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Amtrak and California abandon joint rolling stock procurement

23 Jun 2014

USA: Plans to undertake a joint procurement of high speed trainsets have been shelved by Amtrak and the Californian High Speed Rail Authority.

Amtrak said on June 23 that meetings with representatives of the rolling stock supply industry had indicated that the requirements were too diverse to be met by a common design. ‘Amtrak and CHSRA concluded that obtaining a meaningful common platform would result in sub-optimal solutions, move us away from a service-proven design and create significant risks as to schedule and costs’, the operator added in a statement.

Amtrak intends to press ahead ‘quickly’ with a request for proposals for the supply of 28 trainsets to augment the fleet it uses on premium Acela Express services on the Washington DC – Boston Northeast Corridor. This fleet would be tailored to operations on a legacy mixed-traffic railway with only limited scope for running at speeds higher than 200 km/h.

CHSRA on the other hand is seeking high speed trainsets capable of up to 350 km/h for use on dedicated infrastructure, although its current business plan calls for some ‘blended operation’ where its trains would share infrastructure with commuter rail operators in Los Angeles and San Francisco. According to Chief Programme Manager Frank Vacca, CHSRA could issue its own request for proposals in October, covering the supply of an initial 15 trainsets by 2018-19.