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The name Acela comes from a combination of the words acceleration and excellence.

The Acela Express is the fastest train in North America, with a normal speed of 150 m.p.h. on a 35-mile portion of its route between Boston and New Haven. Otherwise, its top speed is generally 135 mph between Boston and Washington D.C.

First for Us

Acela Express Boston to Philadelphia

by Michael Barralet

Great Britain

In 2006, having seen the beautiful countryside of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont on a coach for the last week, we were really looking forward to the journey on the Acela Express. This was the first time we had used Amtrak, in fact this was the first time we had been to America. It was also the first time we had been to Boston — what a city.

We were now on our way to Philadelphia for a very special reason. But before I say what the reason is, let me explain why we think Amtrak is great.

When we arrived at Boston South Station after only a few minutes we were greeted by a friendly porter who explained where we needed to go and that he would take care of the luggage (we don't get this service in the UK). He directed us to the lounge where we were offered coffee and muffins — very nice. Within 30 minutes we were guided to the train (all shiny and clean, Silver Streak I called it) then shown to our seats and with our luggage suitably stowed we were off.

Wonderful trip, loved every minute. Back again to travel east to west, Boston to San Francisco. I can't get enough.

Now when I say off, we never realized we were moving until our attendant said, "We are cruising at 220 mph at sea level." I couldn't believe it. There was hardly any movement — it was so quiet with just a distant sound of rushing air. The views from the windows offered mostly the coastal route which gave me chance to snap a few shots with my camera.

Photo: Matthew Truch

Very soon the scenes change to very built up areas and we entered into New York. Most of this was area is back streets and high rise apartments but all very new to us. Before long we are approaching Philadelphia and the very grand and magnificent 30th Street Station. Sadly our train journey ended here but a new one began, for the trip was to research an ancestor who had lived and died in the City during the time of the Declaration of Independence 1815. My research yielded interesting facts one of which, as he was an engraver, he was commissioned to design and print one of the several Independence Declarations.

Wonderful trip, loved every minute. Oh and by the way we are back again this year to travel east to west, Boston to San Francisco. I can't get enough.