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State, Amtrak Cancel Joint High-Speed Train Bid

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SACRAMENTO (AP) – Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority have canceled a joint agreement to bid on high-speed trains that was billed as a way to save money and lure train manufacturing to the United States.

The agencies said Friday that their needs are too different and that manufacturers are not yet ready to build trains that can run on both Amtrak’s 100-year-old rail lines and the high-speed corridors planned for California’s system.

The joint proposal announced in January called for bids by mid-May on up to 28 train sets with 400-450 seats each for Amtrak and 15 train sets with a minimum of 450 seats for high-speed rail. The number of cars per train would be up to bidders to propose.

Lisa-Marie Alley, a spokeswoman for high-speed rail, said in meetings with manufacturers during the last few weeks it became clear that the requirements were too different to incorporate into one set of trains.

“The feedback that we got from the industry was that Amtrak and high-speed rail need such different things, it was almost impossible for them to build a train that meets both our needs,” she said.

California’s $68 billion project, which has been stalled because of repeated legal setbacks that have blocked financing, requires speeds up to 220 mph, while Amtrak is limited to 160 mph on the Washington-New York City-Boston segment known as the Northeast Corridor.

The agencies concluded that too many compromises would need to be made to meet both their needs, which would “move us away from a service-proven design and create significant risks as to schedule and costs,” Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz said in an email.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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