There's something alarming and charming about the latest in the not-working Acela soap opera. The high-speed trains, which are popular plane alternatives for New Yorkers traveling to DC and Boston, are out of service for the next week because of cracks found in the brakes. Now, it seems that the company that made the trains don't have enough disc brakes in stock! Amtrak needs to replace 300 of the 1400 brakes, and Canadian train manufacturer Bombardier only has 80 brakes. A Bombardier spokesman said that the life of a disc brake should be 1 million miles, but Amtrak says the trains have only gone half that distance. Which makes Gothamist wonder what kind of warranties Amtrak has on the trains. And we wonder what this will mean for President Bush's proposal to cut Amtrak funding (it's totally in the red) and privatize the trains.

This story also remind Gothamist of how only two companies in the world can help replace parts for the subway's signal system. It must be nice to be so specialized.