WASHINGTON – Amtrak is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the launch of America’s first high-speed train, the Acela Express, and the vision, teamwork, and national commitment that made the 150 mph passenger rail service a reality.
In a guest commentary published in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, Amtrak vice president of high-speed rail Al Engel, writes that “Acela has shown that high-speed rail does work in America, and that prudent public investments in passenger rail can pay huge dividends.” He adds that Acela also has shown “Amtrak’s ability to innovate and reinvent itself.”
Engel notes that the success of Acela can “inform the future of high-speed rail in America” and that “[a]dvance planning and sustained commitment over a number of years are required to build any major national transportation asset.”
Therefore, “policymakers in Washington and state capitals must make a firm commitment to the future of high-speed rail.”
In fiscal year 2010, Acela high-speed trains carried more than 3.2 million passengers and earned $440 million in ticket revenue. On weekdays, an average of 80 percent of the seats are sold on the busiest segments, and trains regularly sell out during peak hours. In all, more than 25 million passengers have traveled on Acela since its first day of operation