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Amtrak said today its new, high-speed rail service in the Northeast, which was scheduled to begin late this year, will be delayed until next year due to excessive wheel wear discovered during testing.

Amtrak said the makers of the 150-mph Acela trains, Bombardier and Alstom SA, indicated they could not provide the trains as planned over the next few months because of the unacceptable level of wheel wear. They set a tentative delivery date of April to June.

"Nobody wants delays, and we've worked hard to avoid them," Amtrak President and Chief Executive George Warrington said. But he added that he wanted to make sure the train was right.

Amtrak will put off announcing the new date for starting the high-speed service for 60 days. Meanwhile it plans to take advantage of improvements to the track and electrification between New York and Boston to run faster service.

The Acela trains are expected to cut travel travel time on the New York-to-Boston route to three hours from the current 4 1/2 .

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