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Amtrak Proposes New High Speed Trains [Corrected]

The railroad envisions a new Washington-to-Boston line that would carry passengers at speeds up to 220 miles per hour.

[Editor's Note: The headline of this article was changed from its original version and the article was updated to clarify that Amtrack's proposal would include stops in Connecticut.]

Amtrak is moving forward with plans to spend $115 billion improving rail service between Washington D.C., and Boston, including a proposal for a new high speed rail line that would cut through the middle of Connecticut.  

Amtrak's proposal for the new rail service would include a high speed portion with trains that would operate at up to 220 miles per hour along the new line, which would be built from Danbury to Providence and would cut diagonally across the state. A second tier service along that high speed line would include stops only in Danbury, Waterbury and Hartford, according to a story published today in the Hartford Courant

The plan has some state officials concerned because the proposal would bypass the already heavily traveled shoreline railroad, the Courant reports.

The new line, which is part of Amtrak's long-term plans, would cut directly through numerous eastern Connecticut towns. You can see a detailed report on Amtrak's proposal here.

Jim Cameron August 20, 2012 at 03:17 PM
The story, especially the headline, is WRONG. The inland route being considered by Amtrak for a new super-high speed line would run thru Danbury, Waterbury and Hartford and many / most trains WOULD stop in those cities. See more at: http://talkingtransportation.blogspot.com/2012/08/amtraks-future-in-connecticut.html
David Gurliacci (Editor) August 20, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I've taken a look at the news report and the PDF in the article and to your link and I'm a bit confused on this point: I take it the trains that do stop in Danbury, Waterbury and Hartford be high speed. Will they be as high speed (220mph) as the ones that pass through Connecticut without stopping? If the headline were changed to "Highest" from "High", would that be correct? (I've contacted Eileen McNamara about this.)
David Gurliacci (Editor) August 20, 2012 at 06:17 PM
The article has now been revised, and it's being revised on all the Patch sites where it's appeared.
Jim Cameron August 20, 2012 at 09:24 PM
David... The problem is quoting another journalist's work (The Hartford Courant) without understanding it, and then trying to write a new headline. What Amtrak is proposing is a new alignment, paralleling I-84. All the trains that run there would be "high speed" rail. Some would run non-stop, others might stop in Hartford etc, but they're all be "high speed". The distinction might better be described as "express" vs "local". On 99% of the route they run at the same "high speed", just as the IRT runs as fast between Grand Central and Wall Street as the local that may make a couple of extra stops. From Connecticut's point of view, it's not the speed of the train that matters as much as whether it stops. Had your author taken five minutes to consult the original source material (see map on pg 28 of http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/453/325/Amtrak-Vision-for-the-Northeast-Corridor.pdf) cited by the Courant, it would have been obvious her headline was wrong. Repeating another newspaper's story is dangerous if you don't check the facts. Thanks for the correction.
David Gurliacci (Editor) August 20, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Get used to it, Jim. Every news organization quotes other journalists' work. As a matter of fact, journalists have always quoted other journalists' work (certainly as long as I've been reporting). I think it's done more frequently now, and without independent fact checking, but I don't know when we journalists were ever citing another organization if we were doing independent fact checking -- if we could do that, we had no reason to cite other journalists. The citation always has meant "We're relying on them, folks." It isn't as good as original reporting, but sometimes it has to be done. The blog post of yours that you pointed to wasn't entirely clear on whether or not the trains with the local stops were high speed trains. The Courant's story was positively misleading. I looked at page 28 of the PDF you refer to and I still found it confusing. I spoke with Eileen McNamara, and she was sure that the "Super Express" was, as the name implies, the high-speed service while the others were slower. (You'll notice on that page-28 map that the "Shoreline Express" is also on the map -- and it isn't high-speed, or as high speed as the "Super Express." So you're wrong to say it's obvious from looking at the map. It simply isn't.)
David Gurliacci (Editor) August 20, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Here's what the Courant article said: "Amtrak's 30-year "NextGen High-Speed Rail Alignment" would send Boston-to-Washington express trains hurtling at 220 mph through Connecticut without stopping anywhere in the state. "Its second-tier express service would offer just three Connecticut stops: Hartford, Waterbury and Danbury." What would "second-tier" mean if not "lesser," and what would "lesser" mean if not "slower" in this context? The implication in the Courant article is that those trains are slower—much slower—especially with what the article states about trains not stopping. The Patch writer drew the natural conclusion, which I accept is the wrong one because I'm sure you know your stuff. This does, of course, mean that the capital letters in your first post were too strong a reaction.
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