Amtrak Acela Train Separated in Maryland This Morning

Amtrak’s train 2150 from Washington Union Station to New York Penn Station broke apart between the first (first class) and second (quiet) cars this morning and “sparks and smoke went everywhere.”

The train lost power.

Passengers were evacuated towards the rear of the train but later allowed to return to retrieve their belongings.

Passengers were transferred to a train headed for Wilmington, Delaware. (It was train 180, not 183, contra Amtrak’s twitter feed.)

It’s only Tuesday and this is the second Amtrak incident of the week after 2 Amtrak employees died when a train from New York to Miami proceeded on the wrong track and hit a freight train.
Former Delta CEO Richard Anderson who now runs Amtrak blamed the freight company in that incident.

There have been four fatal Amtrak incident since December. Fortunately no one was walking between cars when this incident occurred today or we’d be looking at a fifth.

I used to laugh about Amtrak taking 7 months to respond to a customer trapped in an elevator. But it really does begin to seem emblematic.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Gary Acela ends at South Station in BOS, not NYP.

    You might as well say the train was headed to another intermediate stop like Philadelphia 30th Street, Stamford, or heck Route 128 (Westwood MA) or any other intermediate stop.

    When did Amtrak start express service to Penn station bypassing other stops?

  2. FYI-During peak weekday rush hour periods, several “Acelas” operate almost non-stop between NYC-WAS & WAS-NYC.

    Despite acknowledging the market for faster, non-stop business-oriented schedules, Amtrak Marketing is content not to offer more higher cost first class space than in the one car. Although airlines forever have been able to re-size cabins to meet market demand, apparently that is not on Amtrak’s “to do” list.

    Frankly, when it comes to the oxymoron, “Amtrak Safety Culture,” which has overtaken the prior oxymoron, “Amtrak Service,” this is a direct result-and indictment- of the lack of acceptable stewardship by Amtrak’s Board of Directors.

    As well, part and parcel of this failed Board has been its inappropriate appointment of back-to-back CEOs with zero railroad operating experience since 2005.

    Even when their was just now an opportunity to appoint people with relevant railroad operating experience to Amtrak’s Board, it was dismissed in favor of adding an ex-congressman from Georgia who voted twice against funding Amtrak; the #2 in running the 2016 Trump presidential campaign in Florida.

    Delta’s Ex-CEO Anderson, who is now CEO at Amtrak, has a very small window to imbue an airline-style safety culture, hampered by an unsupportive, unknowing Board conflicted by its pre-occupancy with real estate deals for the Northeast Corridor, which as their home base has their complete interest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *