Amtrak announces new generation of Acela trains
Amtrak has announced there will be a new, improved, and expanded fleet of Acela Express trains starting in 2021 that offer more amenities and save energy at the same time.
Funding for the 28 new trains will be part of a $2.45 billion loan from the government that was announced Aug. 26 by Vice President Joe Biden to upgrade Amtrak’s trains, tracks, and platforms along the Northeast Corridor.
The loan is part of the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program, otherwise known as RRIF loans, according to Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert. The loan is a joint venture between the Federal Railroad Administration and the Department of Transportation.
The new trains, which are expected to begin service in 2021, will have one-third more passenger seating and will be equipped with personal power outlets, USB ports, and adjustable reading lights at every seat, Amtrak said in a statement this week.
The trains will initially travel at a speed of 160 miles per hour on some sections of track, Amtrak said. However, they are capable of going up to 185 miles per hour in the future.
According to Amtrak’s website, the current Acela trains travel at a maximum speed of 150 miles per hour on portions of the route between Boston and New Haven, Conn., and 135 miles per hour between New York City and Washington, D.C.
Amtrak said the trains will have better Wi-Fi service and improvements to the food service car. The trains will also exceed the minimum accessibility requirements outlined in the American with Disabilities Act.
The old fleet will be phased out by 2022. The new fleet will be 40 percent larger than the current one. Service frequency will also be increased, with trains traveling between New York City and Boston every hour and between New York City and Washington, D.C., every 30 minutes.
Even more service will be available during peak traffic times, Amtrak said.
The trains will be built by Alstom in the state of New York, Amtrak said. The project is expected to create about 400 local jobs. Amtrak said the new trains will also have a lightweight design and minimal aerodynamic drag, reducing energy consumption by at least 20 percent.
“Amtrak is taking the necessary actions to keep our customers, the Northeast region, and the American economy moving forward,” Amtrak president and CEO Joe Boardman said in a statement. “These trainsets and the modernization and improvement of infrastructure will provide our customers with the mobility and experience of the future.”