NEW YORK – Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. is planning to bid to supply a new generation of trains for Acela Express, Amtrak’s main high-speed rail service linking Washington, D.C., New York and Boston, according to a company source.
The machinery-maker will propose a fleet that would enable faster runs and enhanced rider comfort based on technological expertise gained through manufacturing trains for Japan’s shinkansen network.
Given its track record of supplying scores of train cars in the United States, Kawasaki Heavy may emerge as one of the leading contenders, along with Germany’s Siemens, for the contract.
The bid is scheduled for the East Coast line and another between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Kawasaki will present the specifications of its product by May 17 for the tender, according to the source.
Acela Express is a lucrative 730-km line predominantly serving business travelers, linking key East Coast cities, including Philadelphia.
While people often opt to fly between major cities in the United States, Amtrak services including Acela control a larger slice of the travel market between Washington, D.C., and New York than airlines.
Under the plan, an order will be placed for up to 28 train sets, each with between 400 and 450 seats.
The Acela operator, Amtrak, also known as National Railroad Passenger Corp., is planning to increase the top speed to 160 miles per hour (257 kph) from the current 150 mph. The company is mulling further raising the speed to 220 mph.