From Mouse to Miami? Families in south Florida may soon be able to drown the cries of, “Are we there yet?” if a proposed train linking Miami to Orlando ever comes to fruition. Meanwhile, California reduces their high-speed budgets and tinkers with upgrading old tracks, and Las Vegas bets on a fast track to California – although some are concerned the plan is a real crapshoot. Is there high-speed news in Europe this week? That’s a sure bet. Let’s roll the dice on this week’s rail news round up!
- The Happiest Train Ride on Earth? A private company is planning a $1 billion passenger train project linking Miami and Orlando. Dubbed “All Aboard Florida,” developers envision expanding the link all the way to Jacksonville. The trip between the two cities is expected to take about three hours, which cuts an hour off of driving time. This may not seem like a lot, but with kids in the car, it’s significant. Plus, the project would bring roughly 6,000 jobs to an area that needs an economic boost. And there are other benefits too.
- California High-Speed Rail Scales Back and Speeds Up: With a budget now $30 million less than before and a swifter construction schedule, supporters are hoping to get the tracks rolling on an ambitious high-speed rail project. With voter-approved bonds and start up funds from the federal government, the plan still hinges on receiving billions more from a skeptical congress. There are additional plans to save money too – like upgrading old tracks. Read up this Huffington Post articles for the details.
- No Such Luck for a Bullet Train in Las Vegas? Desert Xpress, a privately held company linked to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, wants to build a bullet train that would rocket tourists from the middle of nowhere to the gambling mecca of Las Vegas. The project is on the verge of landing a $4.9 billion loan from the Obama administration to build the 150 mph train, which could be a lifeline for a region that bet all its chips and lost in the housing market. Of course, there are skeptics – and some real concerns.
- The Fastest Pony Express Ever: Since 1994, the Chunnel has only carried passengers – and never during the middle of the night. Now airlines see an opportunity to move not travelers – but cargo during the wee hours. With millions of next day deliveries thanks to the Internet, cargo planes can’t keep up with the mass consumerism. Each train can carry 120 metric tons of parcels, equal to seven Boeing 737s. And we’re pretty sure boxes don’t need a meal at their seats either. So, which airlines want in?