The first of Amtrak’s 28 new Acela train sets, scheduled to enter service throughout the Northeast Corridor (NEC) in 2021, will be leaving from Alstom’s facility in Hornell, New York, for high-speed testing at the Transportation Technology Center near Pueblo, Colorado.
According to Amtrak, nine months of dynamic testing will include the train set’s pantograph, railway dynamics, tilting, traction, slip/slide and wayside protection, brakes, and train control management systems. Once complete, the train set will return to Alstom for 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 statement. “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 FY 2019, a 4.3% increase from the previous fiscal year. The new trains will accommodate nearly 25% more customers.
In preparation for the new fleet, Amtrak is undertaking a record amount of track and infrastructure work along the NEC aimed at improving ride quality, increasing reliability, and increasing overall on-time performance.