Observations on Risks to the Acela 21 Information Technology Program Element

April 24, 2020 |  Audit Reports

The $2.5 billion Acela 21 program is the largest single investment in Amtrak’s (the company) 49-year history. Through this program, the company will replace its existing Acela fleet with 28 new high-speed trainsets to upgrade service on its most profitable business line. In January 2020, we reported on management and structural weaknesses in the Acela 21 program.


Our report identified five key steps—commonly called “program elements”—the company must complete to launch service by the planned date in 2021. One of these is the program’s Information Technology (IT) element, which involves the IT department developing and implementing eight different systems—or workstreams—needed for critical functions like performing trainset maintenance and federally required daily safety inspections.

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