Amtrak’s future includes trains that travel every half hour between New York and Washington, D.C. at a maximum speed of 160 m.p.h., the New York Times reports. Armed with a $2.45 billion loan from the federal government, Amtrak has contracted French company Alstom to build 28 new trains for the Northeast Corridor, which will replace the existing Acela trains.
The first of these swanky new trains will be operational in 2021, and will be able to carry 40 percent more passengers than they do today. In addition, trains between Boston and New York will depart every hour. The Northeast Corridor spans 457 miles and has seen an increase of over one million passengers between 2002 and 2014 going from 2.2 million passengers to 3.5 million.
The new trains, for the most part, will all be manufactured by Alstom in Hornell, New York. The type of train Amtrak has ordered is known as Avelia Liberty, and can travel at speeds of up to 186 m.p.h. However the existing track infrastructure will only allow the trains a maximum speed of 160 m.p.h.—still that’s a lot faster than the existing maximum speed of 135 m.p.h.
Funds for the new trains are the biggest loan provided by the Department of Transportation in its history. Amtrak is expected to phase out its current Acela trains by the end of 2022. The new trains will have nine cars with the possibility of adding three more if the demand increases, better accessibility for people with disabilities, and come equipped with a special tilting technology that enables the trains to maneuver curves more safely and at higher speeds.