Letter: HSR too hard in widespread US; we must improve air travel
- Published Tuesday, August 4, 2009, by the Peninsula Daily News
Letters to the Editor
This land is not for high-speed rail
Having just returned from taking Amtrak's California Zephyr from Emeryville to Denver it seems clear that the practical future for transportation in America does not involve high-speed rail. Why?
The overall condition of the rails and beds are excellent but passenger trains still move at the bequest of freight, frequently being delayed for hours, sometimes even days.
Train speed is limited to 79 mph under the best of circumstances. Until all crosstrack traffic is eliminated (using overpasses or underpasses for automobiles) the speed cannot be raised. The cost of changing/rebuilding the track system is prohibitive.
America is a widespread nation, making public transportation difficult. Air travel is the best way, as aviation "tracks" consist of any straight line between cities, unlike rail.
Working to maximize passenger load factors and improving fuel consumption for air travel will continue to represent America's transportation future.