Acela Expresss Poor Track Record
From VARPs On Track newsletter, fall 2003.
Amtraks Acela Express has been plagued with problems since the beginning, according to a series published in September 2003 in the Hartford Courant.
Amtraks high-speed train service is far less than what had been promised, time and again, in the face of contrary evidence, said the Courant. Court documents, government studies, audits, congressional testimony and interviews reveal that the high-speed rail project was dogged by problems, delays and bloated costs from the start. But Amtrak executives consistently exaggerated what Acela would accomplish and masked the extent of the delays and mounting costs.
To be profitable in the Northeast Corridor market, Amtrak figured that its new high-speed service would have to make the
Between New York and Boston, the trip runs about
Acela travels at
The paper also noted that in the past year, the on-time performance for Acela Express has been only 70% and that the train is not close to generating the kind of revenues Amtrak had predicted.
Work on both the train itself and the trackwork and electrification, especially in New England, to support it met with delays, cost overruns, and lawsuits. Amtrak made hundreds of modifications to the contracts, and, to meet federal collision standards, the train ended up overweight.
Mechanical problems mean that only 13 of the trains
On Oct. 6, Metro magazine, citing an Associated Press story, said that with the
The Courant concluded that the train that was supposed to rescue Amtrak has fallen far short of its promise.