If you’re like me, you’ve spent the last two years waiting for the new Acela trains to enter service. Also, if you’re like me, you’re a huge train nerd. So if you want to see some new, fancy American trains you can scratch that itch by heading to Chicago (or St. Louis) to try the new Siemens Venture-built trains that just started real service on the Lincoln Service this week.
The new train cars, which are similar to the ones that Brightline is running in Florida, offer a huge number of improvements over the outgoing cars. There are nice big windows, usable tables for work, improved WiFi, a really smart combination bike rack, and wider aisles that are better for wheelchairs (or strollers).
Admittedly, I harbor some nostalgia for the old cars. I once worked on a project for am Amtrak project for the Illinois DOT and got to take the Lincoln Service all the way up and down the line. Our small crew of two had a car to ourselves, with the occasional visit from a conductor who was on the Tonti derailment and had some pretty gnarly stories.
While American rail is sometimes looked down on, both the Midwest and Northeast Corridor offer a lot of service and the current administration has prioritized the improvement of Amtrak’s rolling stock. It’s a good time to be a train nerd. Or just someone who needs to take the train.
The line should have a real grand opening later this month. It’s expected that this is a preview of the trains that should spread to other parts of the country in the coming years.