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.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 in combined spending on travel, shipping purchases,  internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 22.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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.