Posts Tagged ‘Acela Express’

Amtrak Debuts New Cafe Care Menu in NEC

June 15, 2018

In what could be a preview of what is coming system wide, Amtrak launched new café car fare on June 13 on its Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains.

The new menu includes products from Boar’s Head Brand as well as a variety of other snacks, drinks and sundries.

This included drinks such as Makers Mark®, Cutwater™ Spirits, and LaCroix® sparkling water, and other such food items as Sahale Snacks® and Sweet Street® desserts.

“We are pleased to introduce this new menu featuring Boar’s Head premium products for our customers to enjoy as they travel with us along the Northeast Corridor,” said Amtrak Vice President of Product Development & Customer Experience Peter Wilander in a statement.

“The updated menu features premium sandwiches, salads and snacks, along with some gluten-free and vegan choices to enhance the overall Amtrak travel experience.”

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Assigned Seats Available on Acela

June 1, 2018

Amtrak is now offering assigned seating in first class on its Acela Express trains.

Select trains will offer passengers a single or double seat, a window or an aisle, or a two- or four-person conference table.

In a news release Amtrak said it will introduce seat assignments on more Acela trains later this year.

Amtrak had been using a first-come, first-served seating policy, which has occasionally led to passengers being unable to find seats during holidays and peak seasons.

Passengers will be able to change their assigned seat without charge prior to boarding using Amtrak’s website or mobile app, or with a ticket agent.

Sleek Acela

May 15, 2018

Amtrak’s Acela Express equipment doesn’t look anything like what used to operate in the Northeast Corridor.

That is by design. Acela more closely resembles the sleek, streamlined look of European or Japanese high-speed trains than it does the boxy Metroliner of the 1960s and beyond.

The equipment used in Acela service is not, relatively speaking, all that old.

Already Amtrak has plans to replace it and the trainset seen above cruising through the Newark Liberty International Airport station is slated to be replaced by early 2023.

Such are the priorities for Amtrak’s top “glamour” train in its most important corridor in terms of traffic.

NEC Wi-Fi Getting an Upgrade

May 15, 2018

Amtrak is upgrading Wi-Fi service in the Northeast Corridor by installing new equipment on its passenger cars.

In a news release, the carrier said the upgrades will provide a more reliable and easier connection to high-speed broadband.

The cars will receive upgraded processors and modem cards, and new antennas that will improve speed.

Amtrak said this will allow for quicker loading times for webpages and other content, the ability to send and receive files faster, and improved video streaming and audio performance.

The carrier said that passengers cars used by Acela Express trains are already benefiting from performance tuning, including improved stability and reliability of VPN connections for passengers accessing corporate networks.

Later this summer, Amtrak will roll out a new, simplified Wi-Fi home page.

Amtrak said that on average, there are 20,000 Wi-Fi sessions daily on NEC trains with more than 70 percent of devices aboard Acela trains connected to Amtrak’s Wi-Fi network.

The average session time on Northeast Regional trains is 1 hour, 41 minutes, while on Acela it is 2 hours and 9 minutes.

Amtrak is also upgrading Wi-Fi at 29 stations throughout its national network.

Acela Trainsets Getting Refurbished

May 15, 2018

Amtrak plans to refurbish the interiors of its 20 Acela Express trainsets over the next 10 months.

The program will involve 100 cars and 6,080 seats with each receiving new cushions and covers for all business class and first-class seats, new carpeting for the aisle runner and a deep clean. The project will cost more than $4 million.

The first refurbished trainset will enter revenue service this month with two train sets per month being renovated and returned to service.

In a news release Amtrak said schedules will no change during the program.

Materials from the existing Acela cushions and covers will recycled and turned into carpet padding while the leather will be recycled into handbags, wallets and other consumer goods.

Amtrak is in the process of acquiring new equipment for Acela Express service with the first prototype expected to begin testing next year.

The first new trainset is expected to start revenue service in 2019 and all existing Acela Express trainsets are expected to be retired in early 2022.

Track Works Leads to NEC Changes

February 15, 2018

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that track work will result in changes starting March 10 to Northeast Corridor. Minor schedule adjustments will be made on Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains as the infrastructure work begins.

  • Most trains will operate with extended schedules to compensate for speed reductions and congestion caused by track work.
  • Scheduled departure and arrival times of both Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains may change by 3 to 15 minutes in both directions between Boston, New York and Washington.
  • All Acela Express trains will depart Washington at 10 minutes before the hour, rather than on the hour.

