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Home > Archives > "Driven by Speed" poster, 1999.

"Driven by Speed" poster, 1999.

Printer paper poster featuring an American Flyer high-speed trainset, later renamed Acela Express; poster dates to 1999.

"Driven by Speed" poster, 1999.

Before March 9, 1999, the Acela Express, the latest in high-speed passenger trains, was going to be called the American Flyer—also the name of a model train beloved of past generations.

The Acela Express was years in the making. High-speed train tests were made using the Swedish X2000 and the German ICE trains. In late 1994 Amtrak began taking bids to build the new trainsets to exacting Federal Railroad Administration specifications. A consortium of Bombardier and Alstom were eventually chosen to design and build 20 sleek, aerodynamic trainsets.

Each includes six passenger cars positioned between power cars at each end. The power cars have 6169 horsepower and are capable of reaching speeds of 150 mph over current Northeast Corridor infrastructure. The passenger cars incorporate tilt technology, in which they can handle curves at higher speeds by leaning into them. There is one First Class car with spacious 2x1 seating, four Business Class cars with 2x2 seating and a Cafe car.

Acela Express entered regular revenue service on December 11, 2000.