Acela just one step in Amtrak's fast-track vision

Amtrak launched the nation's most advanced high-speed rail service a decade ago Saturday, and after a herky-jerky start Acela has come of age as a popular alternative to flights or road trips for business people and other travelers along the busy Boston, New York, Washington corridor. Eager to expand on the success, Amtrak recently unveiled a long-range vision for a vastly more ambitious bullet train that would shoot up the coast at speeds of up to 220 miles per hour and slash in half current travel times along the Northeast line -- cutting the trip from Washington to Boston to just 3 hrs 20 minutes. Indeed, the United States with its car-centric culture and extensive highway system has long lagged behind Japan, China, and Europe in high-speed rail.



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A computer-generated view from 2000 of the Acela high-speed train.

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