While we have been dreaming about floating trains, Europe has been methodically threading its cities together with a sophisticated high-speed rail network. The French TGV, a conventional train with earthbound steel wheels, broke the land-speed record last year, hitting 357 miles an hour on a test track. Asia, too, has invested in high-speed rail: the famous Japanese bullet trains have been in operation since the 1960s, and Beijing’s new high-speed line, which debuted for the Olympics, can go as fast as 220 miles an hour. Even Argentina is about to build a 440-mile-long high-speed rail line. What do we have? Well, we’ve got the Northeast Corridor, where Amtrak’s Acela Express can, on a good day—and only on two short stretches in Rhode Island and Massachusetts—reach 150 miles an hour. And, apparently, we’re gearing up to spend an estimated $12 billion linking our two most significant tourist destinations.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
This article from MetropolisMag.com discusses just that: