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Rail News: Amtrak

Schumer calls on USDOT to OK Acela train purchase

During a visit to the Alstom Transport plant in Hornell, N.Y., U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer last week urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to approve Amtrak's efforts to buy new Acela trains.

The $3 billion train project could improve rail safety, Amtrak service and boost the local economy in cities such as Hornell, where Alstom manufactures and services trains at its plant, Schumer said in a press release.

Amtrak is seeking federal approval to purchase the new high-speed trains for the Acela service along the Northeast Corridor. Schumer noted that the Acela service is at a "critical stage" because the leases on its current trains, which were acquired in 1994, are set to expire in the next six to eight years. As a result, Amtrak needs to advance production of its next generation trains, he said.

The need for better trains along the NEC is needed now more than ever, Schumer said. In fiscal-year 2014, there were 28 days in which Acela service exceeded 14,000 passengers, compared with five days in FY2013. This comes as the NEC generated nearly $500 million in profit last year, the highest ever, he added.

"Allowing Amtrak to purchase new Acela trains would be a huge step forward in improving rail safety and service in the Northeast. This could have the potential to create good-paying, middle-class jobs for Upstate New Yorkers at companies like Alstom, Transit Air and Vapor Stone Rail," said Schumer.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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