Avelia Liberty
Avelia Liberty trainset during testing in June 2020
Family nameAvelia
ReplacedAcela Express (trainset)
Entered service2022 (expected)
Number under construction28 trainsets
Formation11 cars (2 power cars, 9 passenger cars)
Fleet numbers2100–2155 (power cars)
Depot(s)Ivy City, Washington, D.C.
Sunnyside Yard, New York City
Southampton Street Yard, Boston
Line(s) servedNortheast Corridor
Train length698 feet 5.64 inches (212.89 m)
Maximum speed160 mph (260 km/h) (service)
186 mph (299 km/h) (max. w/ tilting)
220 mph (350 km/h) (max. w/o tilting)
Traction systemAlstom IGBT-VVVF inverter control
Traction motorsAlstom 3-phase AC asynchronous motors
Power output7,000 kW (9,400 hp) (total)
Electric system(s)Single-phase AC from overhead catenary: 25 kV at 60 Hz, 12.5 kV at 60 Hz, 12 kV at 25 Hz
Current collection methodPantograph, 1 per power car
Braking system(s)Dynamic and regenerative (power cars)
Electro-pneumatic disk and tread (trainset)
Safety system(s)Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

Avelia Liberty, also known as the Acela II, is a high-speed passenger train built for the North American market by French manufacturer Alstom and assembled in the United States. Amtrak has ordered 28 trainsets for use on its flagship Acela service along the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C., via New York City and Philadelphia.

It is part of the Avelia family of high-speed trains, which also includes the Avelia Horizon designed for the TGV, but adapted to conform with North American railroad standards, including U.S. Federal Railroad Administration crashworthiness standards. Amtrak says that compared to the prior generation, these trainsets would allow for improved frequency and greater capacity on the Acela service.

As of June 2020, two prototype trainsets were undergoing testing and construction of the other trainsets was ongoing. The first trainset is expected to enter revenue service in early 2022, with all trainsets in service by late 2022, resulting in Amtrak retiring its current Acela trains by the end of the same year.


In August 2016, Amtrak announced a $2.4 billion loan from the United States Department of Transportation for the purchase of new high-speed trainsets for the Acela service from Alstom. Alstom will also provide long-term technical support and supply spare components and parts.[2] These next generation trainsets would replace the 20 existing Bombardier-Alstom trainsets that were nearing the end of their useful service life.[3][4][5]

Trainset #2 on the Sawtooth Bridges in Kearny, New Jersey during testing in 2020
Trainset #2 on the Sawtooth Bridges in Kearny, New Jersey during testing in 2020

Amtrak said that the Avelia Liberty trainsets would allow for improved frequency and greater capacity on the Acela service. The 28 trainsets ordered (compared to the 20 older trainsets) would allow for more frequent service on the route, including half-hourly peak service between New York City and Washington, D.C.[6] Each of the new trainsets will also have 378 seats and 8 wheelchair locations for a total capacity of 386 passengers (25% more than the current trainsets), allowing for greater passenger capacity.[4][7]

U.S. assembly of the trainsets is taking place at Alstom's plants in Hornell and Rochester, New York.[7] Initial construction of car bodies and major components began at Hornell in October 2017.[8] The first prototype set was sent to the Transportation Technology Center (TTC) in Pueblo, Colorado in February 2020 for testing on the high-speed test track.[9] During the nine months of expected trials, the trainsets were tested at speeds up to 165 mph (266 km/h).[10] A second prototype was delivered in March 2020 to Amtrak for testing along the service tracks in the Northeast which began in May 2020.[11] The first test run up to Boston South Station occurred on September 28.[12]

The first trainset is expected to enter revenue service in early 2022, with all trainsets in service by late 2022, at which point Amtrak will retire the previous Acela fleet.[13][14][7][15]

Features and production

Each Avelia Liberty trainset has power cars at each end of the train, and (initially) nine articulated passenger cars. An additional three passenger cars can be added if demand grows. The power cars include a Crash Energy Management system to help meet Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) standards while allowing a 30% reduction in train weight.[16] These trains will also have USB ports, power sockets, Wi-Fi, accessibility features, and other conveniences.[17]

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 at a maximum tilt angle of 6.3°.[7][18]

The new trainsets, along with track and signaling improvements, will allow for an initial improvement in maximum regular service speed to 160 mph (260 km/h) on some portions of the route.[19] Many investments into track and signaling upgrades are currently underway or completed.[4][20]

See also


  1. ^ "Avelia Liberty press kit". Alstom Transport. July 26, 2016.
  2. ^ Vantuono, William C. (August 27, 2016). "Alstom lands Amtrak next-gen NEC trainset contract". Railway Age. Simmons-Boardman Publishing Inc. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  3. ^ Chase, Randall. "Biden announces new funding for Amtrak Northeast Corridor". Business Insider. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "Amtrak Invests $2.4 Billion for Next-Gen High-Speed Trainsets and Infrastructure Upgrades" (Press release). Amtrak. August 26, 2016. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  5. ^ "Alstom to provide Amtrak with its new generation of high-speed trains" (Press release). Alstom. August 26, 2016.
  6. ^ "Next-Generation High Speed Trains". Amtrak. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d Sneider, Julie (December 2016). "Amtrak's 'Liberty' will be the latest of Alstom's high-speed Avelia trains". Progressive Railroading. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  8. ^ "Production of next-generation Acela Express fleet underway". Railway Gazette International. October 11, 2017. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  9. ^ Briginshaw, David (February 18, 2020). "Next-Gen Acela Enroute to TTCI". Railway Age. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  10. ^ Corselli, Andrew (May 22, 2020). "Amtrak Continues Testing on New Acela Fleet". Railway Age. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  11. ^ "Amtrak Procurement and Program Updates" (PDF). Next Generation Equipment Committee – 2019 Annual Meeting. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. February 22, 2019.
  12. ^ Gaffin, Adam (September 28, 2020). "Acela replacement makes first trip to Boston". Universal Hub. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  13. ^ "First Amtrak Avelia emerges". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  14. ^ "New Acela Fleet fact sheet" (PDF) (Press release). Amtrak. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  15. ^ Jagodzinski, Chris (March 18, 2021). An Inside Look at the Next Generation Acela (Speech). Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts Third Thursday.
  16. ^ "Amtrak awards Northeast Corridor high speed train contract". Railway Gazette International. DVV Media UK Ltd. August 26, 2016. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  17. ^ Barrow, Keith (August 8, 2018). "A look inside Alstom's Avelia Liberty". Railway Age. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  18. ^ https://www.unlv.edu/sites/default/files/page_files/27/More-Than-Providing-Trains-Providing-Transportations-Solutions.pdf
  19. ^ Alstom (2016). "Case Study: Amtrak Avelia Liberty" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 11, 2016.
  20. ^ "New Jersey High-Speed Rail Improvement Program". Amtrak. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
External media
video icon 'Avelia Liberty' on alstom.com
3D Models
3D model icon Avelia Liberty 3D model on alstom.com

Media related to Avelia Liberty at Wikimedia Commons