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AMTRAK BEGINS X2000 PASSENGER SERVICE (LONG VERSION)

 WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Travelers between Washington, D.C., and New York will be able to experience the latest in high speed rail technology and service when Amtrak inaugurates passenger service Monday, Feb. 1, aboard the high speed tilting train, X2000.
 Amtrak will incorporate X2000 into its Metroliner Service on the Northeast Corridor for a three-month demonstration period. Initially, the train will operate a daily round trip between Washington and New York. In April, service will be extended to New Haven, Conn.
 X2000 will operate mainly on a weekday schedule. During the first two weeks of passenger service, Feb. 1-12, the train will depart Washington Monday through Friday at noon, making stops at New Carrollton, Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia and Newark and will arrive in New York at 2:55 p.m. The return trip will leave New York at 4:30 p.m. as an Express Metroliner stopping only at Baltimore and New Carrollton, arriving in Washington at 7:10 p.m.
 The X2000 weekday Metroliner schedule will change throughout the demonstration period. Contact Amtrak for schedule details.
 In addition to the weekday Metroliner Service, the schedule will include trips between Washington and New York on three Saturdays, Feb. 6, Feb. 20 and March 20. Several excursion trips will operate later in the spring south from Boston along the curving New England Shore Line.
 Amtrak has been evaluating X2000 since October. The high speed train, developed by ABB Inc., substantially reduces travel time between cities while operating on existing tracks. X2000 is able to travel through curves at speeds up to 30 to 40 percent greater than conventional trains and can travel up to 20 percent faster than current Metroliner high speed trains on straight track. To assure passenger comfort, a computerized tilting system banks each car to counter centrifugal forces while the train travels through curves at high speeds.
 The X2000 demonstration is part of Amtrak's effort to improve passenger service and reduce travel times.
 Nationally, Amtrak carries about 22 million inter-city passengers, about half of whom travel on Northeast Corridor trains between Washington and Boston.
 On the southern end of the route (Washington to New York), Amtrak competes favorably with air service for market share. For example, Metroliner trains traveling at 125 mph between Washington and New York have helped Amtrak capture 42 percent of all air and rail passengers between these cities. In fact, Amtrak carries more passengers between Washington and New York than any single airline.
 Most of the high speed trains operating in Japan and Europe require new tracks with straight alignments and dedicated rights of way. The enormous cost for new rights of way has been the major factor in postponing high speed passenger rail service in the United States.
 Amtrak officials say that high speed rail will best be achieved in this country by upgrading existing tracks. One such product is the Northeast High-speed Rail Improvement Project (NHRIP) between New Haven and Boston. When completed in 1997, Amtrak will be able to use trains like the X2000 to reduce the Boston-to-New York travel time from its current four hours or more to less than three hours.
 The Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG), which recently joined Amtrak in hosting a demonstration run of X2000, estimates that train ridership between Boston and New York will increase dramatically when travel time breaks the three hour mark. CONEG estimates that 3.3 million additional passengers will use Amtrak in all segments of the Northeast Corridor when three-hour New York-to-Boston service is available.
 In addition to reducing travel time, Amtrak also is evaluating the amenities and services that could attract more ridership. Features on X2000 include reclining seats in a two-and-one arrangement, a work surface at each seat, conference salons for three or four passengers, food service delivered seatside to each passenger, a Bistro car for snacks, fax machines, computer hook-ups, telephones and three channel stereo entertainment programming.
 Amtrak will be seeking passenger reaction to X2000 during its Metroliner Service and to the first-class amenities available on the train. At the conclusion of the project, Amtrak will develop specifications for a new generation of Northeast Corridor trains. Should X2000 technology be selected for these new trains, they will be manufactured by ABB Traction Inc. in the United States.
 Tickets for X2000 are available at regular Metroliner coach fares. X2000 has accommodations for disabled passengers, including on-board wheelchair lifts. Complete schedule information can be obtained and reservations can be made by calling Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL.
 Following is X2000's schedule:
 -- Weekdays, from Feb. 1 to 12: depart Washington at noon as Metroliner 112 for New York City making stops at New Carrollton, Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia and Newark, arriving New York at 2:55 p.m. The return from New York as Express Metroliner 223 will depart at 4:30 p.m. stopping only at Baltimore and New Carrollton, arriving Washington at 7:10 p.m.
 -- Weekdays, from Feb. 15 to March 19: depart Washington at 1 p.m. as Metroliner 114 for New York with stops in Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Metro Park and Newark. The train will return from New York as Metroliner 125 at 6 p.m. with stops in Newark, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, BWI, Airport Rail Station and New Carrollton.
 -- Weekdays, from March 22 to May 10, X2000 will leave Washington at 6:50 a.m. as Express Metroliner 202 for New York with a stop in New Carrollton. Beginning April 5, Express Metroliner 202 will continue to New Haven with stops in New Rochelle, Stamford and Bridgeport. The train will return from New York at 4:30 p.m. as Express Metroliner 223 for Washington. When the New Haven service begins April 5, Express Metroliner 223 will depart New Haven for New York at 2:33 p.m.
 -- Saturdays, Feb. 6 and 20 and March 20, Amtrak will operate X2000 as Metroliner 108 departing from Washington at 10 a.m. with stops in New Carrollton, Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia and Newark. The return from New York will be Metroliner 125 leaving at 6 p.m. with stops in Baltimore and New Carrollton.
 -0- 1/29/93
 /NOTE: Reporters wishing to ride X2000's inaugural trip may board and depart the train at any of the station stops. Please call Amtrak Public Affairs, 202-906-3855, to make arrangements./
 /CONTACT: Karen Armour of ABB, 203-328-2217; or R. Clifford Black of Amtrak, 202-906-3855/


CO: Amtrak ST: IN: SU:

KH -- MN011 -- 0896 01/29/93 16:00 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 29, 1993
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