Amtrak's New Acela Prototype Train To Pass Through Chicago, Naperville

Mike Krauser
February 18, 2020 - 8:34 am
Acela Prototype Train

ALSTOM SA 2018. Design & Styling / AVELIA Liberty

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The future of Amtrak will be on display in Chicago and Naperville on Tuesday afternoon. 

The first of Amtrak's 28 new, next generation Acela trainsets will be passing through Tuesday on the way to high-speed testing at the Transportation Technology Center near Pueblo, Colorado. 

The trains are planned to enter service throughout the Northeast in 2021. They are being manufactured by Alstom in Hornell, N.Y., using parts manufactured by nearly 250 suppliers in Illinois and 26 other states, with 95 percent of the components produced domestically.

“Amtrak is proud to celebrate this major achievement for the new Acela fleet program, as we are bringing customers one step closer to enjoying the benefits of these new trains,” said Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson, in a statement. “With strong demand for Acela travel continuing to grow, we will test the trains to ensure customers will have safe and reliable service with modern amenities when these trains go into service next year.”

The new Acela trainsets include an advanced seat reservation system that easily distinguishes seat availability.
ALSTOM SA 2018. Design & Styling / AVELIA Liberty

Amtrak said the new trains will accomodate 25 percent more passengers while continuing the spacious, high-end comfort of the current Acela service, with improved WiFi, personal outlets, USB ports, and adjustable reading lights. The company said the electric Acela trains are the country's fastest, traveling up to 160 mph, as well as the most comfortable and all-electric intercity trains, providing a more environmentally friendly way to travel. Amtrak will further reduce its carbon footprint by using 40 percent less energy per Acela customer when these trains enter service.

The prototype set will travel from Buffalo, N.Y., to La Junta, Colo., via Chicago. Those who want to see or take photos of this movement are reminded to stay well-away from the tracks and platforms, and should absolutely not trespass on private railroad property.