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Testing ‘difficulties’ delay launch of faster Acela trains, Amtrak says
The new trains are now slated to enter service in 2024.
New Acela trains scheduled to debut this fall need more analysis to ensure they can safely operate on the curvy and aging tracks between Washington and Boston, railroad officials said, saying the new trains are now slated to enter service in 2024, at least three years behind schedule.
But their delivery has been snarled by multiple delays, including some stemming from unforeseen complexities in testing and computer simulation processes required by the Federal Railroad Administration. Amtrak and train manufacturer Alstom have cited some compatibility hiccups between the high-tech train, modeled after those in operation across Europe, and infrastructure that dates back 190 years in some areas.
The latest hurdle, officials said, involves testing the train’s wheels, particularly at higher speeds.
“The modeling of the wheel to track interface is particularly complex due to age, condition, and specific characteristics of Amtrak infrastructure on the Northeast corridor, and especially the existing tracks,” Alstom said in a statement.
Their delivery will provide a pandemic-era boost to Amtrak, adding to momentum for a massive expansion backed by unprecedented political and financial support from Washington. With their aerodynamic white-and-blue exteriors, touchless doors, USB outlets and improved cafe cars, they are an upgrade from the 22-year-old vehicles they will replace.
Three years after manufacturing began, Train 15 was the latest to reach the end of the production line late this summer inside the 137-year-old shop. Alstom, a French train manufacturer, expanded the complex into a massive operation, so far delivering four train sets that will carry passengers in fall 2023.
Top speeds of 160 mph will only be reached along 34 miles in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with another 16 miles in New Jersey. Ongoing track enhancements between D.C. and New York will allow the new trains to travel 10 mph faster in segments with a 125 mph speed limit. Signal upgrades at various locations could eventually boost speeds from 45 mph to 80 mph.
Alstom officials said some of the train’s features will debut in the United States before Europe, including touchless doors and spacious restrooms with a 60-inch diameter turning radius, which exceed accessibility requirements.
Jeff Smith wrote: ↑Sat May 27, 2023 5:47 pm Back to Avelia please.Will it have newspapers on every seat? :3
Amtrak’s $2 billion effort to replace its fleet of Acela express trains on the Washington-to-Boston corridor has hit a foreseeable snag: The new trains have to run on an old railroad.If you ask me, I think this "cop out" roundly translates to "we thought we'd make like our off the shelf TGV equipment could fake it, but we have now been caught, so we must confess".
The trains from France-based Alstom were originally set to begin service in 2021, but Amtrak and Alstom officials now say they will remain sidetracked at least until 2024 as the manufacturer struggles with mandatory testing intended to show how the units will perform in real-world conditions.