Amtrak on Wednesday suspended Acela service between New Haven, Conn., and Boston, along with regular Northeast Regional service between Boston and New York due to area flooding and record-breaking rains.
Amtrak has rolled out a new ad campaign that plays up productivity and comfort for business travelers who use the Acela line to shuttle among Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., and other East Coast cities. "The new campaign reflects the enhanced amenities and services that Acela provides for its business travelers," said Matt Hardison, Amtrak’s chief marketing and sales officer.
Amtrak unveiled a $117 billion plan to upgrade its high-speed rail service on the East Coast. It's a 30-year vision to increase speeds to up to 220 mph between cities such as Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. Under the plan, Amtrak would need $4.7 billion a year for 25 years. High-speed passenger service would reduce congestion on roadways and airlines. "No one should take a plane for a trip shorter than 500 miles," said Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.
Amtrak is considering adding amenities such as wireless Internet access to 15 long-distance routes, including the Texas Eagle. It already has added wireless Internet access to Acela Express trains in the Northeast corridor. Some travelers who take the Texas Eagle say they would welcome a wireless connection and note the current lack of wireless access puts the train at a disadvantage to other forms of transportation.
The New York Times reports Amtrak will soon cut discounts for multitrip tickets, effectively raising fares for commuters in the Northeast. Amtrak declined to comment. Separately, the railroad will add a second high-speed Acela train to the Boston-New York route Saturday and next week will increase Acela service on the New York-Washington route.
Amtrak said it will stop replacing its Acela service between Boston and New York with other trains because it doesn't have enough, effectively cutting its Boston rail service almost in half. Damaged brakes discovered last week caused Amtrak to pull all of its high-speed Acela trains from service for repairs; the agency ran one Acela train yesterday but has now pulled that one as well. Airlines say bookings for shuttle service in the Boston-New York-Washington corridor are up sharply since the Acela shutdown.