Trains For America

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Amtrak to replace high-speed Acela trains – Dec. 13, 2012

First, they are not really “high speed” trains since they generally operate around 130 mph. Second, they are about half way through the useful life. Third, it completely ignores the capacity needs of the starving long distance trains.

The railroad said that early next year, it would begin the process of replacing its 20 existing Acela Express train sets, which run on the Northeast Corridor rail line between Boston and Washington, DC.

“Moving directly to new high-speed train sets is the best option to create more seating capacity, permit higher speeds, and maximize customer comfort all while improving equipment reliability and reducing operating costs,” Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman said in a statement.

The Acela Express train sets comprise two power cars and six passenger cars each. The current fleet started service between 1999 and 2000.


Amtrak to replace high-speed Acela trains – Dec. 13, 2012.

Filed under: Amtrak, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

3 Responses

  1. mulad says:

    The Acela trainset had a top speed around 165 mph. The main limiting factor has been the track, not the train.

  2. Eric says:

    “Second, they are about half way through the useful life.”

    Given the speed at which these things take place, by the time the new trains go into service, it will be near the end of the existing trains’ useful life 🙂

    “Third, it completely ignores the capacity needs of the starving long distance trains.”

    If the long distance trains are too crowded, then prices should be raised until that is no longer the case. Long distance trains receive gigantic subsidies, and it would be nice to get some of that money back.

  3. Woody says:

    Joe Boardman works for Congress, and John Mica, Bill Shuster, and Congress have been talking about HSR on the NEC. So Boardman is doing his job, making faster trains on the NEC a priority.

    Nothing about improving the Acelas disimproves the long distance trains. They have already benefited from getting 80 or 90 cars rehabbed out of the wreck yard and returned to the fleet with the stimulus funds. The areas outside the NEC will benefit from the orders for the 130 single level sleepers, diners, crew dorms, and baggage cars that will be delivered starting next spring; from Next Generation bilevel cars that will come into service in the Midwest and California by 2016; and from older equipment that will cascade from these lucky corridors into the fleet used by the long distance trains. And indeed, greater capacity from the new order Acelas, and the old ones repurposed, might free up a few cars from the Regional trains to the long distance fleet.

    I know. Amtrak is really scrounging to get by. But it’s silly to blame Amtrak management, when it’s the bosses in Congress who control the purse strings and call the shots.

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December 2012


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