Amtrak has agreed a US$7.3 billion deal with California-based manufacturer Siemens Mobility to replace ageing trainsets on its Northeast Corridor, long distance Palmetto and “various state-supported” routes.

The agreement will see the US railroad company purchase up to 83 “multi-powered modern trains”, with options on another 130 “to support Amtrak growth plans”, with the contract also including a long-term parts supply and service agreement, facility modifications and upgrades.

The new equipment will replace Amtrak-owned Amfleet and Metroliner trains, as well as state-owned equipment on certain routes throughout the country.

According to Amtrak, features of the new trains – the design of which has yet to be unveiled – will include “more comfortable seating, individual power outlets and USB ports, onboard wifi, enhanced lighting and panoramic windows, larger vestibules, a more contemporary food service experience, including self-service options, as well as state-of-the-art customer trip information, digital seat reservation system and navigation display systems”.

A portion of the fleet operating on New York’s Empire Service will also be powered by hybrid battery operation, which the firm said would “provide a substantial environmental benefit through reduced criteria pollutants compared to the existing fleet”.

Commenting on the news Amtrak’s CEO Bill Flynn said:

“These new trains will reshape the future of rail travel by replacing our aging 40-to-50-year old fleet with state-of-the-art, American-made equipment.

“This investment is essential to preserving and growing our Northeast Regional and state-supported services and will allow our customers to travel comfortably and safely, while deeply reducing criteria pollutants.”

Amtrak is also in the process of introducing new Alstom-built high-speed Acela trains on its Northeast Corridor route between Boston and Washington DC, with a total of 28 trainsets on order.

Amtrak begins high-speed tests of new Acela trains