The Null Device

High-speed rail for America

Good news for rail travel in the US: the Obama administration is planning to invest in passenger rail projects. Of that, $850m will go towards Amtrak, the US's somewhat neglected vestigial passenger rail system, and two billion will be spent on "high-speed rail", including a network of rail links across the Midwest.

Most of the article has an interview with former Massachusetts governor and Presidential candidate and public transport advocate Michael Dukakis, who seems to be an unofficial spokesman for passenger rail development in America. It emerges that "high speed", though, could mean the 1970s British Rail definition, i.e., up to 125mph, not the TGV/shinkansen definition regarded as "high speed" elsewhere. The fact that he talks about upgrading America's railways to "the level of technology they're using in England" says a lot about how far there is to go. I wonder whether they'll do what the New South Wales transport authority did and actually start making InterCity 125s under license.

It's good to see money being earmarked for upgrading America's railways, though over the long distances that span the continental states, would a 125mph train really be able to compete with flying? If anything, the distance is all the more reason to invest in faster railways.

There are 1 comments on "High-speed rail for America":

Posted by: Newob Sun Feb 1 22:30:19 2009

Yeah, when will we finally be getting mag-lev trains?

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