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…
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?
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.
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?
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.”