In 1950, two daily trains each way between NY and Boston traveled the distance in 4 hours. Called "The Merchants Limited", they let you leave at 7 AM, arrive in the other city at 11 AM for lunch and meetings, re-board by 5 pm, be back in your home city at 9 pm.
The 4 hour travel time included 20 minutes in New Haven to switch locomotives between diesel and electric, a delay no longer needed. So train travel time was actually 3 hours 40 minutes, with stops in Providence and New London.
Today, the high speed Acela makes it between NY and Boston in 3 hours 30 minutes, sometimes with no stop at all in New Haven. So 61 years later, today's "high speed trains" travel between Boston and New York 10 minutes faster than they did in 1950.
That's ten minutes faster in 61 years. At this rate, it will take 183 years for train travel time between Boston and New York fall to 3 hours
Using GPS, I recently clocked the Acela making 150 MPH between New London and Providence – for less than a minute. Also, for under a minute, it reached 149 MPH between Providence and Boston. If it went non-stop at 150 MPH all the way, the Acela could make the distance between NY and Boston in less than 90 minutes. It's the infrastructure, the tracks and the overhead gantry wires, that slow it down. Much of the time, you can look out the window and watch the cars on I-95 passing you by.
But as you go slowly through New London on the Acela, even when there is no stop there, you get a good look across the river at the Electric Boat Company. That's where we build nuclear submarines with money that could otherwise be spent to make our trains go fast.
Ross Perot pointed out in 1992 that our spending on "national defense" was 39 times per capita what Germany spent. Germany has plenty of real high speed trains. We have lame excuses for them like Acela. We also have 50,000 US troops stationed in Germany, sixty six years after we defeated the Germans in WWII. Much US taxpayer money is shipped across the Atlantic to support those troops, where Germany welcomes it because spending it there benefits the Germans.
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