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Amtrak's high-speed Acela train sidelined

Amtrak's high-speed Acela train sidelined

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Amtrak temporarily canceled most high-speed service in the Northeast corridor Tuesday after cracks were found in a mechanical assembly on its premier Acela train.

A periodic inspection Monday turned up cracks in a mounting point for shock absorbers that cushion and control the side-to-side motion of the train, Amtrak said in a written statement.

Crews immediately removed from service all Acela Express trains, the statement said.

Trains that are inspected and cleared of any problems will return to a reduced Acela Express schedule, Amtrak said.

The Acela train has had trouble maintaining an on-time schedule because of mechanical problems. Introduced in 2000, the train can shave 15 minutes from the Washington-New York run and about 45 minutes from the New York-Boston, Massachusetts, run.

The bullet train's cars are considered more upscale than those on the slower and older Metroliner, which has been pressed to cover some of the breakdown-related holes in the Acela schedule.

Amtrak officials have called for improvements to the tracks along the corridor, saying the condition of the railway, which is shared with freight lines, often restricts speed and can aggravate mechanical problems.

The Acela trains are breaking down so frequently that Amtrak reduced the use of them this month until the manufacturer can make modifications, Amtrak spokeswoman Karen Dunn told CNN Financial News.

Before the latest interruption, the original schedule of 18 Acela runs per day between Washington and Boston was reduced to 15, with three units kept in reserve to cover breakdowns.


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