Amtrak to run 150 mph trains along 16-mile segment of NEC

June 15, 2022
The speeds are among the top in North America and will reduce travel times and improve intercity and commuter service reliability.

Amtrak has made upgrades along a 16-mile segment of track between New Brunswick and South Brunswick, N.J., that will allow Acela trains to travel up to 150 mph. Amtrak says this is the “first of many speed upgrades” it is working on for the Northeast Corridor (NEC) that will reduce trip times and improve reliability of intercity and commuter services.

The work is part of the New Jersey High-Speed Rail Improvement program, which the U.S. Department of Transportation invested $450 million. The completed scope of the project included installation of new signal power cables, new catenary supports and wire renewal, installation of high-speed turnouts and renewed power substations. An additional eight miles of catenary between South Brunswick and Trenton, N.J., are also currently being upgraded, with completion and speed increases expected in 2024.

“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.”

Amtrak says trains traveling at up to 150 mph are the fastest of any North American train and matches top speeds in parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Additionally, the upgrades will also allow the new Acela trains to achieve speeds of 160 mph when introduced in Fall 2023, further solidifying the NEC as a high-speed rail corridor and allowing Amtrak to further reduce trip time in the years ahead.

Delivering higher speeds and reducing travel time is a key component of the Northeast Corridor Commission’s CONNECT NEC 2035. CONNECT NEC 2035 includes 150 projects and capital renewal efforts along the NEC developed with the federal government, Northeast state governments, eight commuter railroads and Amtrak. The 16 miles of upgraded track represents half of the planned 38 miles of high-speed track the CONNECT NEC 2035 plan calls for this segment of the NEC to have by 2035.

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