Amtrak will officially begin testing its high-speed Acela train

Feb 19, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new information regarding official Amtrak testing. It was originally published on Nov. 14, 2019.

New state-of-the-art Acela train cars are one step closer to hitting the rails in 2021.

On Thursday, Feb. 13, Amtrak announced it would begin testing its high-speed Acela trains.

The trains left the Alstom manufacturing facility in Hornell, New York on Feb. 17 and are making their way to the Transportation Technology Center near Pueblo, Colorado, where they will undergo nine months of rigorous testing.

Amtrak released stunning photos of the trainset heading west on Twitter, including a map of the journey. Train enthusiasts can watch for the prototype as it travels along the route used by the Amtrak Lake Shore Limited and Southwest Chief trains. It will pass through Chicago, before ultimately arriving in Colorado on Wednesday, Feb. 19. 

Once all of the trials are complete, the trains will make their way back to New York, where the interiors will be installed.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Last year, Amtrak released images of the first prototype being constructed at Alstom. Here’s a look at what the futuristic train cars will look like, without the interiors:

This train has been in the works for quite some time: Official plans were announced almost four years ago, in August 2016. The U.S. train system has consistently lagged behind Europe and Asia’s high-speed fleets.

That’s why Amtrak brought in Alstom, the French company responsible for the high-speed TGV trains that crisscross France.

Amtrak’s upgraded Acela Express will be able to reach speeds up to 160 miles per hour, or 10 miles per hour faster than current cars. They will also use 20% less energy. Engineers hope the cars will eventually reach up to 186 miles per hour, but that will require major infrastructure improvements.

Related: Amtrak plans to expand new nonstop Acela service from New York

In addition to faster and more efficient service, the new trains will be able to accommodate more passengers — 378 passengers to be exact, which is up from 304. The trains will also feature a significantly improved hard product, including upgraded amenities. Be sure to check out TPG’s review of the enhanced interiors.

Featured photo courtesy of Amtrak.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.