Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Proposed Rail Network

There has been some talk lately about Obama's plans to create a rail network, allowing travel across America to become easier. I, for one, really like this idea. Whenever I travel its either by car or by plane so if this makes a third possible mode of transportation more accessible and worthwhile for longer distances trips, I'm all for it. Here is a map of what lines are being proposed:

The one thing I've noticed is a lot of grey area where there isn't any rail. Does this mean that the towns in those areas are out of luck and will have to stick to transportation now readily available to them? Wouldn't the best thing to do be to set up smaller scale systems that interact with the overall national grid?

Another issue of mine is how these rails would either utilize or cooperate with existing railroads, namely tracks that aren't in use anymore. I would like to see tracks that are just lying around be taken up and used for this project - for example, there are some rails here in New York that I've yet to see in 18 years have a train of any sort on them. It would be nice to see them used for something rather than remain ignored during all of this development.


  1. Here in France and neighboring countries we have a nice high-speed rail system. I can get from Paris to London in 2 hours and 20 minutes (though it takes me nearly an hour to get to the train station). It's very convenient.

    The big gaps you see in the map are because you have to start somewhere, and the best way to start is to link large population centers that are close by.

    About re-using the old tracks - forget it. I'm pretty sure high-speed trains can't run on the old tracks. I think the tracks have to be wider, at least, to give the train more stability at the higher speed. That's what happened with the Paris to London route. For a long time it was high-speed until it reached England, and then it slowed down, so it took 3 hours. Now it's 20 minutes faster, but it takes a different route and goes to a different station because the old tracks were not suitable to high speeds.

  2. Make that 40 min. faster - typing in a huge hurry.