Back in September, I posted about Amtrak California buying trains built in 1968 from New Jersey transit to be used in California. The purpose of the move is to bring needed rolling stock to lines that have seen large gains in ridership. Amtrak has an order in for brand new trains, but deliveries take years.
The “new” single -level train-sets will be used exclusively on the San Joaquin line, and two of the existing trains will be broken up and used to add capacity on the Capital Corridor and and Pacific Surfliner. The “new” trains are expected to run on the San Joaquin line early morning and late nights – mid-day trains will continue to see higher-capacity two floor trains.
According to reports, the trains have arrived in California and are being tested. If you ride the San Joaquin or pass by the BNSF tracks, keep an eye out, you might see them. No date has yet been given for when they will enter service.
The trains were fully renovated and are supposed to feature standard Amtrak interiors, but I haven’t seen any photos posted yet. However, they are high level trains on a low-level line, so it will be interesting to see if these vehicles cause delays since boarding will take longer. Also, it’s unknown how bicycles and wheelchair accessibility will be handled on them.
So far, Amtrak hasn’t revealed the long-term plan for the trains, as it’s assumed they won’t be needed once the new orders begin arriving in two years. Theoretically, they could them be shipped to the proposed “Coast Daylight”, a day running version of the “Coast Starlight”. That line may be better suited for trains that aren’t as quick and easy to board as the San Joaquin, which is a quasi-commuter line.
If you see the train, make sure to take a picture and I’d appreciate it if you shared it.