Amtrak recently unveiled their latest plans for a new high-speed rail corridor in the Northeast US that will connect Boston, New York, Philadelphia and DC. High-speed trains will travel up to 220 mph and make the 426 mile trip in less than 3 1/2 hours, compared to the current run time of 8 hours on the regional and 6.5 on Acela trains. Amtrak’s plan is expected to cost over $117 billion, and it won’t be realized until 2040 – over 30 years away! It’s clear that we need this high-speed rail corridor, but is there any way they could speed things up?!
The new rail corridor will require its own set of dedicated tracks in order to keep service consistent throughout the day. Average speeds for the trains would be around 140 mph, cutting the trip down to half of what it is now. The expanded train service would mean more departures per day and the ability to accommodate even more passengers. Hub stations would be located in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. with regular stops in other important locations.
The build-out for expanded service would take place over 25 years and it would provide over 40,000 full-time jobs annually with an annual investment of $4.7 billion. Funding along with political will are obviously the biggest hold-ups to achieving a functioning high-speed rail system in the US. Amtrak’s plans for a critical update to this important transportation corridor are certainly good news, but 2040 seems like an awfully long time away.
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