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Amtrak’s Acela trains are about to get a major upgrade

The New Amtrak Avelia train at a media preview in New York.

Mmmmm, that’s wrong.
image: ED JONES / AFP via Getty Images (beautiful pictures)

As a lifelong western coaster, if there’s one thing I’ve always been a bit jealous of on the East Coast, it’s the high speed Acela train. They have rad speeds and reach up to 150 mph on short stretches between Boston and Washington, DC. They even look cool.

Unfortunately, they are also aging, with the majority of Acela trains in service marking the two-decade mark. Now, however, the next generation is being built in a New York factory, and they’re not only faster, but also faster. so much nicer inside, with modern conveniences like USB charging for your devices and touchless doors.

Other improvements to the trains themselves include the ability to lean in corners like a motorcycle to help maintain higher speeds on more curvy sections. Adjacent trainers will also share a wheel assembly, which should result in less bouncing and a more stable, comfortable ride overall.

The new Avelia trains are being built by a French company called Alstom, and unsurprisingly they are modeled after super-fast TGV trains running, such as in the Channel Tunnel between England and France. Unfortunately, unlike the rail systems in Europe, the US system is a mess, and that’s largely due to the age of the tracks – some of which, according to a report published on Thursday by the Washington Postover 180 years old.

The 160 mph top speed of the new trains (though they’re built to go up to 186 mph) will only hit 34 miles in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and then another 16 miles in New York. Jersey. However, the tracks are being upgraded at several points along the route which will help improve the overall average speed of trains, reducing travel time for people.

This New Avelias is expected to go into limited service in the fall of 2023, so let’s get started.

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