Fast track?


Amtrak's recently announced Acela brand is going to whisk passengers up and down the Northeast corridor at speeds up to 150 mph. That's what we've been told, that and pretty much nothing else. Window Seat has a couple of minor follow-up questions for Amtrak president George Warrington:

How much? Amtrak's never been a bargain. What will you be charging to whisk us, as opposed to what you currently charge to schlepp us? You've estimated a 30 percent savings over air travel. Great! But, uh, which darn fare are you basing that estimate on again? Which brings us to:

How fast? A Ferrari on LA's 405 freeway at 5 p.m. has the horses to tool along at 120 mph. It's just that there's a Geo Prism's bumper two feet in front of it. Gridlock is a fact of life, be it on the turnpike or on the tracks. Will the Acela have some Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-like capabilities that will enable it to leap over trains chugging along onthe same track? Which brings us to:

How much, how fast? So, just for argument's sake, say we pay a premium to board the sleek Acela and it runs into a traffic jam. Then, and this is pure supposition, mind you, lesser trains go flying by us on the inexplicably clear next track, their lower-fare, hoi-polloi passengers smugly waving. Do we get a rebate?

Oh. But we had the prettier train, you say. Got it.


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