When thinking of train service, America is likely not the first country that comes to your mind. However, did you know that Amtrak operates more than 30 train routes throughout the United States and travels to over 500 destinations in 46 states?
Amtrak's Northeast Regional train route serves the Northeast Corridor from Virginia to Massachusetts, making nearly 55 stops. To offer travelers a more luxurious and faster express service, Amtrak operates the Acela train on just a portion of this route.
Acela operates between Boston and D.C. and includes only 16 stops along the route. These stops occur in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.
Amtrak holds Acela as its premium service on the nation's busiest rail corridor. In 2019, around 3.5 million passengers used the service. To better serve these commuters and "make Amtrak the smarter way to travel," Amtrak has invested in a brand new, high-speed Acela fleet scheduled to debut in 2021.
Amtrak partnered with U.S. manufacturer Alstom and sourced services and materials from small businesses, companies owned by economically disadvantaged individuals, and vendors from 27 states. The resulting new train cars will deliver world-class accommodations and amenities to all riders through improved comfort and efficiency.
Photo courtesy of Amtrak
WORK ON THE GO
The new, WiFi-enabled train cars aim to provide business travelers the amenities they need to work while on the go. Each seat will include personal outlets, USB ports, and adjustable reading lights. The seats, made of recycled leather, offer winged headrests for comfort and privacy.
ENJOY THE RIDE
The new Acela cars have been designed to provide a smoother, more comfortable ride. And it's not just the hard product that's been upgraded. The new Acela cafe cars will provide guests with self-service options and a generous selection of contemporary food options.
For passengers with disabilities, accessibility features have been built into the design including safety handles and grab bars. Additionally, restrooms feature a 60-inch diameter turning radius.
Video courtesy of Amtrak
A trip on the existing Acela train is booked at 6 hours 45 minutes travel time for the entire Boston to D.C. journey. Travel time will be further decreased as the new Acela travels 10mph faster at 160 mph. Ultimately, these new train cars allow for reduced travel times while using existing infrastructure.
HEALTH CONCERNS ADDRESSED
Seats on board Acela can be selected in advance via the Amtrak app or website, which allows for reduced passenger movement throughout the train. Other features have been included in the train cars' design to minimize points of contact. Toilets will feature automatic doors and touch-free fixtures. Overhead luggage racks feature an open design to allow for touch-free access to your carry-on luggage.