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Amtrak to cut Acela schedule

Amtrak is cutting service of the Acela trains because of frequent breakdowns.
Amtrak is cutting service of the Acela trains because of frequent breakdowns.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Amtrak officials Tuesday confirmed plans to reduce runs of its high-speed "Acela" train because of reliability problems.

Amtrak spokesperson Karen Dunn told CNN Financial News that the Acela trains are breaking down so frequently that Amtrak is cutting back use of these trains until the manufacturer can make modifications.

The original schedule of 18 Acela runs per day between Washington and Boston has been reduced to 15 Acela trains per day, with three of the trains kept in reserve to cover any breakdowns.

The Acela will not return to a full schedule until the manufacturer fortifies the systems that are prone to fail. The train is built by a consortium led by the Canadian firm Bombardier.

During times of high passenger demand, Amtrak plans to add the slower, older Metroliner trains to the schedule to handle the load. Both trains use the same tracks.

When service on the Acela line was implemented in late 2000, Amtrak acknowledged that the high-speed train would have to reduce its speed because of track conditions along certain segments of the line it calls the "Northeast Corridor."

Amtrak said the Acela service could not reach its full potential until track improvements were made.

According to Amtrak materials handed out at the train's unveiling in Washington, the Acela between Washington and New York City takes two hours, 45 minutes, compared to three hours on the traditional Metroliner. Between New York and Boston, the Acela takes three hours, 23 minutes, compared to the more than four hours on the older train.




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