Where should Obama look for his high-speed rail revival? No further than the Acela rail services along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor-that is, according to Christian Wolmar of the NYTimes. Connecting Washington DC and Boston, the tracks offer the best “test case” for Obama to demonstrate high speed rail efficiency. Here are some highlights of the article:
The 450-mile trip from Boston to Washington takes almost seven hours and averages just 71 miles per hour, hardly faster than by car and uncompetitive with air.
How can Acela be improved without building an entirely new system? Money is needed to improve the overhead electric wires, straighten out curves and upgrade the track. And more trains are needed to increase trip frequency, reduce overcrowding and offer flexibility.
Basically, trains require money to run, not people and certainly not demand. Who’s money? Ours-the people not riding the train but paying for it.