In response to strong and continued demand for rail travel in the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak has developed a vision for Next Generation high-speed rail service on the NEC. The first of many phased improvements – the introduction of new high-speed trainsets that will supplement and ultimately replace the Acela® fleet – is expected to be introduced into revenue service in 2022. Full build out of the NextGen high-speed rail vision could be achieved in 2040. Developed in consultation with its international peers, Amtrak’s NextGen Vision proposes dramatic trip time reductions between major cities, more frequent trains, and new, dedicated infrastructure for high-speed trains, while upgrading and enhancing existing infrastructure for the 2,000 commuter trains, 140 Amtrak trains, and 60 freight trains that use the NEC each day.

Next-Generation Acela Express Exterior

Next-Generation Acela Express Exterior

A Modern, Resilient Railroad with CONNECT NEC 2035

Insufficient infrastructure investment

Amtrak is moving forward improvements to the existing corridor.

Amtrak, the state governments of the Northeast, the federal government, and eight commuter rail agencies worked together through the NEC Commission to develop CONNECT NEC 2035 (C35)—a 15-year plan representing the most ambitious reinvestment program in the NEC’s history and a new way of planning: a multi-agency, multi-year, shared action plan guided by the long-term vision. C35 is a detailed and efficient sequencing of infrastructure investments covering 150 projects and capital renewal efforts along the corridor.

The implementation of C35 will result in a modern and resilient railroad with safe, reliable, and more frequent service; connections to new markets; and reduced travel times between communities. C35 is the first phase of the long-term vision for the corridor established in the Federal Railroad Administration’s 2017 NEC FUTURE plan, making significant improvements to NEC rail service for both existing and new riders, on both commuter rail systems and Amtrak.

Next Steps

Amtrak is building the foundation for its Northeast Corridor Vision and NextGen high-speed rail with several projects, which form the core of its near term investment strategy.

new equipment order for high-speed trainsets, in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration, is intended to expand the Acela fleet in the near term and meet the long term operational needs of NextGen high-speed rail service in the future. The trainsets are planned to be introduced into revenue service in 2022.

The Gateway Program is a set of infrastructure investments including a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River that will double train capacity at the Northeast Corridor’s greatest bottleneck between Newark, NJ and New York Penn Station and is essential to upgrading the NEC to allow for NextGen high-speed rail service.

Washington Union Station’s 2nd Century Project is developing a comprehensive vision for an expanded and improved Washington Union Station to accommodate a tripling in passengers in the next twenty years and accommodate NextGen high-speed rail service levels.

Rendering of Conceptual Central Concourse as Envisioned in the 2012 Master Plan

The Washington Union Station Concourse Modernization Project will be the first project to come to life as part of the 2nd Century Plan.