In Japan, hotels close to railway lines have been trying to woo rail enthusiasts by claiming the rooms offer amazing access to the rail lines from the comfort of your own room – BBC News
On the high speed rail scene, Florida senate voted to back the proposed SunRail project and the project to link the major cities in the state (Orlando Business Journal & Miami Herald); meanwhile in Brasil the bidding process has begun for the contract to build a line between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with the work to be completed before the Olympics in 2016 – running at 347 km/h! (Americas)
It looks like there is going to be a renaissance of sorts in the streetcar (tram) scene. According to The Infrastructurist 45 cities have expressed varying interest in building (or in some cases rebuilding) streetcar systems. No indication as to why there should be such a revolution in attitudes, but if this could be replicated elsewhere then goodness alone knows what will happen in US cities – The Infrastructurist
The Guardian has a news video about the rail replacement work that is being carried out on London’s Underground. Two things that struck me: how clean the railway is and where are the big machines? – The Guardian
Elsewhere in the UK, Scottish media maintains its coverage on the UK high speed line that will connect London to Scotland. What amazes me in this debate is that Scotland isn’t developing its own system to connect the major cities. A single line between Edinburgh and Glasgow gives them a head start and would get over the arguments of where the London line goes to; then the other cities and two in Scotland should be connected to both these cities, this is something that can happen now while UK parliament carries on discussing – The Scotsman
Finally, China has unveiled the words fastest (rail based) passenger train running at 380km/h from the central city of Wuhan to the South Coast, a distance of 1000 km done in less than three hours – a journey that was originally done in over 10 hours. If (and that is a big if) the US ever gets round to building a high speed line between Chicago and New York, which is a comparable distance, such a journey, even with strategic stops along the way, could see a journey of four hours city centre to city centre; airlines would probably not be able to compete, and that is probably why this will not get done in US any time soon.
It is stunning to think that this line took just four years to complete, although I believe the network would be greatly complimented by the construction of stations that are equally as impressive as Beijing’s new airport. I really don’t need to comment further on this, it is a fabulous achievement – NPR