BBC Rides the Shinkansen

shinkansenbbcI am really not sure this style of transport would work across the US.  It could be an exception, rather than the norm, that in certain regions it would work, certainly those areas that are more in tune with future trends and the realisation that cars and air transport can’t provide the long terms means of getting from A-B (if A and B are major US cities) and certainly not considering all means of transport in the US is dependent on oil.

The sheer task of getting a project like this up and running in Illinois, for example, would require a huge shift in the mindset as to what high speed rail can offer and why this region needs it. The simple task of building sidewalks (pavements) in the village I currently live in is meeting stiff opposition; I have not yet lived in a place, nor experienced a mind set, that would be so opposed to the building of a sidewalk that it makes local headlines. In Europe it is something we take for granted, here it is something to be opposed because the perception is that a simple sidewalk is out dated. Much like the tram systems were seen as out dated in the 1950s, so too the sidewalk is considered to be backward looking.

So what chance does building a high speed rail network have, with it’s hub in Chicago and the lines spreading out to the major cities in neighbouring states, if the mindset still sees trains as yesterdays transportation solution, cars and planes as the future. If you listen to the politicians then it has every chance, even Obama has set aside 8 billion USD to fund rail projects. This is a drop in the ocean compared to the billions stuffed into the US’ failing automotive industry; arguably the billions put into these industries could have been diverted to build a new generation of railway networks and actually generate new jobs and give new hope to workers across America. Until such a mind set changes and the projects create an unstoppable momentum we can only watch items and imagine what it could be like.