A little more than one year after unveiling plans to invest in a new a fleet of modern trains, Amtrak this week offered a first glance at what those trains will actually look like inside and out.
A response to strong customer demand for an improved U.S. rail travel experience, the new Amtrak Airo trains will begin to debut in 2026 and will feature numerous upgrades over their predecessors, including more spacious seating with ample legroom, adjustable headrests, seatback tablet-holders, and panoramic windows offering better views of the passing scenery. Other enhancements will include a redesigned café car with self-service options, touchless restroom controls, and dedicated outlets and USB ports for passengers (as well as Wi-Fi, currently available on many Amtrak trains).
They will also be more accessible for all travelers, with lifts for customers with reduced mobility, accessible restrooms and food service cars, and a special type of sound system for people with hearing aids. With all these updates and the promise of fewer delays (Amtrak promises reduced travel times with the new trains moving at 125 miles per hour), Amtrak expects to add over 1.5 million riders annually.
Not only will the new trains be more comfortable, but they also will produce 90 percent fewer emissions. The updated machinery, which will include the company’s first hybrid-electric powered cars, is part of Amtrak’s goal to create a more sustainable and comfortable travel experience for passengers.
The new trains will operate mostly along the Northeast Corridor, state-supported routes, and the Palmetto line from New York to Miami. Other routes the trains will ultimately serve include Empire Service, Virginia Service, Keystone Service, Downeaster, Cascades, Maple Leaf, New Haven/Springfield Service, Carolinian, Pennsylvanian, Vermonter, Ethan Allen Express, and Adirondack. Some of the current equipment used on these routes has been in operation since 1971, so the commissioned train sets are long overdue.
The Federal Rail Administration provided Amtrak with nearly $4.3 billion in funding for the new trains, which is part of a much large investment in the country’s rail network that includes new Acela trains, infrastructure modernization projects, service expansion, and station upgrades.
The Amtrak Airo trains are being manufactured by Siemens in California.
Caitlin Morton contributed reporting.