Acela is Amtrak’s high-speed route that travels between Washington D.C. and Boston. Trains stop at some of the same stations as the Northeast Regional, so you might have the option to choose between these two routes when booking your tickets. So how are they different?
The key thing to know is that Acela tickets are considerably more expensive and trains stop at fewer stations. Plus, Acela trains aren’t much faster than the Northeast Regional unless you are traveling a long distance.
Despite these drawbacks, there are a few Acela perks. Meals are included if you purchase a first-class ticket and seats are assigned (which you can change online or by calling Amtrak). Otherwise, it is open seating on the Northeast Regional trains, which can make it difficult to find multiple seats together if you are traveling with a group.
To learn more about Acela vs the Northeast Regional, see the chart below.
|Route Length||457 miles||~700 miles|
|Frequency||Multiple trains per day||Multiple trains per day|
|Cost||2x to 4x more expensive|
|Ticket Options||First class and business class|
|Business and coach|
(no assigned seats)
|Type of Train||High-speed||Amfleet|
|Quiet Car||Yes – seats must be reserved||Yes|
|Sleeper Car||No||Yes (when staff available)|
|Dining Options||Café |
(meals included for first-class)
|States on the Route||MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD||Same as Acela + Virginia|
|End-of-the-Line Stations||Boston and Washington D.C.||Boston and Norfolk|
|NYC-Philadelphia Time||10 minutes faster||1 hours, 20 minutes|
|DC-Philadelphia Time||20 minutes faster||2 hours|
|DC-NYC Time||30 minutes faster||3 hours, 30 minutes|
|Boston-NYC Time||30 minutes faster||4 hours, 15 minutes|
|Boston-DC Time||1 hour faster||8 hours|
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Top photo credit: Mark Levisay