Watercolor… the 6,169 horsepower Bombardier GEC Alstom Acela Express… electric powered locomotive, is a derivative of the consortium’s HHP-8 locomotive. The Acela Express, a 6 coach, push-pull trainset, entered revenue service with AMTRAK (AMTK) on the Northeast Corridor in December of 2000, with coaches designed to tilt 4 degrees toward the inside of curves, improving stability and allowing higher cornering speeds. Additionally, the coaches do not have steps and require a floor level platform for boarding and exiting the train. Although designed for speeds in excess of 150 mph, they rarely achive these velocities due to localized track restrictions. The 15 original Acela Express trainsets purchased, are being phased out. As of May 2016, Alstom (without Bombardier) received an order for 28, of the next generation, Acela trainsets to be built at their US plant in Hornell, New York. The new units, initially named the “Avelia Liberty”, will retain the Acela branding… and with coaches now tilting 7 degree into curves, will be capable of speeds in access of 180 mph…. although AMTRAK’s current (2016) infrastructure still can not support these speeds.
The Northeast Rail Corridor is the federal, east coast consolidation route created in 1971, by connecting roadbed between Boston and Washington, DC… from several financially distressed or bankrupt, former passenger carrying railroads… the New Haven (NH), the Providence and Worcester (PWRR), the New York Central (NYC), the Pennsylvania (PRR) and several more. Although the PRR, NYC & NH railroads began erecting catenary in the early 1900’s… full electrification of the 457 mile corridor was not complete until 2000, with the final extension of overhead infrastructure between New Haven and Boston. Illustrated… AMTK #2018 has departed historic 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, gliding south along the west bank of the Schuylkill River, past Cira Center South and the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Park… Penn athletic fields created in 2011 on reclaimed former Pennsylvania Railroad rail access industrial land and yard. I worked at Penn from 1976 into 2015. I’d start before dawn to watch the sunrise and action on the adjacent, ex-Pennsy, highline… just visible in this view, between the 2018 and the Penn athletic field’s seasonal bubble.