Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Future is Now...

...when it comes to high speed rail as an alternative to air travel:
High-speed rail is generally defined as public transport by train that exceeds 124 mph. Given that definition, the United States also has high-speed rail services, but just barely. Amtrak’s Acela Express runs along the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington D.C. at speeds of up to 150 mph. That’s better than sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Interstate 95, but it’s nothing compared to the trains now testing in France, which go more than twice as fast.

In thrall to the automobile and air travel, U.S. rapid train service never really took off. But now with highways packed, airports gridlocked and bridges crumbling, America has fallen way behind the rest of the developed world (and even some less developed parts) when it comes to creating a high-speed rail network.

Indeed, lightning-like rail service is popping up in countries where you might not have expected it. In South America, Argentina is forging ahead with plans to build the continent’s first high-speed network linking Buenos Aires and C√≥rdoba. Based on French TGV technology, the “Cobra” bullet trains should be able to reach speeds of 199 mph just in time to carry passengers to Argentina’s 2010 bicentennial celebrations.
[Now its just time for the U.S. to join the progress...]