Acela Hits 20 Years of Service, Changing Travel on the Northeast Corridor

An Acela train passes through New Brunswick, New Jersey, in April 2018. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

Amtrak is marking 20 years of Acela service.

Amtrak began regular Acela service on December 11, 2000, and the trains have transported more than 42 million people since launching.

“Acela is more than just a name for Amtrak’s new high-speed trains,” The Associated Press quoted Amtrak President George Warrington as saying in a statement. “Acela is a brand representing a whole new way of doing business.”

In the mid 1990s, Amtrak began making plans for its next-generation high-speed trains. The railroad wanted trains that could reach 150 miles per hour. In March 1999, Amtrak announced plans for a new train, the Acela.

“The entire nation helped build Acela Express — it was visionary and aspirational transportation,” John Robert Smith, a former Amtrak board member, according to Amtrak’s history blog. “…It is the sparkling gem of a national passenger rail system.”

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