Could this be a new rail revolution, or has the media in the US found something new, and kind of exciting) for those who get to travel on high speed trains somewhere in the world) to write about instead of the problems that they keep finding.
Wired is running a fabulous article about the projects in the US, detailing the issues that they face, but also the expectations. Interesting to read is that only the California system is being held up as a true ultra fast system from the outset. As previously mentioned, the most interesting one will be the Florida system that will probably being the first one to get started, and given its short distance for the first phase, will end up being the first one completed.
Christian Science Monitor also extols the virtues of high speed rail. The main arguments in “pro-rail” articles tends to be on the subject of avoiding the relative hassles of flying; certainly flying across the US, or covering long distances that separate the major cities in the US, is faster by plane, but there is always the relative issue with security checks, the having to be there three hours (or so before) , and just the general hassle associated with air travel. What a lot of these articles do not seem to consider, so maybe it is just my opinion, is that rail travel simply provides a third alternative for making intercity travel which, whilst having disadvantages, has a lot more, attractive advantages associated with such elegant means of travel (not being in a tube floating at 30000 feet is one that springs to mind). The simple perspective I can see from all this is that there is an increased awareness that the rest of the world is moving ahead with high speed rail, it is time the US got in to this game and develops its own, home-developed, system.
Kent (England) isn’t exactly in the US, but it does have a shiny new high speed rail line running through it; someone even had the bright idea of having commuter trains running along it when Eurostar isn’t. Kent serves as an example for US regions unsure about the arrival of high speed rail in that they see this new line as being crucial for the future development of the area. It could be argued that the plans for future improvement for the area would have happened anyway; however, the High Speed 1 link is being seen as the vital catalyst that is propelling the area forward. Once the Midwest line gets built, for example, I can see more people living well outside the immediate area and making the commute in to Chicago each day. We’ll see.