Avelia Liberty is a model of high-speed passenger train marketed by French train producer Alstom. It is related to the TGV and New Pendolino family of high-speed trains, but adapted for North American railroad standards, including U.S. Federal Railroad Administration crashworthiness standards. Amtrak has ordered 28 train sets for use on its Northeast Corridor, with service expected to start in 2021.
Official rendering of the Avelia Liberty
|Number under construction||28|
|Line(s) served||Northeast Corridor|
|Maximum speed||220 mph (350 km/h)|
25 kV 60 Hz AC, 12 kV 60 Hz AC, 12 kV 25 Hz AC
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
On August 26, 2016, Amtrak and Alstom announced that the Avelia Liberty trainset had been chosen to replace the existing Bombardier-Alstom Acela Express trainsets on the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C. via New York City and Philadelphia. The new trainsets, along with track and signaling improvements, will allow for an initial improvement in maximum regular service speed to 160 miles per hour (257 km/h) on some portions of the route, with a maximum possible speed of 186 mph (299 km/h) if future investments in track and signaling upgrades are made. The trains themselves are designed for a speed of 220 mph (350 km/h) if the tilting mechanism is deactivated.
Features and production
The initial formation of the new trains will have two power cars and nine passenger cars. The trains will feature articulated coaches, and an additional three passenger cars can be added if demand grows. The power cars, one at each end, include an Alstom Crash Energy Management system to help meet FRA standards while allowing a 30% reduction in train weight. These trains will also have USB ports, power sockets, WiFi, accessibility features, and other conveniences.
The trainsets will be equipped with an active tilt system, dubbed Tiltronix by Alstom, that will allow higher speeds on curved portions of the corridor track.
U.S. assembly of the trainsets is taking place at Alstom's plants in Hornell and Rochester, New York. Initial construction of car bodies and major components began at Hornell in October 2017. The planned livery was also revealed that month. As of February 2019, testing of the first trainset at TTCI in Pueblo, Colorado is expected to begin in September 2019, followed by testing on the Northeast Corridor that December. The trains are scheduled to enter service beginning in 2021, with final delivery of all 28 trainsets to be completed in 2022, at which point Amtrak will retire the previous Acela fleet.
Amtrak will acquire 28 trainsets, allowing for more frequent service on the route, including half-hourly peak service between New York City and Washington, D.C.; in addition, the new trains will have approximately one-third greater passenger capacity. Alstom will provide long-term technical support and supply spare components and parts.
- "Amtrak Invests $2.4 Billion for Next-Gen High-Speed Trainsets and Infrastructure Upgrades" (Press release). Amtrak. August 26, 2016. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
- "Alstom to provide Amtrak with its new generation of high-speed trains" (Press release). Alstom. August 26, 2016.
- Alstom (2016). "Case Study: Amtrak Avelia Liberty" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 11, 2016.
- "Avelia Liberty: Innovation and proven design at very high-speed". Alstom.
- "Amtrak awards Northeast Corridor high speed train contract". Railway Gazette International. DVV Media UK Ltd. August 26, 2016. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
- A Look Inside Alstom's Avelia Liberty. Railway Age. August 8, 2018.
- Sneider, Julie (December 2016). "Amtrak's 'Liberty' will be the latest of Alstom's high-speed Avelia trains". Progressive Railroading. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
- "Production of next-generation Acela Express fleet underway". Railway Gazette International. October 11, 2017. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
- "Alstom redevelops exterior and livery design: The new Amtrak Acela high speed trains will look like this". Railcolor News. October 10, 2017. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- "Amtrak Procurement and Program Updates" (PDF). Next Generation Equipment Committee – 2019 Annual Meeting. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. February 22, 2019.
- "Amtrak-Alstom reach $2.45 billion-deal w/video". Trains Magazine. August 26, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- Vantuono, William C. (August 27, 2016). "Alstom lands Amtrak next-gen NEC trainset contract". Railway Age. Simmons-Boardman Publishing Inc. Retrieved August 29, 2016.