Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Trains... America is behind the curve

I'm a huge fan of rail transportation. Light rail. Heavy rail. Whatever. Frankly, I'm disappointed that America hasn't come to love and use the train.

In my travels, I'm amazed at the use of light rail & subways in urban areas. These conveniences cut down on traffic and promote the use of energy-saving public transportation.

And then I return home to Hampton Roads.

This past weekend, I took the train from DC home. Well, not all the way, as the train disappointingly only goes to Newport News. But it's a good trip, nonetheless.

And now the French have the wheeled train speed record, captured today.

From the Deutsche Welle staff:
A French train hit new speed records Tuesday near the eastern city of Strasbourg, zipping along the tracks at 574.8 kilometers (357.2 miles) per hour. The company hopes for more international customers.

The train is an experimental version of the Traine a Grande Vitesse (TGV), equipped with two supercharged locomotives and extra-large wheels. It easily beat the previous 515.3 kph record set by a TGV in 1990.

A Japanese magnetic levitation, or Maglev, train still holds the world train speed record of 581 kph reached in 2003. Maglev trains don't run on rails but glide on a magnetic field.
I suspect, however, that America's love affair with the automobile will continue to undermine any move to increase trains and other forms of public transportation. Too bad, as are collective quality of life would likely increase with the use of more rail.

1 comment:

  1. I like trains, too, and take them when I can. I loooovvveee the quiet car on the Acela Express. But until the long distance trains improve their timeliness and quality of service, they'll never be a real competitor to cars or planes.