If the Futurama in real life bullet train concept made you doubt that a method of public transportation can actually take you from New York to China in two hours, we don’t blame you. Perhaps Amtrak’s latest proposal will make much more realistic expectations; the national railroad corporation is introducing plans to create high speed trains that can take passengers from New York to Washington, D.C. in just 94 minutes and New York to Philadelphia in 37 minutes.
The $151 billion improvement plan will boost train speeds to up to 220 miles per hour, dramatically reducing travel time between the northeastern cities by more than half. “The NEC (Northeast Corridor) region is America’s economic powerhouse and is facing a severe crisis with an aging and congested multi-model transportation network that routinely operates at or near capacity in key segments,” Amtrak’s President Joe Boardman said in a statement.
If approved and funded, the “Next Gen” trains would replace Amtrak’s Acela line, with production beginning sometime in the 2020s and ready for service by 2040. Constructions would require Amtrak to build new underground tunnels that connect New York and New Jersey under the Hudson River. Other cities along the proposed train routes would include Newark, Baltimore, Boston, and White Plains, New York and their accompanying airports. No words on what modern amenities will be included in the trains, but at the very least we hope to get some reliable Wi-Fi during the short ride.
However, since Amtrak is a government-owned corporation, funding will also need to come from federal and state coffers. This could prove to be a difficult feat for Amtrak, especially when it is asking a rather large price tag for a project that only covers one sector of the United States. Republicans have also been reluctant to finance high-speed rail proposals in the states, according to The Chicago Tribune, but Amtrak is still hopeful for some funding allocations other states that have turned down from Congress. After all, as Treehugger puts it, the new rail system can prove to be much more convenient than just simply traveling at a quicker pace.
“Upgrading the rail will create jobs, of course, but lightening-quick rail could revitalize flagging cities across the Northeast by growing the number of convenient commuter hubs outside of major cities like [New York, D.C., or Waterbury, CT] could become an attractive living option for folks working in Manhattan, as could the much cheaper but very livable downtown Philly,” Brian Merchant writes.
At this point, we can only hope.