Acela vs Northeast Regional

Northeast Regional train in Virginia

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.

AcelaNortheast Regional
Route Length457 miles~700 miles
FrequencyMultiple trains per dayMultiple trains per day
Cost2x to 4x more expensive
Ticket OptionsFirst class and business class
(assigned seats)
Business and coach
(no assigned seats)
Type of TrainHigh-speedAmfleet
Quiet CarYes – seats must be reservedYes
Sleeper CarNoYes (when staff available)
Sightseer LoungeNoNo
Dining OptionsCafé
(meals included for first-class)
States on the RouteMA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD Same as Acela + Virginia
End-of-the-Line StationsBoston and Washington D.C.Boston and Norfolk
NYC-Philadelphia Time10 minutes faster1 hours, 20 minutes
DC-Philadelphia Time20 minutes faster2 hours
DC-NYC Time30 minutes faster3 hours, 30 minutes
Boston-NYC Time30 minutes faster4 hours, 15 minutes
Boston-DC Time1 hour faster8 hours

More Information

Top photo credit: Mark Levisay