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LETTERS

The path to better Northeast Corridor rail runs (slowly) through Connecticut

An Amtrak Acela Express train approaches the train station in Old Saybrook, Conn., in this May 2015 file photo.
An Amtrak Acela Express train approaches the train station in Old Saybrook, Conn., in this May 2015 file photo.NYT

Re “New Amtrak funding should be directed to the places that use train travel the most” (Editorial, April 18): When a train leaves Boston for New York, it gets to Westerly, R.I. — 87 miles away at the Connecticut state line — in 59 minutes. If that speed were maintained to Manhattan, the trip would take 2 hours and 35 minutes — not as swift a pace as routes in France or Japan, but an hour faster than today.

There are two problems in Connecticut. First, the curvy line in Eastern Connecticut physically limits speeds. Yet a 2015-era bypass plan to shave off 20 minutes of travel was shot down by Connecticut officials. Their worries: A faster line would bypass the metropolises of Old Lyme and Mystic (which serve a few dozen passengers per day), and a line along I-95 would affect their historic town centers. Second, the state of Connecticut, which owns the line west of New Haven, does not maintain track for high-speed service, so Acela trains run at commuter speeds.

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Both of these are issues that can be solved, but money is not the only solution. It will take the cooperation of Connecticut’s leaders as well. There’s certainly something in it for the Nutmeg State: More train riders means less congestion on Connecticut’s highways.

Ari Ofsevit

Charlestown

The writer is a board member at TransitMatters.