The first of Amtrak’s 28 new Acela trainsets will be leaving from Alstom’s facility in Hornell, N.Y., on Monday for high-speed testing at the Transportation Technology Center near Pueblo, Colo.
The new trainsets are scheduled to enter service on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) in 2021.
Nine months of dynamic testing will include the trainset’s pantograph, railway dynamics, tilting, traction, slip/slide and wayside protection, brakes, and train control management systems. Once complete, the trainset will return to Alstom for the installation of its interiors.
“Amtrak is proud to celebrate this major achievement for the new Acela fleet program, as we are bringing customers one step closer to enjoying the benefits of these new trains,” Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson said in a news release. “With strong demand for Acela travel continuing to grow, we will test the trains to ensure customers will have safe and reliable service with modern amenities when these trains go into service next year.”
Amtrak served more than 3.5 million Acela customers in FY19, a 4.3 percent increase from Fiscal Year 2018. In December 2019, Acela had its best month ever, with a 16 percent ridership increase over the previous year.
The new trains will accommodate nearly 25 percent more customers while continuing the spacious, high-end comfort of the current Acela service. Each train will feature improved Wi-Fi access, personal outlets, USB ports and adjustable reading lights and feature sustainable components, including seating made from recycled leather.