Posts: 382
Joined: Mon May 21, 2001 2:10 pm

Bullet Trains

Tue Apr 06, 2004 5:37 am

Reading this thread got me the US the train system is a joke.
Could a bullet train be a viable system between, say, Boston-New York-Washington? Or Los Angeles-San Francisco? An affordable rapid inter-city transit system is needed here, especially between cities so close as those with so much traffic between them. As someone with plenty of experience stuck in the Jersey or Mass Turnpikes, I would think that this would be a solution, however I know very little about the train systems. So, A-netters, please answer the question:

Is a bullet train practical in the US?
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Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2003 3:58 am

RE: Bullet Trains

Tue Apr 06, 2004 6:48 am

AmTrak put highspeed trains on their northeatern routes (good option these days instead of DL or US's shuttles). The problem is that they use existing tracks, so they can't go as fast as their european counterparts, plus the rail lines are congested with slower trains around the big cities. The only way I ever see a good highspeed rail system being built is through government tax money, which seems remote currently. Hopefully we'll get our act together sometime.

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Joined: Wed Jun 09, 1999 12:51 am

RE: Bullet Trains

Tue Apr 06, 2004 7:05 am

I certainly believe that bullet trains are a possibility in the United States.

Between cities like Dallas/Houston/Austin/San Antonio, Chicago/Minneapolis/St. Louis/Detroit and many other, I think they would be good, fast alternatives to airlines.

The only problem is that airlines have a strong lobby power, and I am pretty sure they would fight any idea of more bullet trains (or their existance period.) I seem to recall that Southwest vigourously fought bullet trains in Texas, but don't quote me on that.

Airspace is limited, and I think that a national network of rails is in order. I also think that all US airports should have passenger and commercial rail links, to fully integrate the two means of interstate transportation and commerce.

I don't think that a bullet train between say, San Francisco and New York is going to happen anytime soon, but I think that regional rail has a bright future. The public likes rail systems, as demonstrated by light rail success in many urban areas (even 'car happy' areas such as Dallas, Houston, and San Francisco.) The more rail the better. I think Americans just need more options than cars and planes, and the rail is a perfect intermediary.

None of this will happen, though, while we have a conservative, car clinging government. There will always be more money for crowded highways than railways.
"[He] knew everything about literature, except how to enjoy it." - Yossarian, Catch 22
Posts: 151
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 6:37 am

RE: Bullet Trains

Tue Apr 06, 2004 7:37 am

You guys think the US has it bad, well you ain't seen the UK - ah the joy  Big thumbs up

"Network Rail is to invest £26 billion over the next 5 years to improve punctuality on the railways"

By punctuality, they mean to get it back to where it was before privatisation.
Posts: 4228
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2000 2:02 pm

RE: Bullet Trains

Tue Apr 06, 2004 7:58 am

It could work if all new tracks were laid, then the lines could reach speeds of up to 300mph, maybe 400mph if MagLev technology was to be used. The lines would'nt have to be nationwide, but serving regional areas such as the northeast corridor, Texas, the midwest, west coast, etc.

Of course it will never happen, god forbid any public money is spent for a useful project...
Posts: 4806
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2001 3:48 am

RE: Bullet Trains

Tue Apr 06, 2004 8:16 am

Isn't there a true high-speed link being built (or about to be built) in Florida? That might be enough to get you started. If it's a success, other states might just hop on too.
Posts: 549
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 1999 12:51 am

RE: Bullet Trains

Tue Apr 06, 2004 8:20 am

I used the UK rails extensively for a week this March, and my train was only delayed once. Granted it's only personal experience, but you guys in the UK have it good when it comes to rail (granted the dollar to pound ratio made it quite expensive.) Everything seemed timely and the trains were quite nice.

But, as with any other system, improvements can always be made.
"[He] knew everything about literature, except how to enjoy it." - Yossarian, Catch 22
Posts: 1926
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 12:17 pm

RE: Bullet Trains

Tue Apr 06, 2004 9:13 am

maglev coast to coast would be one smart investment for the usa. 14 or so hours new york<-> los angeles with almost endless scaleability for a investment maybe about what the u.s. dod spends in a quarter of a year.

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