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Beginning next year, Amtrak's most advanced rail cars will be functioning and traveling through the nation's busiest rail stations, representing a major step towards the United States' goal of achieving modern, faster, and more reliable intercity train service.
The Acela trains will overhaul passenger service in the Northeast Corridor, improving safety, reliability, rider comfort, and capacity, according to a Sept. 22 Washington Post article. Their delivery will provide a much-need boost to Amtrak following the arrival of the pandemic, adding to momentum for a large-scale expansion backed by massive political and financial support from Washington, D.C.
“This is service-proven, top-of-the-line, international technology,” said Laura Mason, Amtrak’s executive vice president for capital delivery, according to Washington Post.
The new trains, with aerodynamic white-and-blue exteriors, touchless doors, USB outlets, and improved cafe cars, are an upgrade from the 22-year-old vehicles they're set to replace, Washington Post reported. The Acela trains are expected to be the fastest on U.S. rails, reaching a presumed top speed of 160 mph in small stretches of the D.C.-to-Boston corridor. The speed is also expected to be limited by the old, curvy route. Currently, most Amtrak trains traveling through the corridor reach speeds between 110 mph and 145 mph.
Manufacturing began three years ago, with train 15 set to be the latest to reach the end of the production line in late summer 2022, according to the Washington Post. French train manufacturer Alstom will be delivering four passenger train sets in fall 2023. The trains currently sit in various stages of construction sits in the Alstom manufacturing plant in Hornell, NY.