High-Speed Rail News #21: What Can Spain Teach California About High-Speed Rail?

AVE Train
High Speed AVE train crossing a viaduct in Spain's countryside © RENFE J. Alonso

When the POTUS touts a country as the model for American high-speed rail, you know there’s something special happening on the tracks. Our nation’s Transportation Secretary has called out Spain’s network of fast trains as “expert”. What is Spain doing right? Fight out in our latest issue of high-speed rail news.

  • Nearly 17 Million Passengers Can’t Be Wrong: That’s the total number of travelers on board Spain’s high-speed AVE trains in 2010. The country says that since 1992, the train has truly changed the travel landscape, with more Spaniards and tourists taking to the tracks than cars and planes. It’s no wonder Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood cited Spain as the ideal example for California’s vision of high-speed rail. What else can be learned from Espana’s system – both positive and negative?
  • Sublime New Station in Galicia: London-based Foster + Partners has been commissioned to design a dreamy new transportation hub in Galicia, Spain. The renderings attempt to redefine the reach of public transportation in the city. With arching lightweight roofs and transparent facades, the design will frame views to the mountains. Where will this beautiful train station take travelers?
  • China Speeds Past the Competition: A train made of plastic materials and carbon fiber set a new record of 311 mph. If put into use, this will be the fastest conventional-wheeled train – exceeded only by the Japanese MAGLEV. The exterior is just as impressive, designed to look like an ancient Chinese sword. China is now the largest high-speed rail network in the world thanks to government funding. What are the country’s long term rail goals?
  • France and Italy Speeding Toward Each Other: The gastronomic capital of France and home of Fiat will soon be closer than ever. Both France and Italy have signed an agreement to build a high-speed rail link between Lyon and Turn – the largest such project in Europe. This new connection would cut travel time from four hours to just two. The line would also link Paris to Turin in just four hours, compared to seven at present. Who will pay and when will the work begin?




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