Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Learing Log 9 "American Highspeed is not high speed"

Out of pure curiosity, I compared two major rail networks in the US and UK. Amtrak versus Eurostar. Amtrak boasts an entire railway network throughout the US, comfortable rides, and great scenery. Eurostar boasts a maximum 2 hour, 40 minute ride from London to Brussels, with all the amenities that Amtrak provides, which is rough two hundred thirty mile distance, part of which spans the english channel. In comparison, take the New York to DC run on Amtrak. Roughly the same distance between London and Brussels, it takes about 3 to 4 hours on that network, including the pinnacle high speed rail, the Acela Express, which boasts a 2 hour 54 minute ride. The problem that I am getting to is that the US is one of the few industrialized and prominent countries without a succesful high speed rail networks. I mean, flying has essentially removed a need for rail travel but it could be a great way to make money and take away some of the risks of flying (Engine failure, terrorism, the TSA). The primary problems are that the infrastructure of Amtrak is weak and the government is not behind it. The face that a two hundred mile journey can be completed in less than 2 hours is even a possbility, it should be explored. The Northeast Corridor from Boston, MA to Washington, DC is the only high speed corridor in the country, and it reaches the major cities on the Corridor, Boston, NYC, Philly, Baltimore, and DC. If it were a great service, it would have been expanded by now so that a going across the country doesn't take a week.

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