Choo, choo! The Northeast Corridor now has the need for more speed!
Amtrak made the announcement on Monday that on four stretches from Maryland to Massachusetts they will be testing train speeds overnight at 165 mph. Right now the top speed limit for all Amtrak trains is 150 mph.
According to Amtrak.com, the test will utilize high-speed Acela Express equipment and will measure the interaction between the train and the track, rider quality and other safety factors. The tests sites (Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts) must hit a top speed of 165 mph because in the future they may be regularly running at 160 mph.
Starting late Monday evening, according to the Associated Press, the first test ran from a stretch of 22.9 miles between Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J. where the maximum speed is currently 135 mph. The test location from Perryville, Md., to Wilmington, Del., also runs at a maximum of 135 mph. The remaining two test sites, in Rhode Island from Westerly to Cranston and in Massachusetts from South Attleboro to Readville, have 150 mph limits.
Although the test will be running into next week with train cars equipped with instruments to collect data, Amtrak spokesperson, Cliff Cole, told The Associated Press that regular commuters will not be affected. The tests are scheduled during a time of minimal rail service.
As a part of the $450 million project funded by the federal high speed rail program, the state of New Jersey is slated to receive upgrades to improve reliability and to permit regular train operations at faster speeds to its electric power, signals and other systems over the next several years.
For more information on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line connecting New York, Boston and Washington go to http://www.fra.dot.gov/rpd/passenger/643.shtml.