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High-Speed Rail Coming to America

by Joshua Liberles on February 21, 2008

InterCityRail High-Speed Rail Coming to America
High-speed rail is finally coming to America. However it’s Argentina and not the United States that will be the first Amercian country to build a high-speed rail system and join the modern age of transportation.

The popularity of high-speed passenger rails is picking up in cities throughout the world. Latin America, Europe, and China have big plans to construct or expand such rail systems in the near future.

From the International Railway Journal:

Argentina has shocked the world by deciding to build the first high-speed railway in the Americas. Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV) in Italy looks set to be the world’s first open-access high-speed rail operator. China has unveiled its first 300km/h train and started to award contracts for its huge Beijing-Shanghai high-speed project.

These events look set to have a profound impact on the future development of high-speed rail and give it a major boost. They could also pave the way for a major revival in intercity rail travel in parts of the world that haven’t seen long-distance passenger trains for decades.

 

In Argentina, newly elected President Christina Kirchner, wife of former President Nestor Kirchner, is rallying behind high-speed rail systems as an alternative, efficient mode of transport, and, unlike most politicians, she’s putting her money where her mouth is. Kirchner signed a $1.35 billion contract with a consortium led by Alstom, a French company, to construct a 440 mile (710 km) high-speed rail system that would connect the country’s major cities. According to TreeHugger, the train will eventually cut travel time between Buenos Aires and Cordoba from fourteen hours to three hours.

Apart from the planned rail project, Kirchner intends to build a 28km electrified railway tunnel through the Andes to Chile, which would link the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the continent. The rail project has already been approved, though the tunnel risks being beaten out by a highway project in Buenos Aires.

Brazil is also planning a network of inter-city rail systems between Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.

High speed rails have also taken hold on the other side of the world, with China leading the East.

From the International Railway Journal:

In Asia, China has been putting a tremendous and increasing effort into developing its long-distance passenger services. A series of so-called speed-ups have cut journey times substantially. Construction of a huge high-speed network is underway, and as I write this work is about to start on the massive Beijing-Shanghai project.

China has also unveiled its first home-produced 300km/h train - 250km/h trains in the CRH series are already in service. Increasing technical expertise in all spheres of high-speed rail will make China a force to be reckoned with in the rapidly expanding high-speed rail market.

Others, like Russia, Morocco and Saudi Arabia are making preliminary plans to implement high-speed rail systems.

Despite its big-budget and high-tech innovations, North America is woefully behind the rest of the world when it comes to introducing high-speed trains
—and, really, transit systems, in general. In the West, it seems we love our carbon-belching cars too much to invest in fast, affordable, and efficient modes of transit—instead freeways. If North America were to follow suit and make mass transit more convenient, commuters might be more likely to hop onboard with the rest of the world.

Photo via flickr by juicyrai & Strychnine.

 

Related posts:

  1. High Speed Rail Connects Barcelona and Madrid
  2. Spring Break Trip Promotes California’s High-Speed Rail
  3. California Trains to Go High-Speed?
  4. North Carolina All Aboard Rail System
  5. Mass Tram America: A Monorail on Steroids
  6. Recent Posts

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ChipSeal February 11, 2008 at 11:13 pm

What? Tap water needs to be filtered to drink? Who put that silly idea in your head? :D

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2 Understandascope February 12, 2008 at 3:54 am

For more on the economic and environmental impacts of bottled water, see:

http://203.171.84.225:8080/traction/permalink/Blog574

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