Green Signal for Fast Trains

Train service that's as fast as flying or driving has long been a dream of US transportation planners. Amtrak's Acela service in the Washington-New York-Boston corridor has shown it's possible, at least between populous cities.

Now a new study finds enough ridership for high-speed train service between Boston and Montreal to make the 325-mile run economically viable. That should encourage other regions to pursue high-speed service.

The study was jointly funded by the federal government, along with Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The finding: A high-speed train that would make the trip between the two cities in just under six hours would attract well more than half a million riders each year.

The Boston-Montreal corridor was chosen as one of three high-speed rail areas by the Federal Railroad Association in 2000. Ten other corridors around the nation are in some stage of similar study. After that comes the hard part - rights of way would need to be secured and track laid.

Rail has proven itself to be both reliable and relatively better for the environment. This study should help pave the way for cities and states to make the worthwhile investments.

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