Amtrak is buying 28 next-generation high-speed trainsets from Alstom as part of $2.45 billion Northeast Corridor (NEC) modernization project.
“Amtrak is taking the necessary actions to keep our customers, the Northeast region and the American economy moving forward,” Amtrak President & CEO Joe Boardman said in a news release. “These trainsets and the modernization and improvement of infrastructure will provide our customers with the mobility and experience of the future.”
The new trainsets will have one-third more passenger seats, while preserving the spacious, high-end comfort of current Acela Express service. Each trainset will have modern amenities that can be upgraded as customer preferences evolve such as improved Wi-Fi access, personal outlets, USB ports and adjustable reading lights at every seat, enhanced food service and a smoother, more reliable ride.
“As more people rely on Amtrak, we need modernized equipment and infrastructure to keep the region moving,” Amtrak Board of Directors Chairman Anthony Coscia said in a news release. “These trainsets will build on the popularity and demand of the current Acela Express and move this company into the future as a leader in providing world-class transportation.”
Amtrak is funding the trainsets and infrastructure improvements through the FRA’s Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing program that will be repaid through growth in NEC revenues. The new trainsets will operate initially at speeds up to 160 mph and will be capable of speeds up to 186 mph and thus will be able to take advantage of future NEC infrastructure improvements.
The first prototype of the new trainsets will be ready in 2019, with the first trainset entering revenue service in 2021. All of the trainsets are expected to be in service, and the current fleet retired, by the end of 2022.