It looks like the United States is finally getting on board the high-speed rail bandwagon. While China and Europe may have embraced the benefits of this green form of transportation years ago, the US was always lagging behind with assorted projects lacking proper funding and support. But now, market leader Amtrak has decided to take the incentive and spend nearly half a billion dollars on 70 brand new electric, high-speed trains.

The company said the new purchases would “provide improved performance and reliability for its Northeast intercity passenger rail services.” The new train contract was awarded to German company Siemens, but before you start worrying that the job has been taken away from American firms, rest assured that the contract will actually create US jobs. Around 250 are expected to be employed in Sacramento, Norwood, Ohio and Alpharetta, Georgia.

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“These locomotives will be built in America using renewable energy and provide cleaner, more efficient movement of people on the most heavily traveled rail route in the country,” Daryl Dulaney, president and CEO of Siemens Industry, Inc., said. The Northeast rail corridor is widely considered to be the best network in the US, and these hi-tech trains will only serve to enhance and improve its reputation. In a statement, Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman said, “Amtrak is a critical transportation provider in the Northeast and modern locomotives are essential to meet the service reliability expectations of our passengers and for us to handle the growing ridership demand in the coming years.”

The new trains have been designed so that maintenance is faster which in turn will lead to “faster times and increased availability of locomotives for service.” The fact that the trains will be fully electric also means the rail network’s carbon footprint will also be reduced. Not just that but the new trains will feature regenerative braking systems that can automatically return electricity to the power grid. Currently the trains run on diesel fuel which cause large amounts of pollution and smog.

+ Amtrak

Via Clean Technica