Chicago as a High-speed hub

Interesting perspective on high-speed rail in the midwest of America…

Europe is in its fourth or fifth generation of high-speed electrified rail technology, which the United States could borrow and adapt. Harnish said that in any other country Chicago would be acting as a hub of a high-speed rail network, with so many cities nearby, from Cleveland to Cincinnati to St. Louis to Minneapolis.

I am convinced that the new rail developments should link the downtown areas with the airport hubs, on the basis that airports do offer a “centralised” hub for travel and especially in the US have the necessary infrastructure; however these developments should include the high-speed links from the airports to the downtown areas and then encourage development of interlinking transport solutions that enable an easier transision from the high-speed to local and metro/subway lines. Chicago is an excellent example of not making transisions from urban (heavy railways) to the metro/subway lines – it is quite a walk from Union station to the Chicago ‘L’ subway system, simply extending the subway to interchange with the principle railway stations makes it easier for transfers. The bottom line is that creating a high-speed rail network is one thing, it is somewhat breathless if the plans do not also include transport integration projects and interchange points.

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