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TR: New York to Boston, Amtrak Acela, First Class

TR: New York to Boston, Amtrak Acela, First Class

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Old Sep 25, 08, 1:55 pm
  #31  
 
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I just travelled in First Class from PHL to WAS this weekend on Acela, and I must say it was FANTASTIC!
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Old Sep 25, 08, 3:21 pm
  #32  
 
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Originally Posted by sculler1x View Post
In a perfect world (no delays at LGA or BOS, no traffic into the City), the plane might win, but I defy you to find a day that meets those criteria. So yes, the train is slighly slower by the schedule, but usually faster in reality.
Unless your train breaks down (as mine did travelling from Boston back to New York).
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Old Sep 26, 08, 2:46 pm
  #33  
 
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Originally Posted by caspritz78 View Post
I took the same trip last year but in "business class" which is the other class besides first on the Acela train. It was a great trip. The tracks go for a long part right at the coast. I also liked that you go from downtown to downtown. I really hope Amtrak invests some money in the Acela service to make it even faster. I would say with the right tracks it should be possible to do the trip in 2,5 to 3 hours instead of 3,5 hours.
Someone over in the Amtrak forum could provide more information on why the Acela can't do this trip in less time, but I know part of the reason is that Amtrak does not own all the track it uses between these two cities (part of the time they are on Metro North property) and must travel at slower speeds. They have increased the number of miles of track that allow them to travel at top speeds, but further investments in such infrastructure take a lot of money that just isn't available.
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Old Sep 26, 08, 4:19 pm
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by ADGrant View Post
Unless your train breaks down (as mine did travelling from Boston back to New York).
Somewhat less stressful than a plane "breaking down" while between BOS & NYC!

JAT

(Train Driver)
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Old Oct 2, 08, 5:42 pm
  #35  
 
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Originally Posted by rittenhousesq View Post
Someone over in the Amtrak forum could provide more information on why the Acela can't do this trip in less time, but I know part of the reason is that Amtrak does not own all the track it uses between these two cities (part of the time they are on Metro North property) and must travel at slower speeds. They have increased the number of miles of track that allow them to travel at top speeds, but further investments in such infrastructure take a lot of money that just isn't available.
This is why Acela from NYP to BBY has sub-optimal speed in the metro NYC area and through western CT...slightly better on the coastal route through western CT...much faster in RI and MA, where the Amtrak track improvements show most radically. At least in southeast MA Acela is able to reach its top speed of 140MPH.

I will always remember hitting 140MPH on Acela one time during a snow shower...the sensation of speed was outstanding. BTW for a + member I've found complementary UGs to First on Acela very easy to get with the coupons.
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Old Oct 9, 08, 8:03 pm
  #36  
 
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One comment - if you request a Red Cap in the Acela lounge in NY they will not only take you and your luggage down to the train, but they will do it before the track is announced in the club (let alone to the masses out in the main station). I do this even when I have no luggage - it is well worth the tip to the Red Cap to be able to get down to the platform before everyone else and pretty much get a choice of seats.

You can do almost as well if you know the station and go running down the back stairs when they announce the track in the club...
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Old Oct 10, 08, 9:16 am
  #37  
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Originally Posted by rittenhousesq View Post
Someone over in the Amtrak forum could provide more information on why the Acela can't do this trip in less time, but I know part of the reason is that Amtrak does not own all the track it uses between these two cities (part of the time they are on Metro North property) and must travel at slower speeds. They have increased the number of miles of track that allow them to travel at top speeds, but further investments in such infrastructure take a lot of money that just isn't available.
Marais pretty much answered your question. Metro North isn't terribly motivated to spend the money required to upgrade the infrastructure to Acela's full capabilities, since its trains can't really use those improvements. In fact, their current track could probably handle higher speeds than the (IIRC) 75mph (or maybe it's 90mph) they limit the trains to, but, as someone around here put it once, MN doesn't want Acelas whizzing by the comparatively slow MN commuter trains filled with rich Connecticut businessmen... (The real reason probably has more to do with fitting the faster trains into available slots without making the MN trains wait any longer than they already do--MN obviously wants their trains to have priority.)

Originally Posted by marais View Post
This is why Acela from NYP to BBY has sub-optimal speed in the metro NYC area and through western CT...slightly better on the coastal route through western CT...much faster in RI and MA, where the Amtrak track improvements show most radically. At least in southeast MA Acela is able to reach its top speed of 140MPH.

