Amtrak Acela Express

This week we take a look at the only true high-speed train service in North America, the Acela Express operated by Amtrak.  It runs over the Northeast Corridor providing services between Union Station in Washington, DC and South Station in Boston, MA with a top speed of 150 mph (241 km/h).  Being the flagship service offered by Amtrak, the Acela Express only offers Business Class and First Class seating, there is buffet service in the Café car, and complimentary refreshments are served throughout the journey.  The Acela Express services have 14 intermediate station stops between Union Station in Washington and South Station in Boston.  The entire trip takes an average of 7 hours over 456 miles (734 km) with an average start-stop speed slightly under 70 mph (110 km/h, note this is slower than Via Rail Train 66/67 between Toronto and Montréal).  The Acela Express is one of the very few Amtrak services that operate with a profit.

The current Acela Express uses tilting push-pull trainsets derived from the Alstom (France) TGV and Bombardier (Canada) LRC.  The development of the trainsets were split 25% and 75% between Alstom and Bombardier.  The power cars at the ends of the trainset output a moderate 4,470 kW (6,000 hp) and a standard Acela Express has 6 trailing tilting carriages in between the power cars and is capable of 165 mph (266 km/h) operation.  Due to stricter crash standards of the FRA, the Acela Express is constructed with stainless steel rather than the more standard and much lighter aluminium alloy for high-speed trains.  Wikipedia has an extensive coverage of this train and the page is linked here.  An open gallery of the interior of the train can also be found on Wikipedia here.  Below is a YouTube video of the Acela Express I filmed in September 2008 in Wilmington, DE and New Carrollton, MD.

If there are no other requests, we will take a look at the fast high-speed railway line in the world right now, the Chinese Wuhan-Guangzhou Railway.


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