High-Speed Rail News: Seeing Russia from Alaska?

Saint Pancras Station
Saint Pancras Station in London, named one of the wold's most romantic spots by Lonely Planet.

What do Sarah Palin and the Russian government have in common? Both have their eyes set on each other. Who else is staring? Lovers in St. Pancras. Intrigued? Read more in this edition of Fast Track, which also discusses delays in European rail funding and surprise! $20 million to improve American rail lines.

Pryvet, Neighbor: It seems a certain political figure wasn’t so far off when she said Russia could be seen from Alaska. The Russian government agrees – and has set its sights on building a 65 billion dollar rail and tunnel to bridge the Bering Strait. This idea actually isn’t new – Tsar Nicholas II ignited this infrastructural dream back in 1905. Over 100 years later, let’s see how long it takes to start. Da! She was right…

Insert “Train Pulling into Station” Joke Here: Lonely Planet has just named St. Pancras station in London one of the world’s most romantic spots. Placed alongside sights such as Juliet’s House and the Taj Mahal, the Victorian brick building was saved from demolition back in the 60s, and has been overhauled to the tune of £800 million. Lovers can take the Eurostar to Paris, arguably the world’s most romantic city, and be there in just over two hours. See the best place to plant one…

Expect Delays: Europe is clearly ahead of the pack when it comes to high-speed train travel. Rail has the potential to move millions of people at ridiculously fast speeds and with a fraction of the environmental footprint that a car leaves. So why is it that plans to expand are stalling faster than a tourist driving a stick shift through Tuscany? As usual, one of the culprits is capital. But surprisingly, that’s not the only reason.

We the People – Want Rail: Nearly $20 million dollars has been “found” to help replace, relocated and improve segments of railroad track in eight cities across America. But the Federal Railroad Administration actually received over 50 applications from all over the country for a piece of the Rail Line Relocation and Improvement grant – seeking more than $200 million. Why the strong demand?

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