Amtrak at 50: Looking to the Future
Amtrak to connect up to 160 communities by offering new or improved rail service in over 25 states
President Joe Biden joined Amtrak executives for a ceremony to pay homage to the past and share Amtrak’s bold vision for the future. Streamed live today from Gray 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, the ceremony highlighted the remarkable contributions of Amtrak employees past and present as well as ambitious plans to expand and improve rail service for the future.
“Today we have a once in a generation opportunity to position Amtrak, and rail, and intercity rail, as well in general to play a central role in our transformation of transportation and economic future,” said President Biden at today’s event.
“America needs a rail network that offers frequent, reliable, sustainable, and equitable train service. Amtrak has the vision and expertise to deliver it, now we need Congress to provide the funding for the next 50 years,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn during the ceremony.
Over the next 15 years, Amtrak’s vision for expansion will connect up to 160 communities throughout the United States by building new or improved rail corridors in over 25 states. As part of this plan, Amtrak will introduce new stations in over half the U.S. states, increase rail service to 47 of the top 50 metropolitan areas and create over half a million new, well-paying jobs.
“Whether by safely and conveniently connecting more people, towns, and cities to each other or as part of a low-carbon transportation system helping combat climate change, America needs more Amtrak service,” said Amtrak President Stephen Gardner. “We are ready to deliver on our vision of providing safe, reliable, efficient, and sustainable transportation services to more people in more places across the nation.”
Major investments to infrastructure can be seen up and down the Northeast Corridor, including the Gateway Program and the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel Replacement Program. Planned infrastructure improvements will increase track capacity, improve ride quality and offer greater reliability.
“We have earned the right to envision an exciting and transformational future,” said Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia. “Projects like Gateway will allow Amtrak to play a key role in proving our nation’s ability to undertake generational projects and we expect our next chapter to include setting the stage for true high-speed rail in the United States.”
The Amtrak fleet is also being modernized. Next year, Amtrak will debut the first, new Acela high-speed trains. Even sooner, customers will begin riding new state-owned railcars in the Midwest and California and diesel-electric locomotives will go into service this summer. Overnight trains with refreshed interiors on Superliner bi-level coaches, sleeping cars, lounges, and dining cars are also coming in the next several months.
This summer, Amtrak expects to proceed with the purchase of a new fleet of 83 Intercity Train Sets, which will provide modern rail amenities to better serve Amtrak customers on the Northeast Corridor and various state-supported routes.
Amtrak station modernization projects are also underway in major cities like Chicago, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia to enhance the travel experience and make it more accessible. This past January, in partnership with the State of New York, Amtrak opened Moynihan Train Hall, its new home in New York City.