Saturday, May 11, 2019

High Speed Rail-- A Much Greener Way To Travel Than Airplane Or Auto... And Some Special Interests Opposing It


Yesterday CNBC carried a very interesting piece on high peed rail-- and why the U.S. has fallen so woefully behind other nations. Jeniece Pettitt and Adam Isaak compared the U.S. to other countries: "China has the world's fastest and largest high-speed rail network-- more than 19,000 miles, the vast majority of which was built in the past decade. Japan's bullet trains can reach nearly 200 miles per hour and date to the 1960s. They have moved more than 9 billion people without a single passenger casualty. France began service of the high-speed TGV train in 1981 and the rest of Europe quickly followed... When the high speed rail between Madrid and Barcelona in Spain came into operation, air traffic just plummeted between those cities and everyone switched over to high speed rail which is very convenient. People were happy to do it; they weren't forced to switch. They did it because it was a nicer option to take high speed rail. There's sort of a rule of thumb for trips that are under three or four hours in trip length from city to city-- those usually end up with about 80 to 90 percent of the travel market... [Brian Annis, California Secretary of Transportation:] 'Where rail exists and it's convenient and high speed, it's very popular. America is waking up to this idea that rail is a good investment for transportation infrastructure.'"

But the U.S. has no true high-speed trains, aside from sections of Amtrak's Acela line in the Northeast Corridor. The Acela can reach 150 mph for only 34 miles of its 457-mile span. Its average speed between New York and Boston is about 65 mph.

California's high-speed rail system is under construction, but whether it will ever get completed as intended is uncertain.

You'll get a better picture of which special interests are keeping high speed rail from moving forward in the U.S. by watching the film. But you can get the general idea here: "There are a lot of forces in America that really don't want to see rail become a major mode of transportation, especially because it will effect passengers numbers on airplanes; it'll effect the use of autos." Currently backward Republicans see high speed rail that socialist European countries but not something for car-loving America.



At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The more that comes out about Boeing's aircrap, the more high-speed rail looks like a better option.

At 6:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The US oil and car corporations have a century-long history of colluding to erase sensible transit options.

Why do you think that big cities (like LA) that once had trolley lines don't any more... haven't had since the '50s?

Why do you suppose we spent so many billions between the '50s and the '70s on the interstate highway system and zip on interstate rail?

political contributions (bribes) from big oil and GM/Ford/Chrysler who stood to profit soooooo much from selling sooooo much more of their shit... because there weren't other good options.

But let's not start with the boeing lawn darts. anything done in the united shitholes of jesus, home of corruption and NOT home of shit done right, will be done badly. And a train derailment at 200 mph will kill a lot of people. And rail lines are easier targets for terrorists, domestic and otherwise.

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no such place as one which is safe from terror attack. Our school kids know this better than their parents.

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting on this topic. I joke that me and 2-3 other people here in California still support high speed rail. It is discouraging, reading unrelenting hit pieces in the MSM. I wish more people understood that this rail project is not for the billionaires; it's for the people. And, not necessarily for people around today - for people traveling 40 years from now. I really hope it gets built.

At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fascinating. If we hadn't wasted $4+ trillion on endless wars, an annual $750 billion on dubious national "defense" think of what we could do. It would be nice to see us leapfrog high speed rail with hyperloop. That is a very American way of doing things. If you have to elevate the train line for many miles to overcome intersections etc, you can bury it as you do with a hyper loop. I'll bet the costs are not that much different and the hyperloop is way faster, 3-4x.

At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

costs to go underground regularly run triple what even an elevated solution runs.

If 100 underground projects were to be started, the costs might go to only double as construction of boring machines might see price reductions due to volume. But keep in mind that boring machines are not made in this shithole. They are made in China and Germany.

hyperloop is an even more expensive implementation. It does not lend itself to Xcountry as one of the best perks of doing that via rail would be seeing the landscape out the window.

HSR is still something that should be done. It would benefit cargo even more than travel. You could send actual ripe produce interstate since it wouldn't have to be picked green because of the travel time.

Anecdotal sidelight: My car was assembled in Mexico, loaded onto a train and it took over a month to get to my dealer for their "prep". That was an average speed of 5 mph.

At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rode the high speed trains of Europe back in the 70's. What a great way to travel! Always on time, scenic travel and efficient. Wouldn't want to give Americans that opportunity.


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