The X2000 gets you from here to N.Y. lickety-split

December 06, 1992|By New York Times News Service

Amtrak plans to begin testing a high-speed train between Boston and Washington in February and March. Metroliner passengers traveling between New York and Washington will be among those to ride the train, called the X2000, which is being leased from Swedish State Railways.

The top speed of both the X2000 and the Metroliner is 125 miles an hour, but while the Metroliner goes fast only on straightaways, the Swedish train can hold speed around curves.

The fastest trip on the Metroliner, a non-stop sprint between New York and Washington, is 2 hours 35 minutes, but more typical service that includes intermediate stops is 2 hours 55 minutes. The X2000 will reduce the New York-to-Washington ride to 2 hours 15 minutes.

Other projections for the new train include a reduction of one hour in the four-hour run (on the New England Express) between Boston and New York, and faster trips between smaller cities in the Northeast corridor, such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, Trenton, Providence and New Haven.

The X2000 will have such amenities as special menus, outgoing facsimile service, telephones and audio entertainment at each seat. It will consist of an electric locomotive, three passenger coaches, a food service car and a cab car carrying passengers and an operating cabin for the crew.

The tests will start as part of the Metroliner schedule and will be extended to New Haven. Amtrak will specify which departures are with the X2000. In the spring, Amtrak says, two turbo-liner diesel engines will pull the entire test train set between New Haven and Boston, a stretch without electric service. Amtrak plans to electrify this route by 1997.

If the testing of the X2000 goes well, Amtrak engineers will design a set of specifications for high-speed trains to be built in the United States. The first trains would begin operating in 1997. Amtrak will charge its regular Metroliner fare during the test runs. The New York-Washington one-way fare Monday to Friday is $90.

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