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Amtrak’s Northeast Regional, 1999-2003


Amtrak’s Northeast Regional, 1999-2003

Fred Klein, 2013

The Northeast Regional is a fast Amtrak train in the northeast corridor between Boston and Washington DC. There is daily all-reserved service nearly every hour, with more trains running from New York City to Washington than run north to Boston. Amtrak completed the electrification of the line north from New Haven to Boston in 2000. The Regional makes only certain stops and thus is distinct from slower local trains. The train takes about 7.5-8 hours to travel from Washington to Boston. Amtrak owns the tracks and these trains are Amtrak’s most profitable. Branches powered by diesels extend to Springfield, Massachusetts and south of Washington DC to Richmond, Newport News, Norfolk, and Lynchburg, Virginia.


The train was called the Acela Regional between 2000 and 2003. In 2003, the cars were repainted in more conventional Amtrak colors to avoid confusion with the colorful Acela Express, which is a high-speed train with special tilting cars that negotiate curves faster than other trains. In 2003, the word Acela was removed from the HHP-8 locomotive.


Trains usually have 6-10 cars with the business class car in the front and the café car in the middle. In 1999, the coaches were rebuilt Amfleet I cars (two doors per side), originally built by the Budd company in 1975. The HHP-8 electric locomotives were ordered from Bombardier in 1999. The Acela trains are relatively easy to model because both the HHP-8 locomotive and the Amfleet cars in the regional paint scheme (when available) are made factory painted by Bachmann.



An Acela Northeast Regional train at the south Boston station in 2002. An HHP-8 electric locomotive pulls Amfleet cars in the regional blue-splotch Acela paint scheme. This Acela scheme is the most modern-looking of the northeast trains. Wikipedia photo.


Northeast Regional (Acela design), the whole train


The HHP-8 locomotive model is made by Bachmann.


The Amfleet I coach models in the “blue splotch” Acela paint scheme are made by Bachmann. The café car has a green splotch in the central serving area. I added Microtrains body-mount couplers to each model. See the modeling notes on the Amtrak Lakeshore limited page for more on Bachmann amfleet cars.






Solomon, Brian, Amtrak, MBI Railroad Color History, MBI publishing, 2004.

Amtrak by the numbers, by David Warner and Elbert Simon, White River productions, 2011. An excellent guide with thorough car histories and hundreds of photographs.