Acela’s current top speed is 150mph over a short portion of the Northeast Corridor (through parts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts). Amtrak’s goal is to raise the top speed in the corridor to 220mph.
Amtrak’s renewed dedication to high speed rail coincides with interest by foreign rail companies to run new lines in the U.S.
This new effort represents a serious upgrade in Amtrak’s thinking about the potential for the 457-mile Northeast Corridor. As recently as October 2009, the company laid out a $10 billion plan that would do little more than decrease travel times between Washington and Boston to 5h30, down from about 6h30 today. Chinese trains travel the 601 miles between Wuhan and Guangzhou in just three hours.