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High-speed trains in the US

Check out the current and future high-speed trains in the US.

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Geoffrey Morrison
Geoffrey Morrison is a writer/photographer about tech and travel for CNET, The New York Times, and other web and print publications. He's also the Editor-at-Large for The Wirecutter. He has written for Sound&Vision magazine, Home Theater magazine, and was the Editor-in-Chief of Home Entertainment magazine. He is NIST and ISF trained, and has a degree in Television/Radio from Ithaca College. His bestselling novel, Undersea, and its sequel, Undersea Atrophia, are available in paperback and digitally on Amazon. He spends most of the year as a digital nomad, living and working while traveling around the world. You can follow his travels at BaldNomad.com and on his YouTube channel.
Geoffrey Morrison
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1 of 14 Bombardier

Acela Express

The current Acela Express locomotives, built by a joint venture between Bombardier and Alstom.

For more about high-speed rail in the US, check out our explainer about if high-speed rail is ever going to happen in the US.  

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2 of 14 Alstom

Avelia Liberty

A rendering of the upcoming Avelia Liberty, due to replace the first generation Acela Express trains. These will be built by Alstom.

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3 of 14 Alstom

Higher speed

Thanks to lighter cars and more advanced tilting tech, the new trains will have a higher top and average speed than the original Acela. They're due to enter service in 2021.

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4 of 14 Alstom

First class

A rendering of one of the first class coaches on the Avelia Liberty.

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5 of 14 California High-Speed Rail Authority

California High-Speed Rail

A rendering of what the new high-speed trains could look like in California. Since no decision has been made for specific rolling stock, this is just an illustration.

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6 of 14 California High-Speed Rail Authority

Requirements

A few things about the future trains are known, since they're part of the overall requirements for the project. Controversially, the trains must be capable of speeds of 220 mph (354 mk/h).

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7 of 14 California High-Speed Rail Authority

More power

220 mph (354 km/h) isn't impossible, multiple trains currently on the market can do that and more, but few are run higher than 200 mph in normal service as it's more economical. 

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8 of 14 California High-Speed Rail Authority

Starting small

The long-term goal is to connect all of California's major cities.

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9 of 14 California High-Speed Rail Authority

Over budget

Though far over budget and behind schedule, there is still support for the megaproject, though it's waning

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10 of 14 Brightline

Brightline Charger

A Siemens Charger. Note Brightline's unique aerodynamic nose.

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11 of 14 Texas Central

N700

An N700 Series shinkansen, used throughout Japan. A modified version is planned for the Texas Central Railway.

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12 of 14 Texas Central

Speeding through the heart of Texas

Texas Central is looking at the N700-I version specifically, which has a top speed of 205 mph (330 km/h).

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13 of 14 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Surfliner Charger

Though Brightline/Virgin Trains USA haven't announced what rolling stock will be on their proposed Victorville-Las Vegas route, Siemens Chargers are a likely candidate. Brightline already uses them on their Florida service, and they're built in California.

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14 of 14 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Charger speed

They have a top speed of 125 mph (200 km/h), just barely qualifying as high-speed for our purposes. We explored this train extensively during its Pacific Surfliner unveiling.

For more about high-speed rail in the US, check out our explainer on if high-speed rail in the US will ever happen.

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