But the Acela is Amtrak's only profit-maker, with an average profit per passenger of $41. Amtrak's other lines lose an average of $32 per passenger.
For all that, Bombardier looks on the U.S. as only a "medium-term possibility" for revenue gains. In countries like China and France, Bombardier deals with one decision maker, the central government along with a state-owned transport authority.
In the U.S., 24 states are clamouring for high-speed rail funds – a promising sign of interest, to be sure, but a reminder of the labours of dealing with multiple levels of bureaucracy. Republicans in those states have balked at the proposed expenditure. And train buff Obama will be in office, at most, for only seven more years. After that, who knows?
The decades-long wait for high-speed rail in central Canada proves the same point, that commitment to passenger rail – high-speed or conventional – remains far stronger outside North America.