I will always remember hitting 140MPH on Acela one time during a snow shower...the sensation of speed was outstanding. BTW for a + member I've found complementary UGs to First on Acela very easy to get with the coupons.
One slight correction: Acela Express's highest speed is actually 150mph. I think, too, a fairly recent development has been the extension of the 150mph-capable track through RI and even a short bit into CT (east of MN's territory). I last rode Acela when it was just the short segment in MA and dipping into northern RI as you described, though, so I can't confirm firsthand.
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Old Oct 10, 08, 12:33 pm
  #38  
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Marais pretty much answered your question. Metro North isn't terribly motivated to spend the money required to upgrade the infrastructure to Acela's full capabilities, since its trains can't really use those improvements. In fact, their current track could probably handle higher speeds than the (IIRC) 75mph (or maybe it's 90mph) they limit the trains to, but, as someone around here put it once, MN doesn't want Acelas whizzing by the comparatively slow MN commuter trains filled with rich Connecticut businessmen... (The real reason probably has more to do with fitting the faster trains into available slots without making the MN trains wait any longer than they already do--MN obviously wants their trains to have priority.)
Partly true (although I am not totally au fait with the particular dynamics of this corriddor, I am just speaking of general principles).

Mixing slow and fast trains reduces line capacity. A fast train utilises multiple paths on a predominately slow line, likewise a slow train utilises multiple paths ona predominately fast line. The best way to maximise capacity is to have a fairly consitent speed profile.

This is one of the reasons whay you see Paris and Brussels trains follow each other through the Channel Tunnel, to reduce the effect of faster trains on an otherwise slow sector.

Dave
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Old Oct 10, 08, 2:18 pm
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by rittenhousesq View Post
Someone over in the Amtrak forum could provide more information on why the Acela can't do this trip in less time, but I know part of the reason is that Amtrak does not own all the track it uses between these two cities (part of the time they are on Metro North property) and must travel at slower speeds. They have increased the number of miles of track that allow them to travel at top speeds, but further investments in such infrastructure take a lot of money that just isn't available.
That's part of it. Part of it is also the fact that the Acela trains aren't allowed to tilt whilst on Metro North tracks, limiting their speed, the fact that there are an unusually large number of curved segments of track through Connecticut, and that there are several grade crossings as well. There were some studies conducted by the transportation center at MIT several years ago, and if I remember correctly, the principal constraint was the large number of curves - obtaining the necessary right of way for new track through Connecticut was not feasible politically.
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Old Oct 11, 08, 2:17 pm
  #40  
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Originally Posted by sculler1x View Post
That's part of it. Part of it is also the fact that the Acela trains aren't allowed to tilt whilst on Metro North tracks, limiting their speed
Actually, from what I've heard from more knowledgeable people than I in the AGR forum, the lack of tilting doesn't limit the speeds in any way--it simply reduces the comfort level of the passengers since there is more sideways force going around curves. (The trains can't tilt because the track centers are too close--a tilting Acela might not clear a passing train--not good at any speed, slow or fast!)

The second part of your post is consistent with what I've read on the subject, though.
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Old Oct 11, 08, 11:26 pm
  #41  
 
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Another reason for Acela not reaching it full potential...

...faulty rulers.


Supposedly the carriages were built 4 inches wider than originially designed and can not tilt fully without breaking safety regulations dictate train proximity.
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Old Oct 13, 08, 12:38 pm
  #42  
 
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Originally Posted by Sealink View Post
Then another ticket check, this time the conductor took my ticket and placed in a pouch on top of my seat, saying 'Your ticket is in the seat above your head, not in front of you, not across from you' which I couldn't understand or explain!
I think it's because the seats aren't assigned. So if you did want to move around (like if a better seat freed up), you would want to grab your ticket and move it to your new seat.

This is more common if you are traveling through NYC, like New Haven to Washington, DC.
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Old Oct 18, 08, 1:10 am
  #43  
 
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On Acela from NY-Penn to DC, the track mileage IRC is slightly higher and the journey time (less than 3 hours) is shorter - due to the absence of Connecticut speed limits. For this leg it is only slightly slower than the london-manchester line.
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