Tag: Trains

For everything there is a first time: A ride on Acela Express

So today I get to the Central Square Red Line station and see it’s almost 10 minutes before the next train going toward South Station. What the hell! 

Needless to say the Red line gets in at 4:07:40 – leaving me 20 seconds to get up several flights of stairs and out to the MBTA commuter that leaves at 4:08PM. 

Next train isn’t until 4:35PM. So I went over to the Amtrak kiosk in South Station, plugged my credit card in and bought a $35 business class ticket on train 2173 to D.C. which stops in Providence. 

The train reminds me very much of an airliner more than a train. 




The seats are nice and wide, and they recline quite a ways. 

The Amtrak people are very nice, respectful and courteous. 

The ride itself was a lot smoother than the MBTA commuter. And the entire trip took 45 minutes, saving 25 minutes on what the commuter would take. 

I’d say it was worth the $35 bucks Boston to Providence. I may just do this every Friday, I’ll try out coach it is appointed similarly but tighter seating because that’s only $21. 

All in all I like it. Not stopping at EVERY station is nice. It goes South Station, Back Bay, Rte 128 Station and then Providence. Skips Ruggles, Hyde Park, Sharon, Mansfield, Attleboro and South Attleboro entirely. 

So if you ever get the chance to city hop on the Acela Express I highly recommend it. Very speedy and comfy way to go. 

And for those of you around the U.S. who aren’t served by Acela – all I can say is lobby, lobby, lobby your elected representatives to get electric trains everywhere in the United States. 



So the Acela CAN go faster

Last night I had a conversation with a guy who works for Amtrak. We got on the subject of the TGV and Shinkansen and ICE lines in France, Japan and Germany. They all exceed 200MPH whereas the Acela here in the U.S. is limited to 150MPH or so.

Thing is I was watching videos of the TGV and I noticed something. The tracks are identical for TGV and Acela. Plus both are manufactured by Alstom .

The only difference per se between TGV and Acela are the fact that the Acela trains can bank due to the more twisty nature of track through the northeast.

But the reason the Acela trains are limited is because during the inception of the program they went out and took a bunch of politicians and dignitaries along and they got scared when the train went over 200MPH.

So in essence we here on the east coast have a system deliberately LIMITED because some idiots got scared.

Just imagine if the trains here in the U.S. could do 200MPH or more. Providence to NYC would literally be around one hour. Sure, maybe a bit more for stops in Kingston, New Haven, etc. But not much.

So let Acela run free!