All aboard for faster rail service.
Infrastructure improvements in New Jersey will allow Amtrak Acela trains to reach 150 mph on a 16-mile segment between New Brunswick and South Brunswick, the railroad announced Tuesday. This will mean faster travel times for premium passengers on the Northeast Corridor between New York and Washington.
The upgrade is part of New Jersey’s bullet train improvement program, which will include an expanded higher-speed zone by 2024 and other changes intended to make rail travel more attractive. Amtrak also recently received $450 million from the Department of Transportation for upgrades.
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Amtrak plans new, faster trains
“The upgrades from the New Jersey High Speed Rail Improvement Program demonstrate our continued commitment to upgrading the Northeast Corridor and transforming the customer experience as we welcome more passengers on board,” Amtrak President and CEO Stephen Gardner said in a statement. . “Thanks to the hard work of Amtrak’s Infrastructure, Maintenance and Construction Services team and our DOT and commuter partners, our customers will experience more reliable, faster trains and better on-time performance on this busy section” of the northeast corridor.
Amtrak plans to begin introducing new Acela trains in fall 2023, which will be capable of even higher speeds – up to 160 mph. Prior to the New Jersey upgrades, existing Acela equipment was limited to slower travel for most of the line except for short 150 mph segments in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Trains elsewhere in the world are much faster
Acela is Amtrak’s first train. With only Business Class and First Class seating, it offers the fastest scheduled services on the North East Corridor, but the railway is also working to improve things for travelers on regular regional trains.
Amtrak plans to introduce new trains on many routes by 2024 that will feature upgraded interiors and amenities, and be designed to travel at speeds of up to 125 mph.
While 160 or even 150 mph may seem fast to Amtrak passengers, it’s still slow compared to high-speed intercity service in much of the rest of the world. China’s fastest trains can reach speeds in excess of 220 mph, and European high-speed rail typically maxes out at nearly 200 mph.