Avelia Liberty

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

Avelia Liberty
Avelia Liberty Slocum RI.png
Avelia Liberty trainset during testing in April 2021
Family nameAvelia
ReplacedAcela Express (trainset)
Entered service2023 (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 length698.5 ft (212.9 m)
Maximum speed160 mph (260 km/h) (service)
186 mph (300 km/h) (max. w/ tilting)
220 mph (350 km/h) (max. w/o tilting)
Axle load17 tons
Traction systemIGBTVVVF inverter control
Traction motors3-phase AC induction motors
Power output7,000 kW (9,400 hp) (total)
Electric system(s)Overhead line;
Current collector(s)Pantograph, 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

It is part of the Avelia family of high-speed trains 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 February 2023, the trains are undergoing testing, and are expected to enter passenger service in late 2023.


In August 2016, Amtrak announced a $2.4 billion loan from the United States Department of Transportation for the purchase of new high-speed train sets for the Acela service from Alstom. Alstom will also provide long-term technical support and supply spare components and parts.[2] These next generation train sets would replace the 20 existing Bombardier-Alstom train sets that were nearing the end of their useful service life.[3][4][5] The 28 train sets ordered would allow for more frequent service on the Northeast Corridor, including half-hourly peak service between New York City and Washington, D.C.[6]

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

U.S. assembly of the train sets 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 train sets 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]

By 2020, the first train set was expected to enter revenue service in early 2022, with all train sets in service by late 2022, at which point Amtrak would retire the previous Acela fleet.[13][14][15] However, as of February 2022, full high-speed testing is not expected to begin until late 2022.[16] In May 2022, 15 of the 28 trainsets were in "some phase of production".[17]

Tetsing at up to 165 miles per hour (266 km/h) took place in 2022. As of February 2023, the first trainsets are expected to enter revenue service in late 2023.[18]

Features and productionEdit

Although Amtrak initially favored a New Pendolino derivative, the train set trailers are based on the AGV and power car design is based on Avelia Horizon, designed for the French high-speed rail network (TGV),[19] but adapted to conform with North American railroad standards, including U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)'s crashworthiness standards.

Besides being more numerous compared to the prior generation, the new train sets will each have 378 seats and 8 wheelchair locations for a total capacity of 386 passengers (25 percent more than the current train sets), allowing for greater passenger capacity.[4][7] The train sets will be equipped with an active tilt system, dubbed Tiltronix by Alstom and based on Pendolinos, that will allow higher speeds on curved portions of the corridor track at a maximum tilt angle of 6.3°.[7][20]

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 the FRA's Tier-III standards while allowing a 30 percent reduction in train weight.[21][22] These trains will also have USB ports, power sockets, Wi-Fi, accessibility features, touchless bathroom facilities, trip information displays, a cafe car, improved HVAC, and other conveniences.[23][24]

The new train sets, 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.[25] Many infrastructure upgrades are currently underway or completed, allowing for more frequent service and faster speeds.[4][26][27][28]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Avelia Liberty press kit". Alstom Transport. July 26, 2016. Archived from the original on July 26, 2020. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
  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. Archived from the original on March 10, 2021. 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 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2021. Retrieved March 15, 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. ^ Ruppert, Daniel P. (February 25, 2022). "Update on Acquisitions And Capital Programs". PRIIA Section 305 Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee (NGEC). p. 6. Archived from the original on March 2, 2022.
  17. ^ Cupper, Dan (May 24, 2022). "Amtrak invites press to inspect new-generation Acela". Trains. Retrieved February 5, 2023. Fifteen of the 28 sets are in "some phase of production," he said.
  18. ^ Ruppert, Daniel P. (February 3, 2023). "Update on Acquisitions And Capital Programs" (PDF). PRIIA Section 305 Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee (NGEC) 13th Annual Meeting. Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee.
  19. ^ "Production of next-generation Acela Express fleet underway". Railway Gazette International. October 11, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  20. ^ https://www.unlv.edu/sites/default/files/page_files/27/More-Than-Providing-Trains-Providing-Transportations-Solutions.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  21. ^ "Amtrak awards Northeast Corridor high speed train contract". Railway Gazette International. DVV Media UK Ltd. August 26, 2016. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  22. ^ Luczak, Marybeth (April 1, 2022). "Acela Trainsets: Amtrak Reveals Interiors, New Revenue Service Date (UPDATED)". Railway Age.
  23. ^ Barrow, Keith (August 8, 2018). "A look inside Alstom's Avelia Liberty". Railway Age. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  24. ^ Lazo, Luz (April 13, 2022). "Amtrak's faster, higher-tech Acela trains are delayed again". Transportation. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on April 13, 2022. Retrieved January 26, 2023.
  25. ^ Alstom (2016). "Case Study: Amtrak Avelia Liberty" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 11, 2016.
  26. ^ "New Jersey High-Speed Rail Improvement Program". Amtrak. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  27. ^ Jacobs, Jennifer; Sink, Justin (January 30, 2023). "Amtrak Bottleneck Turns Biden's Focus to His Favorite Rail Route". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on January 31, 2023. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  28. ^ Kanno-Youngs, Zolan; McGeehan, Patrick (January 31, 2023). "Biden Offers Millions for New York Rail Tunnel, Courtesy of His Infrastructure Bill". New York Times. Archived from the original on January 31, 2023. Retrieved February 4, 2023.

External linksEdit

External media
  'Avelia Liberty' on alstom.com
3D Models
  Avelia Liberty 3D model on alstom.com

  Media related to Avelia Liberty at Wikimedia Commons