Amtrak’s Acela Celebrates 10th Birthday

There’s been a lot of talk recently about China’s blisteringly fast new high-speed train and about struggles in the U.S. to get on board with high-speed rail, but Amtrak would like you to know that this country’s first such train has been around for quite a while, and is in fact celebrating its 10th anniversary this month [PDF].

The Acela Express has traveled between Washington, D.C., and Boston via Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York at 150 miles per hour since December 21st, 2000, and–according to Al Engel–Amtrak’s president of high-speed rail, proves that high-speed rail does work in America.

Amtrak Acelo Express at New Haven Union

image via Wikipedia Commons

In 2010 alone, the Acela Express carried more than 3.2 million passengers and earned $440 million in ticket revenue, running an average of 80 percent full on its busiest segments during weekdays. All told, more than 25 million passengers have traveled the railway since its first day of operation–all of which was highlighted by Engels in a recent editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer, in which he called upon policy-makers in Washington and state capitals to make “a firm commitment to the future of high-speed rail.”

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • bob

      Acela is not real high speed rail. It only hits 150 in a few short stretches. Most of the run is considerably slower. Metro-North won’t allow them to go anywhere close full speed between New Rochelle and New Haven. Just do the math: NY-Boston is 230 miles; if Acela was going anywhere near 150 it would be a 2 hour trip or less. Reality is 4 hours. The run to DC is a bit better but still nothing to be proud of.

      And if you go to China, Japan, or Europe, 150 barely qualifies as HSR these days.