Alstom has secured a $2bn contract from US-based rail operator Amtrak to design and build 28 new high-speed trains.

Once delivered, the new trains will be deployed on the US Northeast Corridor (NEC) between Boston and Washington DC.

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Alstom will also provide long-term technical support, as well as supply spare components and parts for maintenance of the new trains.

Most of the newly ordered trains will be from Alstom’s high-speed Avelia Liberty range and manufactured at the company’s site in Hornell, New York.

Compared with current Acela trains, the new rail vehicles will be capable of carrying up to 33% more passengers.

With a capacity to run at speeds up to 300km/h, the new trains will feature a compact power car and nine passenger cars, with the option of adding three more units if demand grows.

Furthermore, each concentrated power car will be equipped with Alstom’s crash energy management (CEM) system.

"The new rail vehicles will be capable of carrying up to 33% more passengers."

With the new purchase, Amtrak aims to increase passenger capacity, provide more frequent services and reduce journey times.

The new trains will be maintained at the depots in Amtrak in Boston, New York and Washington DC. Additional support will come from Alstom’s sites in New York, Delaware and Illinois for 15 years initially, with an option to extend this for another 15 years.

The NEC line covers around 730km and has witnessed a substantial increase in passengers in the last decade. The route’s passenger numbers have grown from 2.4 million in 2002 to 3.5 million in 2014.

The first trainset prototype is scheduled to be ready in 2019, with revenue due to start in 2021.

By the end of 2022, all trainsets are expected to be in-service and the current fleet will have been retired.   

Image: Alstom will provide 28 new high-speed trains to Amtrak. Photo: courtesy of Alstom.