Watch: Testing Amtrak’s Next-Gen Acela Trainset

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

Amtrak has released a video progress report on testing its next-generation high-speed Acela trainset prototype at the Transportation Technology Center, Inc., (TTCI) in Colorado.

The trainset, shown in the video below, has operated nearly 30,000 miles, making 2,200 trips around TTCI’s electrified, high-speed RTT (Railroad Test Track) through November, Amtrak said. It arrived at TTCI in February, after being shipped from Alstom’s manufacturing facility in Hornell, N.Y.

Additionally, the trainset prototype has reached a maximum speed of 166.8 mph, although initial top operating speed along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) will be 160 mph. (Amtrak announced reaching the 165 mph testing milestone in May.)

Wheel force measurements and vehicle acceleration are being monitored, Amtrak said, and additional testing is being conducted on the pantograph, traction and braking systems. This performance testing will continue into early 2021, including gathering necessary data to meet regulatory requirements.

Since the interiors of the trainset prototype are unfinished, it has been carrying 130 water barrels (at 60 gallons each) and 2,300 concrete blocks to approximate the weight of the complete interiors, Amtrak said.

Interior finishing will be completed at Alstom’s New York facility. As a preview in October, Amtrak offered a video tour of the new Acela, highlighting onboard amenities and other features for riders, with Amtrak Vice President Northeast Corridor Service Line Caroline Decker.

By the end of 2021, 28 next-generation high-speed Acela trainsets are slated to enter revenue service.

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