Rail travellers will soon be able to get from midtown Manhattan to the heart of Washington DC in just over two and a half hours.

Amtrak announced this week the launch of Acela Nonstop, using its high-speed, business-travel oriented trains to provide direct service between Penn Station in New York City and Washington Union Station, just a few block from the US Capitol.

The new service will begin on September 23, with weekday-only trains operating once daily from each of the nation’s two busiest rail terminals.

The southbound train will depart New York’s Penn Station at 0635 and is scheduled to arrive in Washington a 0910. The northbound train will depart Union Station at 1630, and arrive at Penn at 1905.

“The new Acela Nonstop service will have you halfway to your New York City or DC destination in the time it would take you to board a flight,” said Amtrak president and CEO Richard Anderson.

“This new service will offer an ideal solution for travellers who want to save time and travel between city center D.C. and New York.”

The Acela Nonstop trains are expected to be similarly equipped to current Acela trainsets, including Quiet cars, a Cafe car, and First Class service.

Amtrak also is considering other nonstop service between US city pairs.