Amtrak Suspends High Speed Train Service Again

Service on all 18 Acela Express trains was cancelled after an “enhanced inspection protocol” revealed cracks in brackets that attach shock absorbing yaw damper assemblies on a train that had been cleared for service Thursday morning.

Acela Express service was also cancelled on Tuesday after inspectors found similar cracks or breaks in shock absorbing mechanisms. The popular high-speed train service is one of Amtrak’s most important moneymakers.

Two Acela trains resumed service on Wednesday and three more had been cleared for service on Thursday before inspectors discovered new problems with the yaw damper brackets, which prevent swaying and reduce wear and tear to rails and train wheels.

The train’s manufacturer, Bombardier-Alstrom, had sent Amtrak 40 replacement brackets that, according to a Bombardier spokeswoman, are “sturdier and thicker” than the ones originally installed. Use of the replacement brackets would have to be approved by railroad and federal safety officials.

In a note sent Wednesday to Amtrak workers, company president David Gunn said he hoped the trains could return to service within a few days if the temporary fix is approved by safety officials, but warned that “the problem is serious and will require a permanent solution.”

Five Acela Express trains were scheduled to make a total of 10 departures on Thursday. Amtrak officials planned to use conventional trains to try and fill the gap, assuring customers that there will still be a full schedule of more than 100 departures in the Northeast corridor.

“Amtrak will continue to accommodate passengers with at-least hourly train departures today during peak periods of the morning and afternoon at most major stations in the Northeast,” the company said in statement.

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