Here Are Photos of Amtrak’s New Acela Trains Being Built

Jun 13, 2019

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Amtrak just released photos of the new high-speed Acela trains, currently being built at the Alstom factory in Hornell, New York. The new trains have been in development for a few years now, and they will be entering service on the Northeast Corridor in 2021. The 28 new trainsets will be faster, cutting ride times and offer even more amenities, from the seats to the food service. The Acela, the fastest train in service in the US, currently has a top speed of 150 mph, while the new one will be able to reach 160, according to Amtrak.

Like the current Acela, the new one is a tilting train, leaning into curves so that existing lines can be used at faster speeds than normal trains, without the need to build dedicated high-speed lines. (Trains on high-speed lines are decidely faster; for example, Japan’s bullet trains reach 200 mph.)    

Here is a taste of what passengers between Boston and Washington can expect to see in the coming years:

Front view of the aerodynamic nose of the power car, which portrays a sleeker look for the next-generation fleet. (Courtesy of Amtrak)
Front view of the aerodynamic nose of the power car, with a sleeker look for the next-generation fleet. (Courtesy of Amtrak)

Amtrak already has an advance seat reservation system on the Acela fleet. However, it’s only used in first class. On the Next-Gen Acela, passengers will have to reserve their seats in advance throughout the entire train, not just in first. There will also be an open overhead luggage compartment, unlike the overhead bins on current Acelas, which resemble airplane bins.

The interior of the engineer cab continues its buildout and wiring set-up in advance of taking customers along the NEC. (Courtesy of Amtrak)
The interior of the engineer cab being built (Courtesy of Amtrak)

Are you one of those flyers who just stare at the inflight map? Good news for you: the new trains will have something like it, with screens in each car displaying updated location, train speed and conductor announcements. The trains will also include a “cutting-edge” safety system that will monitor each ride in real time, Amtrak said.

The body shell of the café car, being fitted at the Alstom facility in Hornell, NY, shows off the outline of the new livery. (Courtesy of Amtrak)
The body shell of the café car, being fitted at the Alstom facility in Hornell, NY, shows off the outline of the new livery. (Courtesy of Amtrak)

Amtrak is also factoring in accessibility features into their design for people with disabilities. In the new Acelas the bathrooms will be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)-compliant in every car, featuring a 60-inch diameter turning radius for people who use wheelchairs.

Before being coupled to adjacent cars, the train cars have to be wired, fitted, inspected, and tested. (Courtesy of Amtrak)
Before being coupled to adjacent cars, the train cars have to be wired, fitted, inspected, and tested. (Courtesy of Amtrak)

There will also be new interior safety details including seatback handles to aid customers walking through the train, grab bars for stability, gap fillers for space between the train and the platform and a smooth surface for entering and exiting the train.

Featured image courtesy of Amtrak.  

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