People riding AMTRAK trains will be riding in some brand new cars—but not right away.
The passenger cars AMTRAK uses between Kansas City and St. Louis are 25 to 50 years old. They’ve been refurbished a time or two, but the outer shell is old. The Federal Railroad Administration is giving the consortium of Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, and Iowa 268-million dollars to buy the next generation of locomotives and cars.
But we won’t see them for two or three years. State transportation department railroads director Rod Massman says AMTRAK does not even know how many companies can build the cars yet.
He says the cars will hold ten to 25 percent more passengers, a good thing because AMTRAK ridership hit 190,000 in the last fiscal year.
Massman says the new cars will be capable of going 125 miles an hour because that’s the Illinois high-speed service planned for the Chicago to St. Louis is to go 110. Missouri’s AMTRAK speed will remain 79 miles an hour, tops, although the department hopes to develop a test section of track near Kansas City that will allow trains to go 90-miles an hour..