High speed news

In the UK the Government is putting forward proposals to cut journey times even before the new High speed route to Scotland has been completed. The proposal also sees the inclusion of scheduled services from cities other than London to link into the European networks, with services to Paris and Brussels – The Telegraph

China is planning a massive high speed expansion in order to boost the economy during the downturn with 42 new routes being proposed. The new track systems will be able to handle trains traveling at 350 km/h. Considering China’s already massive investment in high speed routes this is even more impressive – AFP

Back to the UK were a ‘preview’ service has been introduced for commuters traveling from other towns and cities in the South East of England to London. In the news interview one commuter stated that his journey time would be cut from 30-40 minutes one way, impressive and something I hope will spur other regions in the UK to develop high speed routes – BBC News

Also in the UK, eleven cities have joined forces to pressure the Government to consider additional high speed routes linking their locations to the high speed network. This is almost like the heated campaigns in France when the Channel Tunnel line from Paris was being planned, which city would get the route going through it – The Guardian

In North America there seems to be very little in the way of movement on high speed routes. There are promising signs from Canada which does seem to be taking the proposals more seriously – Canada.com.
In the US, however, opinion seems to be deeply polarised on any changes or development. It is either seen as necessary to the development and future of the country – SJ-r.com, or met with deeply skeptical opposition – Deseret News. Other than the Californian route, which seems to be moving ahead I am not convinced that the US will see any additional high speed revolutions any time soon, with the possible exception of a few routes on the East Coast, but even that seems questionable.

*Update* – It seems my pessimism is somewhat unfounded. I have subsequently come across an article that would imply that the Mid-Western states are working together to bring a high-speed rail corridor to these states…

The governors of eight states — Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri and Iowa — have signed an agreement to work together to bring high-speed rail to the region.

This really is a fabulous indication of what could potentially happen. Yes it could well open up these states, much like the experience of other nations that have brought high-speed but in the immediate term it will bring much needed stimulus in terms of development and construction – NPR (via Infrastructurist)

Finally, in France a teenager narrow escaped death by TGV as he fell asleep next to a high speed track – Reuters