Posts Tagged ‘Acela’

NEC Improvements Projects Plan Released

July 21, 2021

A 15-year $117 billion plan for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor has been released by the Northeast Corridor Commission.

The plan, which the commission billed as the most ambitious reinvestment program in the corridor’s history, encompasses 150 projects and capital renewal efforts.

In a statement, the commission said it hopes the plan, if implemented, will result in a modern and resilient railroad with safe, reliable, and more frequent service; connections to new markets; and reduced travel times between communities.

“Improving the NEC rail system is a vital multistate effort,” said Amit Bose, deputy administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration and NEC Commission co-chair.

The plan, known as C35, is described as the first phase of the long-term vision for the corridor established in the Federal Railroad Administration’s 2017 NEC FUTURE plan to make significant improvements to NEC rail service for both existing and new riders, on both commuter-rail systems and Amtrak.

Among the projects cited in the plan are cutting the Amtrak Acela travel time between Washington and New York by 26 minutes, increasing Amtrak Northeast Regional service levels by 33 percent, and doubling service for several commuter railroads.

Use of New Acela Trains Delayed to 2022

June 4, 2021

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.

Acela Trainset Returns to Alstom Factory

May 10, 2021

One of Amtrak’s new Acela trainsets has returned to New York State after completing testing at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado.

The trainset passed through Chicago en route to the Alstom assembly plant in Hornell, New York, where the trainsets are being built.

The trainset has passed through Chicago in February 2020 en route to Colorado for the testing.

Amtrak held a media event in Chicago to mark the return of the Acela trainset..

Track Work Will Change Some NE Schedules

April 6, 2021

Amtrak said that to accommodate track work being performed between Boston Back Bay and Route 128 stations that Acela and Northeast Regional schedules will be modified on April 10.

Acela Train 2249 will be cancelled and passengers given the option of booking another Acela or Northeast Regional train.

Train 2255 willoperate between Boston and Washington on April 10, only. This train does not normally operate on Saturdays.

Some Northeast Regional trains will be pulled by diesel engines over the weekend due to the overhead catenary system being switched off working hours. This may cause some minimal delays.

Fido, Fluffy Can Ride Acela on Weekdays

March 5, 2021

Pets are being allowed to travel on more Amtrak Acela trains.

The passenger carrier said dogs and cats weighing up to 20 pounds are being allowed aboard weekday Acela trains.

Passengers bringing a pet aboard must pay $26 for the pet or 800 Amtrak Guest Rewards points.

Pets had been allowed only on weekend Acela trips. Eight pet spaces are now available per train trip.

However, pets will not be allowed in first class or café cars. In a news release, Amtrak said more than 174,000 pets have traveled with their human companions since the pet program began in October 2015.

Service Modifications Continue Today

February 3, 2021

Due to the effects of a winter storm, Amtrak extended service modifications for a third day into Feb. 3.

In a service advisory Amtrak said that the modifications affected Acela service between Boston and Washington; Northeast Regional Service between Boston and Virginia via Washington; and Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, via Philadelphia.

The advisory said passengers affected by the service disruptions were being accommodated on other trains with similar departure times or operating on another day.

Amtrak will waive additional charges for passengers looking to change their reservation during the modified schedule.

Storm Continues to Disrupt Amtrak in the East

February 2, 2021

Amtrak said Monday afternoon that it will continue to suspend some services while modifying others in the East due to a severe winter storm.

Service between New York and Boston, and between New York and Albany-Rensselaer, New York, was suspended at 3 p.m. Monday due to the closure of Metro-North railroad tracks used by Amtrak.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said modified schedules will operate on Tuesday for Acela service between Boston and Washington, Northeast Regional service between Boston and Virginia via New York and Washington, Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, via Philadelphia, and Empire Service between New York and Albany-Rensselaer.

Passengers were advised to contact 800-USA-RAILto determine if their train has been affected.

The latest train operation information is also available at Amtrak.com; via the Amtrak app; or by receiving email or text messages about specific trains, a service available at Amtrak.com/DelayAlerts

Information is also posted on Twitter at @AmtrakNEC and @AmtrakAlerts.

Storms Disrupt Amtrak on East, West Coasts

February 1, 2021

A winter storm on Sunday prompted Amtrak to cancel several services in the East.

Among them was the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian. Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, via Philadelphia operated on a limited schedule.

Also operating on limited or modified schedules was Northeast Regional Service between Boston and Virginia, and Empire Service between New York and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

All Acela service between Boston and Washington was canceled.

In a related development, storms on the West Coast also caused service suspensions and cancellation over the weekend.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said all service between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, California, has been suspended until further notice because of storm damage on the Union Pacific line along the Pacific Coast.

Pacific Surfliners that normally serve San Luis Obispo originated and terminated in Santa Barbara Sunday and Monday.

Alternative bus service was provided to San Luis Obispo.

Also affected was the Coast Starlight. In a Twitter message, Amtrak said the Starlight would be originating and terminating on Monday in Oakland, California.

Amtrak Seeks Contractors for Station Work

January 25, 2021

Amtrak has put out word it is looking for contractors to do work at its New Carrollton Station in Maryland.

The project involves building a side platform to accommodate the new Acela fleet and is not expected to interrupt existing Amtrak service.

The new equipment is expected to begin revenue service later this year.

The New Carrolton station was built in 1983 and also serves MARC commuter trains and bus and Metrorail trains of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Thanksgiving Travel Relatively Quiet at Amtrak

December 1, 2020

The Thanksgiving 2020 travel period was a relatively quiet one for Amtrak.

In the past the intercity carrier has leased equipment from rail commuter agencies to offer additional service in the Northeast, added additional cars to long-distance trains, and operated extra sections on some Midwest Corridor routes out of Chicago.

But this year it was just business as usual with little additional capacity being added.

A report on the Trains magazine website indicated that the only extra trains added this year were a Boston-Washington Northeast Regional roundtrip and one Acela roundtrip between New York and Washington.

The COVID-19 pandemic depressed holiday travel this year although airlines reported their highest single day loads since the pandemic began in earnest last March.

The Trains report said few trains were sold out this year although some sellouts occurred on corridor and long-distance trains on certain days.

Due to the pandemic Amtrak is limiting coach class travel to 50 percent of capacity.

Amtrak has since October operated nearly all of its long-distance trains three days a week.

That meant that some trains did not operate on days that would ordinarily have a seen a high demand for travel.

On Sunday, which airlines say is historically the busiest travel day of the year, Amtrak had just one long-distance train, the Texas Eagle, departing from Chicago.

Some long-distance trains did experience sell outs, including the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited.

Nos. 29 and 30 in recent months has been operating with just four cars, two coaches, a sleeper and a food service car.

But No. 30 departing Chicago on Saturday (Nov. 28) and Monday (Nov. 30) had no available seats available, the Trains report said.

The report said the Texas Eagle had no available coach seating between Chicago and St. Louis on Friday or Sunday in either direction.

The Trains report said space on many long-distance trains that experienced sell outs sold out weeks in advance of the Thanksgiving travel period.

However, Amtrak declined to add additional capacity to those trains.

With health officials seeking to discourage holiday travel, some long-distance trains experienced cancellations as the holiday period drew near, thus opening seats on the day of departure.