Global passenger rail traffic is up 3.5%. Trains are quicker, more efficient and better for the environment that planes and cars. Budgets have been approved to bring high-speed rail to the States – but where’s the action? Some think that the plan is just another big government boondoggle and will never come to fruition. All the while, the Germans are coming up with new and inventive ways to run their speedy Deutsche Bahn bullets solely on wind power. Read all about it in this issue of Fast Track.
The World Has Been Trained: According to the International Union of Railways (IUC), 2010 proved a great year for rail riding. Passenger traffic increased by 3.5% – thanks to a boost from the development of tracks in India and China. Even Africa had an increase of .2 percent. The U.S. and Canada increased 4% in growth too – but in transport of freight, not people. Hmm, what’s going on here? Read who else is on board.
Back in the High (Speed) Lie Again: In 2008, voters approved a $10 billion bond to begin construction of a bullet train from LaLa Land to San Fran, shortening the trip to less than three hours. A former Amtrak spokesman said the project was “science fiction” and that the trip couldn’t conceivably happen – the mileage too long, then train too slow. So how to explain the TGV journey from Paris to Avignon that takes less than three hours and comes in at a distance of just two miles less than these California cities? See what one opinionated writer really thinks.
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems: Earlier this month, Department of Transportatin Secretary Ray LaHood announced his office is dispersing an additional $336.2 million in funds toward the massive U.S. high-speed rail public works project. To ensure that the money stays in the U.S. and directly produces jobs, The project has been met with mostly enthusiasm, but some states simply feel this is the wrong time to spend a significant amount of chump change on choo choo’s. Who’s opposed to taking train money?
German’s Singing Christopher Cross: Run, run like the wind, to be free again. Oh, sorry – got stuck in 80’s soft rock for a second. Who’s not stuck in the past? Deutsche Bahn. They’re making investments in renewable energy, like wind, hydro and solar power – because that’s what the customers want. It’s no longer enough to travel at high speeds. The country wants their rail system to be the most efficient and environmental conscious in the world, and plans to be wholly carbon-free by 2050. How they’ll make it happen.