OP-ED: Make "High-Speed" Rail Speedier

Train writer Christian Wolmar argues that the best application for high speed rail funds would be to upgrade the Washington D.C. to Boston, 150 mph Acela line to true, high speed rail status and used as a showcase for American rail technology.
March 9, 2010, 7am PST | Irvin Dawid
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While America's speediest train is capable of 150 mph, track restrictions keep it to an average of 71 mph. The big winners in the recent stimulus awards for HSR, however, in FL and CA, call for building new lines.

"The 450-mile trip from Boston to Washington takes almost seven hours and averages just 71 miles per hour, hardly faster than by car and uncompetitive with air, while the 225-mile journey from New York to Washington takes two hours and 45 minutes, longer than Penn Central's Metroliner often took in the 1960s.

Contrast that with the nearly 500 miles covered by Paris-Marseille trains in just three hours, an average of over 160 miles per hour.

America needs to be lured back to the railways that once dominated its transportation system. If we can show what can be done in one corridor, we can inspire the development of better train service in other parts of the country."

"Christian Wolmar is the author of "Blood, Iron and Gold: How the Railroads Transformed the World."

Thanks to Mark Boshnack

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Published on Sunday, March 7, 2010 in The New York Times - Opinion
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