An Artist's View On Acela Express Before Launch

The Amtrak Acela Express is a High-Speed-rail Train set that operates over Amtrak's Northeast Corridor in the Northeastern United States. It is the only high-speed-rail service, not only in the United States but in the whole North America.

As announced on August 26, 2016, Amtrak plans to replace all Acela Express trainsets with new trains called the Avelia Liberty by 2021. Whether the Acela Express name will be retained or not is unknown.

History Edit

During 1993 U.S. President William Clinton planned a $1 Billion funding program  to drive the development of a 2,000 miles (3,200 km) high-speed rail service network.

Amtrak asked railway equipment manufacturers to submit proposals. An X 2000 train was leased from Sweden for test runs from October 1992 to January 1993. It was operated from Washington DC to New York City from February to May and August to September 1993. Siemens showed the ICE 1 train from Germany, organizing the ICE Train North America Tour which started to operate on the Northeast Corridor on July 3, 1993.[21] This testing allowed Amtrak to define a set of specifications that went into a public tender in October 1994. On March 9, 1999 Amtrak released it's plan for it's high speed rail service, the "Acela Express" Twenty Train Sets would be purchased and several renovations would have to be planned. Before 2000 the Boston-New Haven Section of the Northeast Corridor was NOT Electrified which meant Amtrak trains Heading North of New Haven needed to switch engines, and Amtrak would have to electrify that part of the NEC, (As the Acela is Electric Powered) the second, was that several Grade Crossings would have to be removed or renovated for safety purposes of high-speed-rail. Amtrak officially launched it's first Acela Express train on December 11, 2000.

Operating Speeds Edit

The Acela is certified with a top speed of 165 mph (266 km/h) and reaches a maximum of 150 mph (241 km/h) in regular service. The Acela Express is the only service in North America that exceeds the U.S. Department of Transportation's 125 mph (201 km/h) definition of high speed rail.[7][66]

Acela Express and Metro-North commuter trains share the same tracks through Connecticut.

The Acela achieves an average speed (including stops) of 81.7 mph (131 km/h) between Washington and New York,[3][4] [67] and an average speed of 66.9 mph (108 km/h) from Washington to Boston.[68] The average speed from New York to Boston is a slightly faster 69.8 mph (112 km/h).[69] The average speed for the entire length excluding stops is 84 mph (135 km/h).[6] Its maximum speed limit is 150 mph (241 km/h) on three sections of track totaling 33.9 mi (55 km) in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.[70]

Amtrak has also been upgrading the track along the Connecticut shoreline east of New Haven to allow maximum speeds in excess of 110 mph (177 km/h).[71] West of New York City, Acela Express's top speed is 135 mph (217 km/h). One limiting factor is the overhead catenary support system which was constructed prior to 1935 and lacks the constant-tension features of the new catenary east of New Haven.[6] The Pennsylvania Railroad, however, did run Metroliner test trains in the late 1960s as fast as 164 mph (264 km/h) and briefly intended to run the Metroliner service at speeds reaching 150 mph (241 km/h). The Acela Express train-sets are capable of 165 mph (266 km/h) operation,[7][dead link] but the FRA regulations generally do not permit any speeds above 150 mph (241 km/h) on tracks that are shared with freight and slower passenger trains. Testing for certification for commercial operation at 160 mph (257 km/h) involving test runs at up to 165 mph (266 km/h) began between Trenton, NJ and New Brunswick, NJ in September 2012.[72]

The slowest section of the electrified NEC is the portion owned by Metro-North Railroad and the Connecticut Department of Transportation between New Haven, Connecticut and New Rochelle, New York and is heavily used by commuter trains. Amtrak's trains here achieve 90 mph (145 km/h) only on a limited 4-mile (6.4 km) stretch in New York State and rarely exceed 60 mph (97 km/h) at any time eastbound through Connecticut until reaching New Haven.

Currently only these crossings are public as all the rest are on private property

-Palmer St. Stonington, CT In between the stations Mystic, CT and Westerly, RI This crossing is located near the Connecticut-Rhode Island border

-Miners Lane Waterford, CT- In between stations Old Saybrook, CT and New London, CT This crossing is known for a 2005 accident which killed 3 people and rose criticism about the grade crossings

Acela OSB

An Acela Express Train Passing through Old Saybrook, Connecticut

Water St. New London, CT This is right next to New London, Union Station which connects the Fisher's Island Ferry to Water St.

Ferry St. New London, CT- As its name suggests this connects a ferry port to Water St.

Grade Crossings

Normally on the Northeast Corridor there are no grade crossing as they are all prohibited, grade crossings between New York City and Washington D.C. were eliminated in the late 1980s. However 11 still remain, all of them are in Connecticut. All grade crossings in Connecticut have Quad gates as the FRA requires them. Amtrak could not remove these crossings because if the streets they were on had been closed off, the areas these streets connect to would NOT be able to accessed by land and eliminating the crossings would permanently close of these areas.

Acela Express Station Stops


-Boston South Station

-Boston Back Bay (Discharge Only) Northbound Trains (Pickup Only) Southbound Trains

-Westwood/ Route 128 (Discharge Only) Northbound Trains (Pickup Only) Southbound Trains

-MA-RI Border



-RI-CT Border


-New London Union Station (Weekdays Only)

-New Haven Union Station


-CT-NY Border


-New York Penn Station

-NY-NJ Border


-Newark Penn Station

-Iselin (Metropark)

-Trenton Transit Center

-NJ-PA Border


-Philadelphia 30th St. Station

-PA-DE Border



-DE-MD Border


-Baltimore Penn Station

-BWI Thurgood Marshall International Airport

MD-DC Border


Washington D.C. Union Station


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