An American-built, French-designed train zipped between Boston and New York at speeds up to 110 miles per hour in a test of technology that could slash travel time and help relieve congested highways and airports.
The high-speed run Thursday concluded a year of testing by Amtrak and the Coalition of Northeast Governors, which have been experimenting with French, Spanish, Canadian and American trains to try to cut running time substantially without expensive track improvements, said Amtrak spokesman R. Clifford Black.Although the governors' task force will not present its findings until early next year, it said that by using new technologies, such as turbine engines, and making minor track improvements, it should be possible to reduce the travel time between Boston and New York to three hours.
Amtrak trains now take 41/2 hours to make the 208-mile trip. Commercial jetliners make the trip in 40 minutes, not counting time spent traveling to and from airports or waiting for departures. The airlines attract 90 percent of the roughly 4 million passengers who travel between the two cities by plane or train each year, according to Massachusetts transit officials.
If the train trip were cut to three hours, Amtrak has projected that ridership would triple from 400,000 to 1.2 million passengers a year.