High-Speed Train in Northeast Corridor Gaining Steam

Often plagued with bumper-to-bumper traffic, expensive flights or an outdated, slow Amtrak system, those who frequent the Northeast Corridor route are eager to hear more about a high-speed train that could take them from D.C. to New York in less than an hour.

The train isn’t coming to the area any time soon, but engineers behind D.C.-based Northeast Maglev (TNEM) say their high-speed rail could take riders from BWI to Union Station in less than 10 minutes.

The magnetic levitation system comes with a price tag in the billions – an estimated $10 billion just to establish the underground line between BWI and D.C.

“It’s high time we get on board with such a train,” Sam Aba, who often drives between D.C. and New York, says she’d rather just stay off the roads. “I would take it instead of driving or taking the plane.”

Amtrak does provide a cheaper alternative to flying, but the trains are slow-moving. A trip from Union Station to New York, priced anywhere between $49 and $150, takes approximately 3.5 hours. The faster-moving, and pricier Acela (a one way ticket sets riders back around $200) takes a little less than 3 hours.

“Japan has a high-speed rail, France has better high-speed rail,” Amtrak rider Jim Canfield said.“Amtrak is good, but it’s not as fast as the rest of the world.”

A couple of tourists from Scotland took the Amtrak to D.C. Friday and were not impressed with what they saw.

“I think it’s time for you to get faster and a bit slicker,” one woman said. “We were not impressed with the train, I have to say.”

Foreign investors and a mix of bi-partisan support are helping advance the Maglev, but the sheer amount of funds and construction needed to develop the line could take several decades. According to a report by Washington Post, TNEM has raised $50 million in private funding.

In the meantime, Amtrak is in the process of bringing a high-speed rail system to the corridor, scheduled to debut in 2040. A trip from D.C. to New York on that train is estimated to take 94 minutes.

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