The first of the 28 Alstom’s Acela trainsets for Amtrak has begun dynamic tests at Transportation Technology Center near Pueblo, Colorado. Nine months of dynamic testing will include the trainset’s pantograph, railway dynamics, tilting, traction, slip/slide and wayside protection, brakes, and train control management systems. Once complete, the trainset will return to Alstom for installation of its interiors.
The new trains are scheduled to enter service throughout the Northeast Corridor (NEC) in 2021.
The new trains will accommodate nearly 25 percent more customers while continuing the spacious, high-end comfort of the current Acela service. Each train will feature improved Wi-Fi access, personal outlets, USB ports and adjustable reading lights and feature sustainable components, including seating made from recycled leather.
Acela trains are also the country’s fastest, most comfortable and all-electric intercity trains, providing a more environmentally friendly way to travel. Amtrak will further reduce its carbon footprint by using 40 percent less energy per Acela customer when these trains enter service.
In preparation for the new fleet, Amtrak is undertaking track and infrastructure modernisation along the NEC aimed at improving ride quality, increasing reliability, and increasing overall on-time performance.
Alstom is building the next generation high-speed Acela trainsets using parts manufactured by nearly 250 suppliers in 27 states, with 95 percent of the components produced domestically.
The French manufacturer has also completed the assembly of its second trainset, which is expected to travel to Amtrak’s Penn Coach Yard in Philadelphia for testing in March 2020. The construction of the third trainset began in November 2019 and is tentatively scheduled to travel to Philadelphia for testing in September 2020.