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Do you know Acela Express? Will you ride it?

August 19, 2010

In this country, people are very used to driving cars, start, drive, and arrive the destination.

The question is do you know there is a high speed rail between Washington DC and Boston?

The name of the high speed rail is Acela Express. It takes 6 – 10 hours to travel between Washington DC and Boston via Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, with the ticket price from $228 to $154. The highest speed of Acela Express is 150 mph (240 km/h). It is also estimated that Acela Express has transported half of business travellers between DC and Boston. Acela Express is one of the few Amtrak lines being profitable. The two train lines generate more than half of Amtrak’s total revenue, source.

Beside the business travelers, is Acela Express suitable for non-business travelers? First, lets make a comparison:

By driving a car, it could take 8.5 hours, with gas cost about $40- $60. By taking the bus, firstly from DC to New York City, with the cost about $20. Then from New York City to Boston, it can take around $15. In total, the cost of taking the bus is almost equal to the cost of driving a car. The time is also almost equivalent for taking bus and driving a car, both around 8 hours.

The rest of three questions are:

(1) Is the travelling time still too long to ride the Acela Express?

(2) Is it too expensive to ride the Acela Express?

(3) Which ticket price/travel time combination is good for you? $300/4h, $200/6h, $100/8h.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. David Gunn permalink
    August 23, 2010 4:32 pm

    The 20 Acela trains generate approximately 25% of Amtrak’s annual revenues.

    The suggestion that they operate at a profit involves a tremendous amount of cost allocation among Amtrak and the various agencies that operate in the Northeast Corridor.

    While the train most likely covers its direct, operating costs, that conclusion ignores the necessity to maintain the track and infrastructure.

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