By Railfan & Railroad Staff
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Amtrak’s Acela will now be able to reach 150 miles per hour on a 16-mile segment of track between New Brunswick and South Brunswick, N.J., thanks to recent infrastructure improvements on the Northeast Corridor.
While the Acela was built to reach speeds of 165 miles per hour, the aging infrastructure on the Northeast Corridor has limited it to a maximum of 150 miles per hour on segments of track in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Prior to these improvements in New Jersey, the feastest the train could go in the Garden State was 135 miles per hour. One of the issues limiting the speed was the use of the older, Pennsylvania Railroad catenary from the 1930s. New overhead wire, plus high-speed turnouts and new power substations helped them increase the speed limit. Another eight miles of 150-mile track is expected to be completed later this year between South Brunswick and Trenton. The recent improvements will also allow Amtrak to run its next-generation Acela to hit speeds of 160 miles per hour when it finally debuts next year.
The recent improvements were funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of the New Jersey High-Speed Rail Improvement Program.
“The upgrades coming from the New Jersey High-Speed Rail Improvement Program exemplify our continual commitment to upgrade the Northeast Corridor and transform the customer experience as we welcome more passengers back on board,” said Amtrak President and CEO Stephen Gardner. “Thanks to the hard work by Amtrak’s Infrastructure Maintenance & Construction Services Team and our DOT and commuter partners, our customers will experience more reliable and faster trains and better on-time performance on this busy section of the NEC.”