I think that Americans use the term "high speed rail" with a different meaning
to the one in Europe, where the type of speeds the Americans are aiming at are
For example Eric's latest posting about high speed mentions an upgrade to
110mph between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Of the projects eligible for high
speed funding the one that most interested me was the sadly now abandoned 3Cs
line between Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati which likewise was limited to
110mph according to my recollection. (This route interested me I've been to
conferences in Columbus several times and wished I could get there by train !).
Of course the US also has genuine high speed projects such as Los Angeles-San
Francisco, but the goal of 110mph has been achieved on many conventional
railways in the UK and other European countries.
However the question arises: in what sectors does the US need to invest in order
to make its transport system reasonably sustainable ? In the UK I think the most
urgent need is to build on existing local transport facilities outside the main
urban areas. But in the US this can't easily be done because there's very little
to build on. By contrast I suspect that a high speed route between San Francisco
and Los Angeles would make a significant contribution towards sustainability.
Any Americans on this list who think that the above views are those of an
ignorant foreigner ?