Amtrak today launched its high-speed Acela Express service, running from Washington D.C. to New York to Boston.
The train was christened with champagne and fireworks before taking off at speeds up to 150 mph. The run between Washington and New York is scheduled at two hours and 28 minutes, while the run between New York and Boston is scheduled at three hours and 15 minutes. That shaves off about 30 and 45 minutes, respectively, from the two legs of the trip.
The Acela Express is powered by two locomotives and includes five passenger cars and a café car. The inaugural run took federal officials, business leaders and students on Amtrak's fastest train.
The Acela will open for revenue service on December 11, with tickets going on sale to the public on November 29. A one-way coach ticket between Washington and New York will cost $143, up from $122 on Metroliner. A ticket between New York and Boston will cost $120, compared to $57 now.
The service will initially make one roundtrip a day between Washington and Boston. More trains will be added each month, with full delivery of 20 trainsets planned for next summer. Once fully operational, the Acela will make 19 roundtrips from Washington to New York and 10 roundtrips from New York to Boston each weekday.
The train operates with a sensor-driven tilt system that allows it to run at high speeds through curves. Problems with the technology, along with premature wheel wear, caused a delay in opening the service in October 1999.
Early next year, Amtrak will add Acela Super Express that will run non-stop between New York and Washington in under two and a half hours each way.
The trains are supplied by Bombardier and ALSTOM.