator Amtrak has pulled back the curtains for a first look at its new fleet of trains which will be rolled out to parts of the network from 2026.

Known as ‘Amtrak Airo’, Amtrak’s next-generation rolling stock is more environmentally friendly, using roof-mounted solar panels to generate much of their power, resulting in a 90 percent decrease in particulate emissions compared to diesel locomotives.

Airo trains will take on a distinct European feel but unlike their cross-Atlantic cousins, Airo trains won’t quite be capable of the same high speeds but will instead still be able to reach an efficient 200kph in certain parts of the network.

Amtrak has ordered 83 of the train sets from Siemens Mobility in California, with construction now underway ahead of a comprehensive testing program before passengers first step onboard.

Business class seating features both double and single seats.

Amtrak says travellers on the new rolling stock will enjoy interiors reflecting a new standard of comfort and amenities for short and long-haul travellers.

Passengers will enjoy ergonomic seating with contoured cushions, individual arm rests and adjustable headrests, along with panoramic windows, plenty of legroom, both double and single seats, in-seat power outlets, seat-back tablet and device holders, in-seat reading lights, USB ports and onboard WiFi connectivity.

Carriages will also feature water stations offering chilled and filtered hydration for travellers to fill their reusable bottles, resulting in less plastic being sold onboard.

Café cars will offer a faster grab-and-go style service, while larger restrooms will also feature touchless technology for a more hygienic experience.

More space in vestibules makes the new trains more accessible friendly.

Accessibility will also be improved considerable, with onboard passenger lifts, more space for wheelchair users, easier audible and visual messaging and colour-coded panels designed to improve the travel experience for all customers.

Amtrak President Roger Harris said the new trains will provide world-class accommodations and will stimulate local economies once they begin to criss-cross the country.

“We are thrilled to satisfy the soaring demand for train travel with new state-of-the-art, American-made equipment that ensures the highest standards of comfort, service and amenities,” said Harris.

“As we advance this vision, we’re committed to getting people where they need to go, while reducing road and air congestion, creating jobs and supporting the American economy.”

Amtrak Airo train sets will begin to appear from 2026 on the following services - 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.

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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 20 October 2023

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