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Amtrak cancels Acela trains in Northeast as coronavirus reduces demand

Amtrak will cancel its flagship Acela Express trains in the Northeast on Monday, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to reduce demand for intercity travel.

The railroad will still operate its slower Northeast Regional trains from Boston to New York to Washington, though at only 40% of the regular weekday schedule.

Amtrak had previously canceled only a handful of Acela trains that run without stops between New York and Washington.

The trains, launched in 2000, carried 3.5 million passengers in 2019, out of the 12.5 million passengers on the Northeast Corridor and 31.5 million passengers nationwide.

The trains, which have a top speed of 150 mph, are a popular alternative to air shuttles in the Northeast. The Acela trains are scheduled for replacement as soon as next year.

Also Monday, Amtrak is set to cut service on its second-busiest route outside the Northeast, the Pacific Surfliner corridor from San Luis Obispo, California, to Los Angeles and San Diego. Among the changes, there will be no service from Goleta, California, to San Luis Obispo.

Amtrak also will cut service on its Piedmont corridor from Raleigh to Charlotte, North Carolina. Amtrak’s long-distance routes have not yet been affected by the changes.

Amtrak's Acela Express trains have a top speed of 150 mph and carry more than a quarter of the passengers traveling the Northeast Corridor last year.

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