Yet another article and debate about High Speed Train service!

I want to make clear at the start, before anybody jumps down my throat, that I am well aware of the differences in demographics, economic distribution, population density and politics regarding the USA and the People's Republic of China. Graft and corruption is rampant in China, here in the US we have a totally dysfunctional government brought on by right wing Tea Party idiots. China is building and rebuilding it's infrastructure to the most modern standards at a breath taking pace. Here in the US our bridges are falling apart, the Interstates are full of potholes and we can not even rely on a steady electricity supply here in Washington DC, the Nation's Capital! Believe it or not: my house is connected to an emergency 20 KwH generator, because our electric power supply is so erratic. This is all very much beyond sad...

The US has been talking about High Speed Trains for a long time. Nothing has ever been done about it. And before anybody chimes in with the silly assertion that Amtrak's Northeast Corridor is high speed, one might want to read up on the UIC's definition of high speed rail! To save you the trouble: it is 250 km/h minimum or 156 mph.

Quite a bit more than Amtrak is capabable of doing on it's antiquated corridor. At least on the southern part of the corridor the track is so bad that the equiptment would fly of the rails at 150 mph.  

Then of course there are all the NIMBY's and naysayers: witness the California High Speed Initiative debacle. From law suits to defunding efforts, from plebescites to management snafus, the California initiative has seen it all. A textbook case on the inability to get anything done in this country.

Into this interesting mix now comes an article in The New York Times (24 September 2013) on High Speed trains in the People's Republic of China. Read it here and weep: "Speedy Trains Transform China"

 

New "High Speed" Electrics for Amtrak from Siemens Mobility Photo by APFastest train in the US: Amtrak's Acela Express. Photo by Michael Kurras

CRH High Speed Train Unit. Photo from Wikipedia Commons

Speed Indicator in a Chinese High Speed Train coach