Locomotives / Train Sets

AMTRAK Acela (Acela Express)

Electric Locomotive

Entry Last Edited: 01/25/2024 | Content ©www.RailRoadJunction.net | The following text is exclusive to this site.
Specifications [+]
The Acela operated by carrier AMTRAK is the fastest high-speed train in America, clocking at 150 miles-per-hour.
The current face of American high-speed passenger railway travel is the Acela operated by AMTRAK. The series began service in December of 2000 and has since entrenched itself along the "Northeast Megalopolis" (Northeast Corridor) region encompassing passenger hubs Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C serving over 2 million commuters in a given year across thirteen total stops (terminals are at Boston and Washington). Power car numbers span 2000 to 2039 while train numbers span 2100 to 2290.

The trains were constructed through a Bombardier-Alstom consortium and resulted in 20 sets built from 1998 into 2001. The typical train set includes eight total cars made up of two power cars and six passenger coaches. All told, this provides seating for 304 broken up into a First Class (44 seats) and a Business Class (260 seats). In the First Class arrangement, seating is 3-across and the Business Class follows with 4-across. An onboard cafe serves meals for First Class customers. Cars are constructed with steel bodies.

The entire train has a length of 663.8 feet with cars measuring 87.4 feet (power cars are 69.7 feet in length). Entry / exit is through single-leaf sliding "plug" doors leveled with specific platform heights, the floor height being 4.3 feet. End coaches are given two doors per side while intermediate coaches have four doors per side. Power cars are positioned at each end of the trainset.

The power car weighs 204,000lb. Intermediate coaches tip the scales at 139,000lb and end coaches are 142,000lb. Collectively, the trainset weighs 1,246,000lb.

Drive power to the train is made possible by an overhead Pantograph arrangement, drawing electricity to propel the train along its routes. This includes 25 kV 60 Hz AC from the Boston to New Haven leg, 12.5 kV 60Hz AC from the New Haven to New York leg, and 12 kV 25 Hz AC from the New York to Washington leg (as such the transmission arrangement is detailed as "AC-DC-AC"). Two Pantographs are seated above each power car.

The traction system is an Alstom GTO-VVVF inverter control arrangement with 4 x Alstom 4-FXA-4559C 3-phase induction motor traction system delivering 1,540 horsepower. The total power output is 6,200 horsepower. Braking is via a dynamic and regenerative system through the power car and an electro-pneumatic disk-and-tread system for the coaches.

By design, the train can reach speeds up to 150 miles-per-hour (240kmh) but typically averages 70mph along its route.

By the AAR wheel arrangement system, the Acela is B+B+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+B+B. The integrated safety system is ACSES (Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System).

The AMTRAK Acela has since been succeeded by the "Avelia Liberty" (built by Alstom) long-nose design set to take to the rails in 2023.

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Specifications [ AMTRAK Acela (Acela Express) ]

Bombardier - Germany / GEC Alsthom (Alstom) - France

United States
1998 - 2000
Production Run

20 units
Production Total
Train driver seating position graphic

Driver Position
21.2m | 69.6 ft
NOTE: May include length of entire train set
93,000 kg
(205,065 lb | 103 US Tons)
Locomotive power source graphical icon
Power Source
AC-DC-AC Transmission: 25kV 60Hz AC (Boston-New Haven leg) / 12.5kV 50Hz AC (New Haven-New York leg) / 12kV 25Hz AC (New York-Washington leg); accessed via Pantograph overhead line.
Engine / Drive Source
4 x Alstom 4-FXA-4559C 3-phase AC induction motor of 1,540 horsepower.
Traction Motor / Sets
6,200 hp
Rated Output Power
240.0 kph
(149.2 mph)
Max Speed
Wheel Arrangement
(Loco Facing Left)


Safety Systems
Series Variants
Acela - Base Series Name.
Acela Express - Original series name until 2019.
Operating Countries
United States

National flag of the United States
Customers / Operators:
NOTE: Includes both past and present

Image of the AMTRAK Acela (Acela Express)

Image of the AMTRAK Acela (Acela Express)
Side profile view of an AMTRAK Acela high-speed train lead unit.
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