National Railroad Passenger Corporation|
530 Water Street 5th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 1998
Dominick Albano: 510-238-4360, Amtrak
Chuck Wochele: 610-666-6966, GATI
AMTRAK INVESTS $100 MILLION IN NEW CALIFORNIA RAIL
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
"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/Café Car,
two Coach Cars, and one Coach/Baggage/Cab Car for a combined total of
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.
AMTRAK'S NEW SAN DIEGAN EQUIPMENT
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/Café 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/Café - The lower level of the Coach/Café 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/Café 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.