California, Amtrak to combine to find high-speed trains for rail networks

WASHINGTON

Amtrak will work with the Rail Authority to search for trains that will operate at up to 220 miles per hour. The trains would also be implemented on an East Coast high-speed rail network.

The East and West Coast systems will purchase about 60 trains over 10 years, officials said, with the first order possibly to be place in 2014.

Construction on California's system is expected to begin this summer, starting with a 65-mile-long segment between Fresno and Merced.

The aim is for manufacturers to design trains that will work for both systems. In the process, their combined buying power should generate better pricing from manufacturers.

The high-speed rail efforts in California have come under increased scrutiny by members of Congress who say it has become too expensive to build and operate. The more ties it has with Amtrak, the better its future prospects might be, but officials said the announcement was not designed to bolster high-speed rail in California.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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