21 February 2009

Stimulating fast trains

The NY Times reports on the part of the stimulus package that will be contributing towards building a series of high-speed train linkages around the country. I love taking the Acela to DC even though it only goes a little faster than the cars on the Turnpike:
The Acela is the United States’ fastest train. But because the tracks it runs on are curvy, and are shared with many other trains, it is only able to reach its top speed of 150 m.p.h. on about 35 miles of track in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Its average speed is 84 m.p.h. between New York and Washington. Still, Amtrak has captured 62 percent of the combined air and rail market between New York and Washington, company officials said
While it is disappointing to see what passes for high-speed here, it is nice to see step forward. In Spain we were able to get to Madrid in about 4 hours, which saves at least 2 hours over driving. And, at 30 minutes, the high-speed link between Madrid and Toledo is a tourist's dream and has served the many businesses there quite well. Plus, these trains look cool.

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