Amtrak to award $2.5bn rail contract to Alstom

21 September 2015 (Last Updated September 21st, 2015 18:30)

US Senator Charles Schumer has announced that French transport firm Alstom is set to win a $2.5bn contract to build the next generation of high-speed trains for rail operator Amtrak.

US Senator Charles Schumer has announced that French transport firm Alstom is set to win a $2.5bn contract to build the next generation of high-speed trains for rail operator Amtrak.

The final details of the contract are yet to be negotiated and the Amtrak board of directors are expected to give its approval today for further negotiations with Alstom on the contract. The deal would be finalised by December.

The contract will create more than 750 jobs, including 400 jobs directly at Alstom's Hornell manufacturing facility and an additional 350 or more in other parts of New York.

"This contract will add a massive injection of economic energy and hundreds of good-paying jobs for the economically struggling Southern Tier."

The project will see next-generation high-speed trains operate on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) between Washington and Boston.

Schumer said: "This contract will add a massive injection of economic energy and hundreds of good-paying jobs for the economically struggling Southern Tier.

"It will prove to be a win-win-win that would improve rail safety, bring jobs to Upstate New York, and improve the Amtrak experience for passengers along the entire Northeast Corridor."

The contract needs the final approval of federal funding from the US Department of Transportation's (DoT) railroad rehabilitation and improvement financing (RRIF) programme.

The senator added that he will urge the DoT to provide Amtrak with all the necessary approvals.

For more than 150 years, Alstom has manufactured and serviced high-quality trains in their Hornell manufacturing facility.

In June, the senator has urged the DoT to approve Amtrak's efforts to purchase new next-generation high-speed trains as the leases on the existing Acela trains, acquired in 1994, are set to expire between 2021 and 2023.

Amtrak needs to purchase trains that meet high demand and quality conditions as the ridership and ticket revenue on the NEC line have seen an increase over the last decade.

According to the senator, the new high-speed trains will replace the existing fleet, as well as improve service, capacity, reliability, safety and trip times.

New York-based companies such as Alstom, ATM and Transit Air in Hornell, as well as PWI in Wellsville and Vapor Stone Rail in Plattsburg, will directly benefit from the impending Amtrak board decision.