Amtrak’s overnight trains are undergoing a makeover! The long-distance trains, which debuted in 1979, are getting a big revamp, going from a dated look to a new modern aesthetic. Now, Amtrak announced it’s taking the first steps to replace its four-decade-old overnight trains!
The new overnight cars will run through routes like the California Zephyr, which goes between Chicago and San Francisco, and the Cardinal which operates between New York and Chicago.
For these particular train cars, Amtrak hopes to bring overnight trains into the 21st century to create a modern feel and update equipment. Along with plans to update customer amenities, like USB ports, cozier seats, and panoramic windows. This upgrade could be valued at billions of dollars, is set to be completed between the next 5 to 10 years– and will hopefully improve time performances.
As for what the revamped trains could look like? Well, that’s still up in the air but over 10 different manufacturers have sent in ideas to redesign the trains that travel the 14 overnight coast-to-coast routes. As for the redesign for overnight trains, the final phase includes actually replacing said trains as seen on the Acela fleet trains, and the recently announced Amtrak Airo trains.
In the same vein, Union Station could also see an overhaul on its concourse level, as the Amtrak agency is seeking grants for upgrades that will also include returning currently unused service platforms in order to boost train capacity.
The next step in the involved train car updates will be to issue a “formal procurement request” which will be issued later this year. Funds for this massive overhaul will come from a 2021 bipartisan infrastructure bill!