Watch new Acela train travel at 160 mph

A look at the new Acela fleet. (Courtesy Alstom SA 2017)

Train manufacturer Alstom continues advanced testing of Amtrak’s new Acela fleet, reaching another milestone with the first Acela prototype completing a test run at Transportation Technology Center near Pueblo, Colorado, traveling at speeds up to 165 mph.

The new Acela fleet, scheduled to go into service on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor sometime in 2021, will be capable of traveling at speeds in excess of 180 mph, though the trains’ initial operating speeds will be capped at 160 mph.

The Acela prototype will undergo six more months of testing, including pantograph, railway dynamics, tilting traction, slip/slide and wayside protection, brakes and train control management systems.

It will then return to Alstom’s facility in Hornell, New York, for installation of interiors.

The new Acela trains will carry up to 386 passengers, a 30% increase over current Acela train cars.

Amtrak suspended current Acela service between D.C., New York City and Boston in March after the coronavirus pandemic significantly reduced demand, but it will resume limited Acela service June 1 with three weekday roundtrips, citing an anticipated increase in demand.

Check the Amtrak website for a video of the prototype Acela train reaching speeds up to 165 mph during its recent test.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the misspelling of train manufacturer Alstom.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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