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WASHINGTON – Amtrak, the U.S. long-distance passenger railroad, said it will spend $298.1 million to buy 130 rail cars as part of a plan to replace its aging fleet, Bloomberg News reported last week.
Amtrak – which operates in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and throughout the Northeast – will buy the cars, to be built in Elmira, N.Y., from the U.S. unit of Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles SA, a Spanish train maker known as CAF. The order will create 575 jobs, the Washington-based railroad said last week in an e-mailed statement.
The rail cars bought under the five-year contract will be used on Amtrak’s long-distance routes and include 25 sleeper cars, 25 dining cars, 55 baggage cars and 25 combination baggage-dormitory cars, Amtrak said.
“As we move to consolidate our presence in the U.S., we view this contract as merely the first in what we hope will be many opportunities we will have to partner with Amtrak,” Virginia Verdeja, CAF USA vice president, said in the statement.
Rail operators and equipment manufacturers around the world are vying for money from $8 billion in U.S. economic-stimulus aid allotted to develop faster passenger rail service.
Amtrak, which could compete with private operators under President Barack Obama’s high-speed rail plan, asked Congress for $2.5 billion for the 2011 fiscal year, including $446 million to buy rail cars and locomotives.
The Senate Appropriations Committee’s transportation panel last week approved a 25 percent increase in Amtrak’s federal subsidy to $1.97 billion. •