Wall Street Journal: It Has Cost Amtrak $140M to Keep It’s Railroad Running While Continuing to Wait for Upgrades

Train Yard at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia
Image via The Wall Street Journal.
The new Amtrak Acela fleet at 30th Street Station. Amtrak has been working with Alstom for years to install new fleets; however, a number of challenges have caused delays and revenue losses.

It has been three years since Amtrak began its wait for the new Acela train fleet and it has cost the railroad $140 million-plus as a result, writes Ted Mann for The Wall Street Journal

Amtrak had anticipated installing new, larger trains that were supposed to enter into service in 2021.

However, challenges have persisted along the way. 

France-based train maker Alstom has struggled with testing requirements and production defects on the $2.3 billion program to replace its Acela trains.

As a result, Amtrak has had to spend millions of dollars in maintenance costs to keep its older, existing fleet in operation while losing anticipated revenue. 

The company reportedly has its sights on launching the new Acela fleet in October 2024. 

However, the inspector general’s report states that it’s “an optimistic time frame, and additional delays are possible.”

As things work to get sorted out, six of the new Acela train sets are parked in an Amtrak rail yard in Philadelphia

“We want our customers to experience these new trains as soon as possible, but … Amtrak cannot operate them for passenger service until Alstom has completed testing and meets all safety requirements,” said Laura Mason, Amtrak’s executive vice president for capital delivery. 

Learn more about Amtrak’s challenges and opportunities at The Wall Street Journal.


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