Photo by Travis.

The Acela, Amtrak’s “high-speed” rail line, is not actually high speed, hence my putting that term in quotes. At least: it wasn’t, until today, sort of.

New Jersey’s senators are excited.

Today, U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) applauded Amtrak for taking an important step to advance high-speed rail on the Northeast Corridor by conducting a test run of high-speed trains in New Jersey. The initial test run is expected to take place tonight between Trenton and New Brunswick, where Amtrak will test its high-speed Acela Express equipment at 165 mph, which is 5 mph above the expected future maximum operating speed of 160 mph and 30 mph above the current maximum speed of 135 mph.

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Trains in other (far better!) countries go up to 200 miles an hour, so that’s not that great. But: Yeah! Alright! Faster Amtrak! A trip of 400 miles that used to take just under three hours will now take … two and a half. And the 20-or-so-minute trip between Trenton and New Brunswick will be shortened by, like, five?

Actually, that 30-minute expected improvement is a little high. The Associated Press notes that the speed difference elsewhere on the line is more subtle than the stretch in Jersey.

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Two test locations — from Perryville, Md., to Wilmington, Del., and from Trenton to New Brunswick, N.J. — currently have a speed limit of 135 mph. The two others — in Rhode Island from Westerly to Cranston and in Massachusetts from South Attleboro to Readville — currently have 150 mph limits.

Hm. Perhaps the good senators’ statement should be reworded slightly: We applaud Amtrak for taking a baby step.