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Amtrak logo
National Railroad Passenger Corporation
Amtrak West
530 Water Street 5th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607

February 18, 1998
Dominick Albano: 510-238-4360, Amtrak
Chuck Wochele: 610-666-6966, GATI

New Trains to Serve Southern California and Central Coast in 2000

LOS ANGELES -- Amtrak has announced a $100 million investment to purchase new passenger trains for the San Diegan corridor, Amtrak's second busiest, serving more than 1.6 million passengers annually, as part of a larger program to modernize the Amtrak system and improve operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. This acquisition represents the single largest investment Amtrak has ever made in California.

"This equipment will demonstrate how significant capital investments can increase service reliability and improve customer satisfaction, allowing for service expansion to meet the region's growing demand for more transportation alternatives and spur economic growth," said Amtrak Acting President and Chief Executive Officer George D. Warrington. "It is most fitting that these new trains will serve California -- a state which has demonstrated strong leadership in integrating passenger rail with the state's transportation network."

A contract to manufacture eight new five-car train sets was awarded to GEC Alsthom Transportation Inc. (GATI). The new trains will begin servicing the San Diegans in early 2000, replacing multiple types of single-level Amtrak equipment as much as 30 years old. The new dual- level train sets will include one Custom Class Car, one Coach/Cafe Car, two Coach Cars, and one Coach/Baggage/Cab Car for a combined total of 425 seats.

While most elements of the new equipment were released today (see attached fact sheet) in events commemorating the acquisition in Los Angeles and San Diego, Amtrak acknowledged many design and amenity features will be defined in consultation with customers and communities that will be served.

"The most important work is just beginning. To deliver a product that will satisfy the transportation needs of the Central Coast and Southern California, we need to hear from the communities and customers these new trains will serve. And, we also need to consult with the people who will be responsible for delivering the high quality service B our employees," said Gil Mallery, president of Amtrak West, one of three strategic business units of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.

The trains will be manufactured in Hornell, N.Y. with at least 75 percent U.S. content inclusive of components and labor. GATI estimates this order will represent approximately 140 new jobs at the New York facility.

"We are proud to advance the tradition of passenger rail travel in the U.S. and particularly pleased to help Amtrak meet its goals to provide efficient and comfortable transportation options in California," said GATI Chief Operating Officer Raymond Mancardi.

The equipment acquisition is made possible by the enactment of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 which provides Amtrak $2.2 billion in capital investment funds. Access to these critical investment funds enabled Amtrak to secure competitive private financing for the new San Diegan equipment. Additional and on-going federal investment in America's rail infrastructure is required, just as it is for roads and airports.

Amtrak has estimated that its overall federal capital needs total more than $4 billion over the next five years. The $2.2 billion provided through the Taxpayer Relief Act is a significant first step, but the railroad's future is dependent upon receiving the remainder of the funds each year through the annual appropriations process.

San Diegan service is provided in partnership with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and Amtrak. Since 1990, Caltrans has invested nearly $1 billion in passenger rail for new equipment, track and signal improvements, station construction and restoration, and marketing and operations.

The San Diegan corridor spans 347 miles through San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. During the last three years, ridership in the San Diegan corridor has increased 13 percent and is part of a renaissance of rail travel in the United States, particularly true in the West. Amtrak West Coast services grew 10 percent in ridership during FY97 and accounted for nearly 70 percent of the system's ridership growth during the same period, although these services account for only 18 percent of the company's national ridership.

Amtrak, America's National Railroad Passenger Corporation, serves more than 20 million customers annually on its national network of intercity trains and employs 23,000 people. Amtrak trains and connecting Thruway Motorcoaches serve more than 500 communities in 45 states. An additional 48 million customers use commuter services operated by Amtrak under contract to regional transportation authorities.

GEC Alsthom, based in France, is a world leader in energy and rail transport and is jointly owned by General Electric Company and Alcatel Alsthom with five operating divisions including Transport. GEC Alsthom Transportation Inc. is the U.S. affiliate of GEC Alsthom Transport based in Hawthorne, N.Y. The manufacturing and engineering facilities of GATI are based in Hornell, N.Y.

The Ticket to 2000 and Beyond

Eight new bi-level train sets are being purchased by Amtrak for operation in the busy, state-supported San Diegan Corridor, representing $100 million investment -- the single largest investment Amtrak has made in California in the company's history. Each five-car train will include 425 passenger seats and exceed Buy America requirements and meet the standards set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Each train will consist of one Custom Class Car, one Coach/Cafe Car, two Coach Cars, and one Coach/Baggage/Cab Car.

Each car will offer wide comfortable reclining seats; large panoramic windows; electrical outlets for laptop computers; ample overhead storage for carry-on luggage; digital information display; and seating and accessible rest rooms on the lower level for mobility-impaired passengers. In addition, every car will be equipped with electric sliding doors controlled from a single location and only 10 inches above the station platform, allowing passengers to step on or off the train with ease rather than wait for a conductor to lower and raise train steps, as is presently required.

The trains will be manufactured by the New York-based GEC Alsthom Transportation Inc. (GATI). The first train is expected to begin operation in the San Diegan Corridor in early 2000.


Coach Cars (2 per train) - Each Coach Car provides seating for 90 (18 lower level, 72 upper level).

Custom Class Car - Amtrak offers Custom Class service with reserved seating for up to 77 (17 lower, 60 upper). Seats are roomier than coach class seats and are equipped with personal in-seat audio and video systems. Custom Class passengers will also enjoy special areas on both upper and lower levels, providing complimentary beverage service.

Coach/Cafe - The lower level of the Coach/Cafe Car offers walk-up counter service and at-table seating for 12 persons, as well as seating and rest rooms for mobility impaired passengers. The upper level provides coach seating for 72, and each Coach/Cafe Car is also equipped with public cellular Railfone7.

Coach/Baggage/Cab Car - Each Coach/Baggage/Cab Car provides seating for 84 (12 lower level, 72 upper-level) and, on the upper level, an enclosed control booth for locomotive engineer, enabling essential push- pull train operation.

F59PHI Locomotives - Each train set will be pulled/pushed by a new F59PHI locomotive manufactured by General Motors Electro-Motive Division. These new locomotives feature computer-controlled fuel injection systems for maximum efficiency; specially designed cabs to protect crew members from noise and vibration; emissions well below California's most stringent standards; and a unique aerodynamic style for low drag. Amtrak will begin accepting the new locomotives later this year.

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