High-Speed Rail News Roundup #31: September 17, 2012

This week we bring you High-Speed Rail ideas that are stemming from private firms and regular folks, not the government. Beltway to Great White Way in just an hour? That’s the idea of a small Washington company. Private firms in both Houston and Dallas are also masterminding a fast track plan. In much smaller (city) news, two towns in Illinois are hoping to get a high-speed train, if you count 110mph as “high-speed.” And a man in California wants to bury the tracks. Let’s dig these stories up…

Washington DC to New York City in 1 hour


A small privately owned Washington company is lobbying to develop a high-speed rail system that would take passengers from DC to Baltimore in 15 minutes and to New York in a just hour. The Northeast Maglev, is working with Central Japan Railway Co. — which operates the Shinkansen bullet train in Japan to develop a maglev network that would eventually expand to Boston. Trains that use magnetic levitation typically travel faster than traditional rail, so who’s trying to stop progress?

Private Firm Planning Bullet Trains in Texas by 2020

In just nine short years, Texans should be moving at 205mph between Dallas and Houston. That’s the part that has confounded officials and state planners and private interests. Why? They plan to do it without any private funding. The project is designed to be a profitable high-speed rail system that will serve not only the two cities, but also all of Texas. The group is being led by the Central Japan Railway Company, which handles more than 100 million passengers in the Land of the Rising Sun. This idea is gaining enthusiasm, but there are, as usual, skeptics too.

Illinois Towns Get a Taste of the Fast Life

The 14 miles between the village of Dwight and the city of Pontiac are about to get a little closer a lot quicker. Currently, the top speed for the route is 80mph, but by the end of the month, thanks to new improvements, the Amtrak train will go 110mph. But does that really qualify as HSR?

An Alternative Idea from the Underground

Ben Toy, President of the San Mateo United Homeowners Association, has an innovative – if not highly unlikely – solution to the high speed rail debate. He, along with Dan Ionescu, a Peninsula-based architect, are proposing a system of putting Caltrain and the High-Speed Rail line underground, leaving the land around the existing tracks to be converted into a green-belt. According to the architect, “Politicians have two choices.”

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  • http://twitter.com/Snowman55403 Ralf W

    U.S. train service is so pitifully slow that to us, 110 mph is “high speed.” Sad.

  • cinchagirl

    Train travel in the US, when the tracks are not owned by Amtrak, will always be sooooo slow because passenger trains have to give way to freight trains. My train stopped in the middle of the woods for over an hour with no announcement or explanation. Anyone who has ever travelled on trains in Europe or Japan knows how efficient they are, even the regular trains. They actually arrive and leave at the posted times. Forward thinking countries will and have embraced train travel, but since the US is still stuck in the ‘automobile is king’ time warp, trains will never get the attention they deserve. Geez Louise, I live in Seattle, and they only recently finished the first light rail line from Seattle to SEATAC, and local government is still fighting over it. What they didn’t fight over was collecting taxes to pay for it for 10 plus years, and then trying to kill the project.

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