Amtrak’s new high-speed Acela trains, designed by Alstom, were set to hit the Northeast Corridor (NEC) by 2021, however, their service has just been pushed back another year. The delay comes from complications with testing and the outdated tracks on the NEC.
“We want our customers to experience these new train sets as soon as possible, but Amtrak cannot operate them for passenger service until Alstom has completed testing and meet all safety requirements,” an Amtrak spokesperson told USA TODAY in a statement.
The new fleet of 28 next-generation high-speed Acela trains is expected to upgrade service for millions of riders, explains Amtrak. The cars will include touchless features and utilize state-of-the-art technology like automatic door access to restrooms, personal outlets and USB ports, and a contactless luggage storage system.
Operating at a top speed of 160 mph, the new fleet will outpace the current Acela trains by 10mph (which now operates at a top speed of 150 mph).
Service on these Euorpean-style trains has been pushed back until 2024. The current fleet of Acela trains from 2000 were intended to retire by 2021/2022, but since the new fleet is experiencing such delays, they will remain in service until the new ones hit the tracks.
“Between the sleek design of their interiors, state-of-the-art technology, and sustainable amenities, and innovative safety features, our new Acela trains will help revolutionize American train travel…travelers will experience improved, modern, and smoother service on the Northeast Corridor and provide this country with the type of modern train travel we deserve when these trains are ready for service next year,” said Amtrak President & CEO Stephen Gardner.
Stay up to date on all of the latest announcements for the new Acela trains on Amtrak’s website here.