Passenger seating capacity to increase by a third.

Amtrak has announced plans to introduce its next generation of high-speed trains in 2021 as a result of a huge $2.45 billion loan obtained from the federal government. The money will be put to good use as the company wants to invest in no less than 28 next-gen train sets as well as overhaul the Northeast Corridor.

Most of the loan, approximately $2 billion, will be directed towards the introduction of the new trains which according to Amtrak will be able to reach top speeds of 186 mph (300 kph). Aside from the higher velocity, the trains will also be substantially roomier by offering 33 percent more seating capacity while featuring more amenities by installing extra USB ports, outlets, and upgrading Wi-Fi quality as well.

In addition, Amtrak mentions its new generation of high-speed trains will benefit from a lightweight construction and a more aerodynamic design which will cut energy consumption by approximately 20 percent. These new train sets are going to replace the existing Acela fleet and will be built in collaboration with Alstom, with 95 percent of the parts to be manufactured in United States with components provided by 350 suppliers from 30 states. The investments planned will also generate an additional 1,000 jobs across the country.

If the name Alstom is ringing a bell, that is because the company is also responsible for making France’s famous train à grande vitesse. The current TGV world speed record was established in April 2007 when a TGV managed to hit 357.2 mph (574.8 kph) on the LGV Est, a French high-speed rail line connecting Vaires-sur-Marne located near Paris and Vendenheim in the vicinity of Strasbourg.

Speaking from personal experience, one of the TGVs to Paris travels at an average speed of close to 186 mph (300 kph), peaking at almost 200 mph (322 kph), which is a lot quicker than the regular trains from Paris to Versailles. For the sake of comparison, Amtrak’s current high-speed trains max out at 150 mph (241 kph) or slightly more, as per the company’s website.


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