About that plane trip to D.C. — or Boston? The ones with TSA lines and flight delays? Amtrak announced this week that it’s getting ready to up its game to grab some of that market share.
The Amtrak Airo, expected to debut in 2026, will bring another level of comfort to the average consumer and the business — and do it in a more environmentally friendly way, the rail service announced.
The trains, which are part of the Amtrak Invests in the Future initiative, will include the following:
- Elevated experience: With its modern, spacious interior and panoramic windows, customers have an improved view of the best sights in the country while connecting to the passing landscape.
- Greener impact: The new trains are more fuel efficient and produce 90% less particulate emissions in diesel operations.
- Reduced travel times: The new trains will operate at speeds up to 125 mph and offer near seamless transition between power sources where time-consuming locomotive changes were previously required.
- Redesigned café car: More contemporary food service provides self-service options.
- Wayfinding: Signage creates a cleaner, more evident and accessible way to identify and differentiate cabins — both on the exterior and interior through a color-coded system.
- Spacious seating: Each spacious seat prioritizes ergonomics, offers enhanced comfort with plenty of legroom, bigger and sturdier tray tables, moveable headrests and a dedicated cup and seatback tablet-holder.
- Business class: Choice of double and single seats offer customers greater flexibility.
- Amenities: Features enhanced lighting, improved technology with digital customer information systems and touchless restroom controls, dedicated individual outlets, USB ports and onboard Wi-Fi.
The trains are scheduled to be available on the Northeast Regional line and these other routes: Empire Service, Virginia Services, Keystone Service, Downeaster, Cascades, Maple Leaf, New Haven/Springfield Service, Palmetto, Carolinian, Pennsylvanian, Vermonter, Ethan Allen Express and Adirondack.
A share of Amtrak’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding will support the procurement of Amtrak Airo, which will be manufactured by Siemens in California.
The initiative is in response to strong customer demand, Amtrak officials said.
The new trains are part of a larger transformation that will revolutionize the Amtrak experience, including the new Acela trains. Amtrak’s move to the future also includes major infrastructure projects, service expansion, station upgrades, modernization efforts and improved track capacity along the Northeast Corridor.
Amtrak President Roger Harris said the Airo represents the future.
“As we invest in the future, Amtrak is leading the way with a new era of rail,” he said. “Our new trains will transform the Amtrak experience with significant environmental benefits, a progressive design and world-class amenities.”
U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12th Dist.) applauded the announcement.
“As New Jersey’s sole congressional appropriator and a member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee, I’ve made it a priority to secure infrastructure funding for Central Jersey and communities across the country,” she said. “Supported by a historic investment from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, this funding will bring Amtrak trains into the 21st century, create jobs and keep our communities connected.
“I’m grateful for President (Joe) Biden’s leadership and for the hard work of my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee who helped make the modernization of ‘America’s Railroad’ possible.”
U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10th Dist.) said he’s ready to ride.
“I am proud to see Amtrak use the funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to upgrade their trains and service,” he said. “I helped secure $41.5 billion for Amtrak in that law to help them improve efficiency and reliability nationwide.
“I look forward to riding these new trains during my frequent travels between my district and Washington, D.C.”