Taken in Connecticut, from the Acela.
Well, I'm in Boston, and the first thing I have to say is — it's a huge shame that the Acela only runs between Washington DC and Boston, because it's the best way to travel on this continent.
The seats might not be much wider than standard coach seats on other Amtrak trains, but there's a gargantuan amount of leg room. Even with my laptop backpack on the floor I had plenty of room for my feet.
The trains are remarkably quiet given the high speed. You do get a little squeaking, but most of the noise comes from other passengers. If I had it to do over again, I might opt for the quiet car. I might be biased, though, since a bit after New York a guy plopped down in the seat next to me and proceeded to have a lengthy conversation on his cell phone about real estate.
The thing that's most noticable is how buttery smooth the ride is most of the time. But the real "whoa" moment for me came when the train started taking turns hard enough that it was noticably banking into them. It's a very odd sensation at first, but after awhile I stopped noticing it.
The ride was so nice that, although I know we were going really fast much of the time, it was difficult to feel the speed. Looking out the window, though, provided a blurred confirmation that we were really hauling it.
The boarding process was easy, as usual. People behind me remarked on how much easier it was than getting on a plane. And I was able easily able to get what I wanted — a window seat on the right side of the train so I could see the ocean once we got into Connecticut.
The scenery started with dense forests and backyards of little towns, gutted factories and row houses punctuated with graffiti. But as we headed into Connecticut, it gave way to tall church spires and houses ringing the water, sparkling in the sunlight. Rhode Island and Massachusetts were a mixture of everything.
We only saw billboards where the tracks paralleled the highway, and the Acela raced along, easily outpacing the cars.
I'll post pictures to Flickr later. Right now I've got a Red Sox game to get to.