Red Hot Rail: Let’s play word association. We’ll go first. “Ferrari.” What’s that you say? Red. Fast. Stylish. Sexy. All of the above is coming to a train track near you – that is, if traveling in Italy. Also this week, Morocco tries to justify the need for speed in a country that ranks among the poorest, Greece tries to unload some more debt (this time in the way of High-Speed Rail) and Florida keeps its high-speed hopes alive. Let’s get going!
- Art in Motion – Ferrari on Rails Gets on Track: Italy’s burgundy red Ferrari on rails is finally going into service. Starting on April 28, the “Italo” will travel at speeds of up to 300 kph between Milan, Rome and Naples. (Want to ride? Rail Europe will be selling these seats come mid-May.) The new high-speed train is more environmentally friendly and also cheaper than its competitors — on both the rails and roads. The quiet and smooth ride is just what you would expect from Ferrari – and a train with no locomotive. There are plenty of other high-tech and high-style features on board too.
- Frankly My Dear, Does Casablanca Need High Speed? The Moroccan government’s ambition to build high-speed rail between its major cities may be running into trouble. In a country so poor, politicians are questioning whether to invest in technologies to benefit future generations, or stick to basics necessities like hospitals and schools. With help from the French, Alstom, the same engineering group responsible for the TGV in France, would build and operate this $4 billion project likely to draw six million customers. In truth, the critics do have valid points.
- Here Comes the SunRail: With locomotives on order and tons of new track delivered, SunRail is now trying to figure who might ride the $1.2 billion commuter train. Once they come up with an answer, SunRail contractors are going to do everything they can to talk potential passengers out of their cars and onto the train when it starts rolling sometime in 2014. According to project sources, there are three types of people who will be attracted to SunRail. Who are they?
- And More Problems for Greece: European railway companies are interested in buying all or part of Greece’s railway business, as the debt-laden country sells assets to satisfy its lenders. Russia is considering buying the entire Greek railway network and its operator Trainose, while Romania’s largest private railway company, Grup Feroviar Roman (GFR), has expressed interest in the cargo business. Who is likely to get the business?