Amtrak Acela Express

New Features Added to Amtrak Acela Trains in the Northeast

When it comes to moving passengers throughout the northeastern parts of the United States, between Boston, New York City and Washington, DC, Amtrak holds their own with the convenient Northeast Regional and premium Acela Express services.

When included among U.S. airlines, Amtrak ranks No. 5 in domestic passengers carried (based on FY2016 data). In the Northeast Corridor (NEC), Amtrak has a very strong position in many markets that were previously dominated by air carriers.

  • Amtrak carried more than three times as many riders between Washington, D.C., and New York City as all of the airlines combined.
  • Amtrak carried more riders between New York City and Boston than all of the airlines combined.


On selected Acela Express departures, Amtrak has introduced assigned seating for passengers traveling in First Class. Assigned seating will allow customers to select their preferred seat ahead of time: choosing between a single or double seat, a window or an aisle, or a two- or four-person conference table. After evaluating this launch, Amtrak will introduce seat assignments on more departures throughout 2018.

“By reducing the anxiety and stress of boarding, we’re making the onboarding process easier, while continuing to ensure the safety of our customers,” said Amtrak Chief Marketing Officer Tim Griffin. “Customers have long requested assigned seats on trains, allowing families, friends, and colleagues to sit together.”

Seats are automatically assigned upon reservation. To select a preferred seat, customers can simply modify their assigned seat at any time prior to boarding at, through Amtrak’s mobile app or with a ticket agent. There are no fees to choose or modify a seat assignment.


Following the refreshing of the interiors of Northeast Regional trains, Amtrak is investing in an extensive refresh of its train interiors on the entire Acela Express fleet. The refresh is aimed at introducing a more modern and comfortable customer experience.

“Customers expect a premium experience when they board an Acela Express train, and these updated interior features will provide a more comfortable, refreshed look and feel – whether you want to relax, move about freely, work or play,” said Amtrak CEO and President Richard Anderson.

The Acela Express refresh is a 14-month program for all of its 20 trainsets, which includes 100 Amtrak cars and 6,080 total seats.  Each trainset will be refreshed individually with new cushions and covers for all Business Class and First Class seats, new carpet for the aisle runner and a deep clean. The total investment is valued at more than $4 million.

The refresh will take just over a year to complete and customers can expect a progression of upgrades during that time. The first two refreshed trainsets returned to revenue service in May and earlier this month. The remaining 18 sets will be refreshed approximately every three weeks through July 2019.

Amtrak schedules will not change due to the refresh. The refresh will occur in advance of the debut of the next-generation Acela trainsets Amtrak announced in August 2016, which will provide 40 percent more trains, one-third more passenger seats with the same personal space and high-end comfort, more service, better amenities, and a smoother ride. The first trainset prototype will be ready for testing in 2019 and will enter revenue service in early 2021. All trainsets in the current fleet will be retired in early 2022.

Check out the details of the new Acela trains starting to arrive next year.

Materials from the existing Acela cushions and covers will be reused, recycled and turned into carpet padding, while the leather will be upcycled and converted into handbags, wallets and other consumer goods.

For complete details on Amtrak services throughout the Northeast, visit

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