Posts Tagged ‘Alstom’

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..

Acela Prototype Hits 165 mph in Test Run

May 23, 2020

Amtrak said this week that its Acela prototype trainset reached a high-speed testing milestone by traveling at speeds up to 165 mph at the Transportation Technology Center near Pueblo, Colorado.

The prototype left the Alstom factory in Hornell, New York, where it was assembled, on Feb. 17 to travel to the Association of American Railroads test center in Colorado to undergo six months of dynamic testing.

Amtrak plans to put its new Acela fleet into revenue service in the Northeast Corridor in 2021.

The speed mark that the Acela prototype hit is faster than the planned 160 mph speeds Acela trains will travel in revenue service.

The prototype is expected to return to New York after the testing is completed and be given its interior appointments. Alstom is building 28 new Acela trainsets for Amtrak.

Acela Trainset to Leave For Testing in Colorado

February 14, 2020

Amtrak said this week that the first new Acela trainset will depart on Monday for a testing center in Colorado.

The equipment, which is being built by Alstom in Hornell, New York, will undergo nine months of testing at the Transportation Technology Center near Pueblo, Colorado.

Tests will examine the trainset’s pantograph, railway dynamics, tilting, traction, slip/slide and wayside protection, brakes, and train control management systems.

After the testing has ended the trainset will return to New York for installation of its interiors.

Alstom is building 20 Acela trainsets with the first slated to enter revenue service in 2021.

The prototype set will travel from Buffalo, New York, to La Junta, Colorado, via Chicago between Feb. 17 and 19, using the routes of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited and Southwest Chief.

A second trainset is expected to move to Amtrak’s Penn Coach Yard in Philadelphia for testing in mext month.

A third trainset now being built is tentatively scheduled to travel to Philadelphia for testing in September.

Amtrak IG Warns Carrier at Risk of Missing May 2021 Objective to Start Using New Alstom Acela Train Sets

January 25, 2020

Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General said this week the passenger carrier is in danger of missing its stated goal of putting into revenue service in May 2021 new equipment for its Acela Express service in the Northeast Corridor.

That could mean lost revenue because the new train sets Amtrak has purchased and are still being built will have 82 more seats than the original equipment now used in Acela Express service.

“The Acela 21 program is entering a critical stage if it is to begin revenue service on time,” the report concluded.

Although the IG found the program has used “some sound program management practices” there are management and structural weaknesses that continue to pose significant risks.

“Foremost is that project delays have eliminated any cushion in the schedule, and multiple indicators point to further delays beyond the planned service launch in 2021,” the report said.

The report came on the heels of the Federal Railroad Administration giving approval to Amtrak to move one train set from the factory in Hornell, New York, where it was built, to an FRA test site in Colorado.

Amtrak also released a video showing the train set, which was built by Alstom, getting underway on its trip to the test track.

Alstom is building 28 train sets for Acela service. The train sets have cost $2.1 billion.

Amtrak assistant IG Jim Morrison wrote in his report that it is likely that Amtrak will not meet its 2021 target date for putting the new high-speed equipment into service.

The IG report said Amtrak has not upgraded maintenance facilities or information technology systems to handle the new train.

Training of the 1,000 maintenance and onboard personnel on the nuts and bolts operations of the new equipment has yet to get underway.

The original plan had been for Alstom to deliver to Amtrak as many as nine train sets in 2021, but that timetable is in doubt.

Amtrak plans to remove one existing Acela train set from service each time a new train set is ready to run.

In order for Amtrak to meet its 2021 objective, the testing of the first train set must be flawless and construction of remaining equipment must be without significant delays.

The IG report recommended Amtrak have managers working on the Acela 21 be given the property authority to focus on and finish the project.

This includes creating contingency plans for what the passenger carrier will do if it misses its target service and deliveries falls further behind schedule.

The report was based on interviews with Amtrak managers in late 2019 and early 2020.

It noted that many of the delays were beyond the control of Amtrak. These included delays that occurred during the manufacturing process.

Amtrak agreed with the five elements the IG identified, including employee training, development of IT services, and modifications to service and inspection facilities.

However, Amtrak said it believes it has a strong management structure in place to oversee execution and delivery of the project.

“There remains an extraordinary amount of work ahead and Amtrak management is confident that the proper resources are aligned to deliver this ambitious program on scope, schedule and budget,” Amtrak wrote in its response to the report.

The contract with Alstom was approved by Amtrak’s board of directors in 2016.

Amtrak said in the video of the first new Alstom train set that it will be moved to the test track near Pueblo, Colorado, in mid-February.

Amtrak Shows Acela Trainsets Being Built

June 16, 2019

Amtrak last week offered a view of the construction of new train sets that are expected to be put into service on its Acela Express service in 2021.

The trainsets are being built in Hornell, New York, by a consortium of Bombardier and Alstom.

The equipment will replace 20-year trainsets now used in Acela Express service.

The equipment now used in Acela Express service operates under the Avelia Liberty product designation, but Amtrak has not said what brand identity the new equipment will use.

The new trainsets will be capable of 186 mph but will be limited to 160 mph in Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

The equipment featured a European-inspired design with a capacity of 378 compared with 304 of the current Acela Express equipment.

In a news release, Amtrak said the first trainset prototype will be ready for testing later this year.

All of the trainsets will have entered revenue service by 2022.