Use of New Acela Trains Delayed to 2022

Inauguration of Amtrak’s new generation of Acela equipment has been delayed for a year while the manufacturer modifies them to better work with the catenary in the Northeast Coridor.

The Acela trainsets had been expected to enter revenue service this year, but their debut has been pushed back to spring 2022.

Amtrak found the pantographs on the new trains sometimes lose contact with the catenary on curves resulting in the trains being unable to reach top speed.

Amtrak ordered 28 trainsets from Alstom. Larry Biess, Amtrak’s assistant vice president of mechanical, said the aging and curvy nature of the Northeast Corridor presented problems that the Avelia Liberty trainsets did not encounter in Europe.

Amtrak and Alstom are working to modify the trains but that will require additional testing, computer modeling, and simulations.

Biess said the testing has taken time and added several months to the timeline to deliver the equipment.

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