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Published Monthly by the CONNECTICUT EASTERN CHAPTER of the N.R.H.S., Inc.
Jeffrey Ricard, Editor  Volume 7, Number 3, March 1999 

On the Editors Desk ........

As is usually the case around this time of year, our members get involved in our annual train show.  This year being the seventh consecutive show seemed to go off without a hitch.  (That is once we had a firm date and location)  This is certainly due to the planning and perseverance of the show committee and its chairman Bill Robinson.  Bill has been doing an excellent job planning this show for the last several years and I would like to thank him for his tireless work.  I would also like to extend my thanks to all those members that helped setup and take down tables, volunteered to assist vendors load and unload, delivered lunches, put up and took down signs and those that were just there to do whatever needed to be done.  And thanks to Jeff, Joe, and Art for all your assistance before and after the show.

I have published an income and expense chart detailing the last few years of the show to give you an idea of how we did this year as compared to the last few years, and a chart showing this year's attendance.

Please welcome aboard the following seven new members to the chapter.  James Kidd of Manchester, Jack and Lorraine Kreeger of Hebron, Robert Yungk and Barbara Petroske of East Hampton, Mitch and Lorraine Rochefort of Plainville.  These members were voted in at the February 21st meeting.  Thanks for your support!

The next Scheduled meeting of the Connecticut Eastern Chapter,  National Railway Historical Society will be at the Willimantic Fire/Police complex on Sunday March 21st at 7:00 pm.

Please note: The monthly business meeting will be held at the same location on the first Sunday of the month. All members are welcome to attend.

Entertainment for March

As the newsletter was going to press, the entertainment was still under discussion for the March meeting.  Currently the plan is to show the Central Vermont Volume 4video which highlights several scenes of Willimantic and surrounding towns.


Amtrak Rolls Out 'Acela' Service, High-speed Trains for Northeast, New Service Will Revolutionize Rail Travel, Continue Amtrak Turnaround

NEW YORK - On March 9th Amtrak unveiled its new, ultramodern high-speed train that will go into service later this year on the Northeast Corridor and announced the rebranding of most Amtrak trains throughout the Northeast as Acela ( Pronounced "ah-cel-la"). The new train and brand name reflect fundamental changes in passenger rail service that will improve speed and service. 

"Acela is more than just a name for Amtrak's new high speed trains, Acela is a brand representing a whole new way of doing business," according to Amtrak President George D. Warrington. "A combination of acceleration and excellence, Acela means high speed and high quality - we are changing the journey for every customer on every train with faster trip times, comfortable amenities and highly personalized service." 

The first high-speed trains, known as Acela Express, are scheduled to go into service between Boston, New York and Washington late this year, competing head-on with the air shuttles and Interstate 95 for time-sensitive business travelers. The current four-hour and 30-minute rail trip between Boston and New York will be cut to three hours. Up to fifteen minutes or more will be cut off today's three-hour Metroliner trip between New York and Washington with some express trains running at less than two and a half hours. 

The first of the 20 new Northeast Corridor high-speed trains has been manufactured at plants in Barre, Vermont and Plattsburgh, NY by the consortium of Bombardier ALSTOM and is now being transported to a test track in Pueblo, Colorado for extensive testing. 

Each high-speed train will consist of locomotives at the front and rear with four coaches, a First class car and a Café car in the middle. Electrical outlets and audio entertainment will be provided at each seat and more than 30 tables will be available throughout the train to spread out paperwork or hold impromptu meetings.  Trains will carry 304 passengers and will be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Windows will be larger, overhead storage compartments will be enclosed and the bathrooms will have vanities, natural light and changing tables. Amtrak has initiated a wide-ranging effort to improve the quality of all aspects of customer service, from visiting a station, to booking a reservation, to experiencing on-board service. 

In addition to high-speed service, the most profound change that will result from Acela will be the introduction of all-electric service in New England. Late this year, Amtrak will close the final link in the Northeast Corridor electrification system between New Haven and Boston, enabling faster trip times for all trains operating between Boston and New York. In order to meet the anticipated demand, the number of trains in New England will soon be doubled.  Under the new brand architectures, NortheastDirect Service will re-emerge as Acela Regional. Empire Service in New York state and Keystone Service in eastern Pennsylvania will also become Acela Regional. The current Clocker Service between Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York will become Acela Commuter. 

Other improvements underway in preparation for Acela include major station improvements in New York, Wilmington and Baltimore; the construction of a new station at Route 128 outside Boston; the overhaul of 385 Amfleet coaches and café cars for Acela Regional service, and streamlined reservations and ticketing, including expanded use of Amtrak's web page.

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Copyright ©1999 Connecticut Eastern Chapter, National Railway Historical Society March 1999..