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Federal Railroad Administration Announces Multistate Request for Proposals for Next-Generation Passenger Rail Locomotives

Thursday, August 1, 2019

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced that U.S. manufacturers are being invited to submit bids to produce high-performance, next-generation diesel-electric locomotives.

“When we make smart investments in rail, we are investing in America,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “Our Buy America provisions ensure that the major components of these locomotives will be built with American hands and with American produced steel, iron and manufactured goods.”

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 Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is leading the multi-state locomotive procurement, with first deliveries expected in 2016. The FRA has allocated $808 million to manufacture the next generation of passenger rail equipment including the 35 new locomotives and 130 bi-level rail cars.

The engines will be built to standardized technical specifications developed by the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) Section 305 Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee and will comply with the latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emission standards.

The new uniform standards will drive down costs and allow more manufacturers and suppliers to compete, fostering a healthy competition while re-establishing the U.S. domestic supply chain for passenger rail equipment.  

The intent to purchase 35 new locomotives comes as intercity passenger rail ridership continues to post and exceed ridership records.  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 state corridor routes where these new locomotives will be deployed are among those services with the highest ridership growth.

“We’re taking historic steps to build the rail system our economy needs and – more importantly – that Americans deserve, all while creating American jobs,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo.  “The need for new rail equipment has never been greater and the more than 750 railroad suppliers located in the United States are up to the job.”

Selection of the manufacturer will occur in early 2014.  Delivery of the locomotives is planned for 2016. A copy of the RFP can be found here.