April 6th, 2007 | Published in general
Two train stories from opposite ends of the last century:
On June 30 1899, Charles “Mile-a-Minute” Murphy set a new speed record for bicycles, riding 57 MPH, motor-paced behind a train. The record was the result of a boast, 13 years earlier, that there wasn’t a locomotive built that could out run him on his bike with him drafting behind. Well, he did it, and he might have gone over a mile a minute if the train could only have gone faster.
Fast forward to April 3 2007, and a French TGV train set the rail speed record at 357.2 mph. Now this is progress! Quick trip from Mpls to NYC? 4 hours.
China is the intended market for these super-fast trains, and I hope they do a good job of it. A large scale project like that with a clean start could be very efficient, a valuable infrastructure investment in a rapidly growing economy. And frankly China + the rest of the world will be totally screwed, pollution-wise, if they go the same automobile route that America has taken. They can be the example for us to follow.
What are the odds that someone with both the will and the money make high speed rail travel work around here? How fed up with the airlines will people have to get before trains make a real comeback? It would definitely be more fun to travel if it were feasible to take a fast train and a bicycle for long weekend trips somewhere. It would also be a lot more fun to take a 1-day train ride from STP to say, PDX than to fly or drive that far.