John Speller's Web Pages - Projected Railroads

High Speed Rail

I am delighted that our President, Barack Obama, has pledged 8 billion dollars toward building a high speed rail network in the United States. This is surely long overdue and is very necessary if the USA is to have the transportation system it needs in order to be successful in the twenty-first century.

The Chicago Hub, linking Toledo and Detroit with Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Kansas City, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Louisville, would be especially useful.

At the moment the Amtrak trains between St. Louis and Kansas City run at around 50 m.p.h. 3 m.p.h. slower than the Great Western Railway's "Flying Dutchman" express was achieving over a comparable distance between London and Exeter in 1851. This is at a time when the world standard is 186 mph (300 km/hr) and widely adopted in Europe, Japan and China. Even Britain, which has been somewhat behind the rest of Europe, has a 186 mph line to the Channel Tunnel, and is planning a new high speed route to Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester. Video of a high speed train between Rotterdam and Antwerp may be seen here.

There would be a California Corridor, linking Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles and San Diego.

There would be a Southeast Corridor linking Washington DC to Atlanta and Jacksonville, Florida, and a New England Corridor from Boston to Montreal with links to New Haven and Portland, Maine.

Eventually there would also be additional lines from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, from Florida to the Central Gulf Coast and from New York to Buffalo. A Federal Railroad Administration map showing proposals in 2010 may be found here. in

A video showing the track being relaid for High Speed Rail between St. Louis and Chicago may be seen here. A 2012 test run at 110 mph may be seen here and here.

I am not a fan of Maglevs. It is noteworthy that the technology to build them has been around for a century -- a linear induction motor being just an A.C. motor opened out -- and very few of them have been built. Some of the ones that have been built, such as the one at Birmingham International Airport in England, have proved uneconomic and closed down. I think the Europeans and the Japanese have been doing things right for the last forty years by building higher speed conventional railroads.
President Obama
Amtrak's "Acela" train on the Northeast Corridor is the nearest thing the USA so far has to a High Speed Rail Network
The European "Eurostar" Train Grande Vitesse at the Gare du Nord in Paris
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