Ideo and Amtrak launch Acela

US train operator Amtrak is launching Acela, a branded train service in north-east America, created jointly by Ideo Product Development in California and the Amtrak in-house design team.

The new brand will go live later this year, after a three-year development programme. It includes a name, identity, train interiors, liveries and signage as well as new communication materials.

“Acela is a new brand representing a whole new way of doing business… [It] means high speed and high quality,” says Amtrak president George D Warrington.

Amtrak’s current four-and-a-half hour journey time between Boston and New York will be cut to three hours under Acela, as part of a strategy to develop “high-speed corridors”, says Amtrak chairman, and governor of Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson.

The emphasis on high quality customer care is reflected in the train interiors, says an Amtrak spokesman. Each train has a café and a number of work areas, while each seat has an audio visual entertainment system.

Windows will be larger than on existing services, information systems will be simpler and the bathrooms will be well stocked with toiletries, he adds.

Under the new brand architecture, Northeast Direct Service, Empire Service in New York state and Keystone Service in eastern Pennsylvania will become Acela Regional.

Meanwhile, the existing Clocker Service between Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York will be renamed Acela Commuter.

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