Thursday, April 4, 2013

High Speed Rail

What do you think of high speed rail?  We have taken the train while visiting other countries and ours in the US is a snail's pace in comparison.  Will high speed rail work?  Did we wait too long to decide if it would?

"“Building a new system of high-speed rail in America will be faster, cheaper and easier than building more freeways or adding to an already overburdened aviation system, and everybody stands to benefit,” declared President Barack Obama when he released his strategic plan for a nationwide high-speed rail system in April 2009."

LuAnn found this topic interesting in her Topic News at work and sent it to me.  I haven't thought about rail since we took a train on the coast of New Zealand to Christchurch in January.  It was a pleasant ride and the best way for us to get where we were going.

I was impressed with the train from Amsterdam to Berlin.  I was very impressed with the train across China and that was years ago.  I have not been so impressed with AmTrak.

I think we waited too long to build a better rail system in America.  I can't see it happening can you?  I can't imagine how bad it would have to get when people would ride a train instead of their automobile, can you?

I took delivery on seed from my friend Keith in Iowa.  Why couldn't the rail have delivered it just as quickly for a tenth the fuel?  What is that commercial about how little fuel the train uses per ton of freight per mile?  We've got a huge, busy country that is crippled by debt and cost when we didn't develop things like rail right before our eyes.

I have read about the turmoil over water and rail in the development of of our country's infrastructure.  Both are important, but Ford and Getty sold the idea of our very independence to haul everything we need.

I am not so sure that was wise this morning, do you?

Ed

4 comments:

  1. Yeah, the U.S. are so far behind that any high speed train plan would cost much more to build than in any country in the world. The property costs alone have skyrocketed compared to the countries who did this investment decades earlier, to a point where it's almost financially impossible to build such a network. And even if they find some cheap land, Homeland security concerns would make sure that such a project is unfeasible, as it is just too easy to put on cow on the rails to create a high speed accident with dozens of dead travelers. You'd need like a second sacrificial train traveling miles ahead of the real train to clean up any debris or obstacles...

    The French TGV (acronym for High Speed Train) beat 357 mph between Germany and Paris 6 years ago to a day, is that what triggered LuAnn's memory or Topic News? This was a unique record though, commercial speeds are usually slightly below 200 mph.

    I still think high speed (electric) rail is mandatory in any modern country, especially a such a big one as the U.S., both for travelers and goods. Diesel trucking is a luxury these days, not even mentioning a large source of pollution. It should never be used for interstate transportation. With the availability of cheap natural gas, I am pretty sure that many trucks will convert to LPG or be built for LPG from the start. That would help with pollution a bit. But yeah, I can understand it's not on Obama's priority list at the moment. Let someone else deal with it when economic outlooks are better.

    By the way, I strongly recommend Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged book, describing the fight between free enterprise industrialists (from the view of railroad pioneers), and a liberal government that put blocks on every project that might hurt the sensibility or interests of some, and tax every cent of profit to share with the majority of takers. Not unlike some recent debates between Republicans and Democrats... The movie is great too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I knew you would have an opinion on this!

    Pretty good remarks, too, if I might say.

    I don't want a liberal governement but right minded thinking has not gotten the job done we need.

    Ed

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