Additional minor adjustments to departure times and travel times for both Acela Express and Northeast Regional can be found on Amtrak.com and the Amtrak mobile app.

Amtrak Adds NEC Trains for Thanksgiving

October 31, 2017

Amtrak is adding trains and capacity to its Northeast Corridor service for the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

The carrier said will operate every available passenger railcar to handle the surge in patronage.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said its Acela Express and Northeast Regional services will operate with extended schedules with additional frequencies and added capacity during the week of Thanksgiving. Regular Amtrak booking procedures apply.

Last year, Amtrak carried 760,755 passenger throughout its national network during the Thanksgiving travel period. Similar business is expected this year.

On the other coast, Amtrak said passengers riding Pacific Surfliner trains in California between Wednesday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 26, will need reservations

During that period, a ticket will only be valid on the train for which a passenger holds a reservation.

Reservations will be not required for our monthly and ten-ride ticket holders.

Additionally, both Rail2Rail programs (Coaster and Metrolink) will observe a blackout period for the same dates, Nov. 22 through Nov. 26.

Anderson Discusses Amtrak’s Priorities

September 6, 2017

Amtrak has dropped the idea of reducing the distance between its seats.

Appearing on the CBS program This Morning, Amtrak’s co-CEO Richard Anderson said that the spacing between seats, known in the industry as pitch, will remain unchanged.

“One of our great advantages is that there are no middle seats,” Anderson said. “Our coach on Amtrak is much, much better than first class on airlines.”

Anderson is a former president of Delta Air Lines. The airline industry is notorious for its efforts over the years to reduce seat pitch in order to cram more passengers aboard its planes.

During the interview, Anderson said that infrastructure repair is the passengers carriers “first imperative.”

The next priority is better service. “We’ve got to clean up our trains, run our trains on time, fix the interiors of our trains, and grow our services in the regions that provide the highest level of service to the communities around the country,” Anderson said.

Anderson said the new equipment that Amtrak has ordered for its Acela Express service will increase capacity in the Northeast Corridor by 40 percent.

He did not, though, say anything about buying new equipment to replace cars used on long-distance trains. Some of that equipment dates to the 1970s. Instead, Amtrak plans to refurbish that equipment.

Increasing service frequency on some routes is an Amtrak goal, but that appears to be limited to densely populated regions.

“If we could get our train speeds up and operate more densely-populated urban corridors, it would be a great service to the traveling public in America,” Anderson said.

LSL Not Affected by New York Penn Station Changes

May 31, 2017

The Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited will not be affected by schedule changes that Amtrak is imposing this summer at New York Penn Station during a track renewal project.

The passenger carrier said on Tuesday that it will change its schedules between July 10 and Sept. 1 to reflect the reduced station capacity as workers undertake track and switch work.

Amtrak President Charles “Wick” Moorman said Amtrak would be affected the most by the schedule changes, which also will affect New Jersey Transit and Long Island Railroad trains.

One long-distance train, the New York-New Orleans Crescent, will terminate in Washington during the construction period. Passengers bound for points north of Washington will need to change trains in Washington.

Northeast Regional service will see three round trip trains New York and Washington canceled. New York-Boston service will operate at current levels.

Keystone Service will terminate in Philadelphia with one roundtrip terminating in Newark, New Jersey.  Service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will be at current levels.

There will be no schedule changes for Acela Express service. Amtrak said it would announce changes to Empire Service later.

Amtrak said it decided to speed up previously planned projects to improve conditions and service reliability at the station following two derailments earlier this year.

“While we regret that this work requires some reduction in train service and disruption to passengers over the summer months, we believe it will ultimately be worth the investment in terms of increased reliability of passenger rail travel,” said Moorman in a news release.

 

Winter Storm Leads Amtrak to Shorten Route of Capitol Limited, Cancel Boston LSL Section

March 13, 2017

A severe winter storm that has prompted Amtrak to cancel and reduce service along the Northeast Corridor will also affect some trains operating to the Atlantic Seaboard from outside the region.

The Capitol Limited will not operate on Tuesday (March 14) between Pittsburgh and Washington.

The Lake Shore Limited will not operate between Boston and Albany/Rensselaer, New York.

Amtrak said there will be no Acela Express service between New York and Boston, and there will be modified Acela Express service between New York and Washington.

Northeast Regional service will operate on a modified schedule between Boston and Washington with the routes of some trains shortened and other trains being canceled. This will affect some trains that operate beyond Washington to points in Virginia.

Also operating on modified schedules will be Empire Service, Downeaster Service and Keystone Service trains.