States in the Midwest are moving forward with their plans to increase the speed of passenger trains.
The Federal Railroad Administration announced that several states will join together to purchase new passenger rail equipment:
The Request for Proposals (RFP) to manufacture approximately 35 new diesel-electric locomotives in America comes from a groundbreaking multi-state effort to jointly purchase standardized rail equipment to be used on state corridor routes in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Iowa in the Midwest and Washington, California, and Oregon on the West Coast.
The FRA has set aside $808 million for the purchase of the locomotives and for 130 new bi-level train cars.
Passenger rail travel has been increasing in recent years. The FRA reports:
Last year, Amtrak carried more than 31.2 million passengers, marking the highest annual ridership total since they started operations in 1971, and the ninth ridership record during the last ten years.
The agency says the new trains will start operating on routes with the highest ridership growth.
The FRA says the new train manufacturer will be selected next year (2014), and the new locomotives will be delivered sometime in 2016.