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Home > Archives > Acela Express celebration in Boston, 2000.

Acela Express celebration in Boston, 2000.

Color photograph showing the inaugural Acela Express pulling into Boston South Station on November 16, 2000.

<i>Acela Express</i> celebration in Boston, 2000.

Intended to compete with airlines for travelers in the Washington-New York and New York-Boston markets, Acela Express launched with a special VIP trip on November 16, 2000. Before the departure, Governor Tommy G. Thompson of Wisconsin, then-chair of the Amtrak Board of Directors, christened the train at Washington Union Station with a bottle of champagne. In the background, a fife-and-drum corps pepped up the crowd with patriotic selections.

Once the speeches were concluded, guests boarded the train for New York and Boston. At the time, Matthew L. Wald of The New York Times described the Acela Express as “part airliner and part living room…quiet enough for a six-man a cappella group, Vocal Tonic, of Atlanta, to perform clearly in the aisles…” Touring the cabin, he called it “positively supersonic, with electronic screens like those in jetliners.” Colorful fireworks lighted the night sky as the train pulled into Boston South Station that evening. A new era in North American high-speed rail had begun.

Photographer: Unknown. From the Amtrak Corporate Collection.