Newest high-speed passenger train leaves New York manufacturer and heads for Northeast Corridor

HORNELL – A new era for passenger rail in America is upon us.

The Acela, the country’s first line of high-speed trains, left the Hornell Alstom campus on Wednesday morning bound for Amtrak.

The Acela stretched its legs with a short jaunt past the Erie Depot museum on Loder Street, then returned through the Alstom campus to Canisteo, Painted Post and beyond. The trainset will be deployed in the North-East Corridor in the coming months.

Wednesday’s departure marked a milestone, the first time a completed Acela has left the Hornell workshop. A pair of test trains had already been shipped out of the Hornell facility, with the first hitting the tracks to much fanfare on February 17, 2020.

Rich Martin was among a small crowd gathered at Hornell to see the all-new Acela go on a journey. Martin, who describes himself as a “passionate railroad enthusiast,” traveled from his hometown of Corning.

“I was born on the New York Central Railroad by my great-uncle and kind of grew up around trains,” he said. “I drove the cabs that take them all over the state.

“I traveled all over the country with Amtrak. I would love to come here, get on a train and go somewhere.

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Next-generation Acela cars will feature the latest in passenger comfort, including:

  • Nearly 25% more seats. According to Amtrak, the 386 seats on each train will provide the spacious, premium comfort customers have come to expect.

  • Personal sockets, USB ports and adjustable reading lights at each seat.

  • Contemporary restaurant service, offering easy access and greater choice.

  • Free WIFI.

  • Exceed accessibility requirements for people with disabilities.

  • Spacious toilet with a turning radius of 60 inches in diameter.

The Acela high-speed train produced by Alstom passes the Erie Depot museum as it leaves Hornell on Wednesday morning, bound for Amtrak.

The Acela hit a top speed of 166.8 mph in testing, Amtrak confirmed late last year. The test train traveled over 30,000 miles while making over 2,000 trips around the test track in Pueblo, Colorado. It returned to Alstom’s Hornell workshop for modernization on 1 May. A second train has been deployed for testing along the Northeast Corridor.

Hornell Alstom’s workforce will eventually produce 28 new Acela trainsets to build the high-speed fleet, under a $2 billion contract awarded in 2016.

Alstom is expanding its presence in Hornell after winning a contract with Metra to supply railcars for the Chicago metropolitan area. The base order calls for Alstom to manufacture 200 cars at Hornell, with options for up to 300 more. Construction of a new railcar manufacturing facility on Shawmut Drive is underway. The contract should create approximately 250 new jobs and preserve 400 others.

Chris Potter can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ChrisPotter413. To get unlimited access to the latest news, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

This article originally appeared on The Evening Tribune: Amtrak Acela train leaves Hornell for Amtrak Northeast Corridor

Jose P. Rogers