First Look at Amtrak’s New Acela Business and First Class

Aug 8, 2018

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For most of us who frequently travel between cities in the Northeast, Amtrak is a necessary evil. The country’s government-subsidized rail provider is plagued by frequent delays, overcrowded stations and trains, and — outside of the occasional advanced-purchase sale — outrageous one-way fares.

Recently, the company began making strides to improve passenger comfort by updating interiors, in a massive overhaul led by CEO Richard Anderson, who joined from Delta last year. Many cars have been updated throughout the country, but aside from slight tweaks, like assigned seating, Amtrak’s premium Acela service hasn’t gotten much love.

Fortunately, a big Acela upgrade is on the way. As we first learned about in 2016, Amtrak plans to begin rolling out refreshed train cars in 2021.

Business, the lowest class of service on Acela trains, will retain its current 2-2 arrangement.

There are leather seats in both business and first class, along with fold-out tables, power outlets and USB ports, and dedicated luggage storage areas.

First class will be arranged in a spacious 1-2 configuration.

There will be a mix of forward-facing seats, along with sets of single and paired seats that face each other.

Each car will have six LED screens, with train speed, location and conductor announcements.

The bathrooms will be getting a much-needed refresh, too. They hardly look luxurious, but there’s a noticeable improvement for sure. It’ll be up to passengers and crews to keep them feeling fresh, though.

If all goes to plan, you should begin seeing these new interiors within the next four years, with all of the new trains expected to be in service by 2022.

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