Americans are proud of Amtrak, and the only “high-speed” train operating in America – Acela, which zooms down the East Coast for 454 miles from Boston to Washington D.C.
Well, not exactly “zooms.” The only “high-speed” section is 34 miles long.
Acela’s average pace between New York City (NYC) and Boston is 65 miles per hour (mph). The Amtrak fare is $256 round trip and it takes 2 hours and 17 minutes each way. Only a few of the faster trains run daily.
Private ownership of Amtrak promised us faster, cheaper, better service. Congress agreed, even adding government subsidies to make the corporation more profitable. Overall, it has never made a dime.
And then there’s China…
In the video above some 1,200 passengers in just one train are traveling at more than 250 mph from Shanghai to Nanjing – a distance similar (180 miles) to NYC-Boston.
The trip in China is 60 minutes, The same distance in America takes 217 minutes for Acela, our fastest train. Round trip price falls from $256 on Amtrak to $40 in China.
You might call this a fluke. So what if China has a train that goes fast for 180 miles, and ours only goes fast for 34 miles?
The answer to that question is devastating.
China currently has about 19,000 miles (not 34!) of high-speed lines, all 150 mph to 300 mph. Some 2,800 pairs of so-called bullet trains connect more than 550 cities in China, and cover 33 of the country’s 34 provinces.
In two years China will add another 6,000 miles of high-speed lines.
Does America have a plan to match this?
With the approval of Congress Amtrak said that By 2040, the construction of the dedicated network for the New York to Boston segment will be completed.
At that time, the oldest 12 trains will be retired and 14 new ones will be deployed increasing the total capacity to 46.
This small improvement will cost $141 billion and only allow a speed of 186 mph – 64 mph slower than today’s China trains.
Other projects for high-speed trains in America have been stalled, including the idiotic Los Angeles to Las Vegas “Gambler’s Express.”
What will China be doing by 2040 – when America may hit 186 mph on the East Coast?
Get ready for very, very fast trains.
Reaching a speed of 4,000 kph or 2,480 mph would eliminate nearly all airline flights in America, reduce fuel emissions and reduce travel time immensely.
The trip from New York’s JFK to Los Vegas LAX currently takes about 300 minutes by plane in the air. The high speed train would cut that to 60 minutes, saving you four hours, plus time in airport lines.
But don’t count on this happening.
Our engineers can conquer the technology, and already the 1,000 kmh prototypes are built in China and Germany
The challenge will be whether rail travel can stand up to its traditional foes here – highway builders, airlines, buses, oil companies, corrupt financiers of the status quo and their political partners.