By M.T. Burkhart
Amtrak is taking the next generation of Acela trainsets for a test drive. This past week, the first Acela Avelia Liberty has been running out of Philadelphia towards Harrisburg. The new trains, which will replace the first generation Acela in 2021, are being built by Alstom in Hornell, N.Y.
The first completed train was taken to Pueblo, Colo. for high-speed test runs at the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. earlier this year. The second one was sent directly to Philadelphia.
On Thursday, May 28, the second train set – with power cars 2102 and 2103 – ran from Philadelphia to Thorndale, a distance of about 40 miles. On Friday, May 29, it made a longer roundtrip to Lancaster. The test runs offered railfans a rare chance to see the new trains on a route other than the Northeast Corridor, which will eventually be their primary home. The modern train looked particularly out of place with the Harrisburg Line’s century-old station and low-level brick platforms.
Amtrak has ordered 28 of the nine-car sets, which are expected to enter revenue service between Boston to Washington next year, according to Amtrak. All sets should be in service by 2022. Testing is expected to move to the Northeast Corridor soon.