The previous edition of our High-Speed Rail News roundup focused on the excitement of California’s resurrected rail plans. But as usual, the rest of the world keeps chugging along, creating new high-speed city links and revving up trains that are in disrepair. And then there are the visionaries, inventors looking beyond the bullet train. Let’s get to this issue faster than ever before.
The high-speed rail linking Beijing and Shenzhen in Guangdong province is expected to enter service by the end of this year. By then, the 1700-mile journey will take only eight hours rather than the current 24 to 29 hours by train. The line will start at Shenzhen, end at Beijing and make stops at Guangzhou, Changsha, Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Shijiazhuang. But will the locals be able to afford the high-speed journey?
The Swiss Federal Railways has placed an order for eight more New Pendolino tilting trains, Alstom announced on August 2. They are scheduled to be delivered in 2015, replacing ETR470 trainsets on international services from Genève and Zürich to Milano. The seven-car trains will have a maximum operating speed of 250 km/h and 8° tilt and hold a whopping 430 passengers. And the amenities – internal and external – are a major improvement.
Russia will build high-speed rail lines in time for soccer’s big event in six years. According to Gorky Railway, a subsidiary of the RZD, the rail lines will connect the central Russian cities of Kazan and Nizhny Novgorod, which are contesting to host the World Cup. Local experts are confident that trains will be the main transport means for the millions of spectators from around the world. Which cities are hoping to “net” a match?
The Eurostar, TGV, Maglev, all fast. But forget that for a minute. Tesla cofounder Elon Musk recently discussed the idea of building a tunnel that would whisk passengers from L.A. to San Francisco in minutes. His “Hyperloop” would be three-to-four times as fast as a bullet train. And he’s not the only one. Inventors are concocting all sorts of zany ideas for getting around at near beam-me-up speeds.