Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

This is what it takes

Although some newspaper editorial writers in Sacramento are having trouble gazing into the future, it might be better to look at the here-and-now. Scroll down for the editorial in the Sacramento Bee.

Part of the negative argument is that, in other countries which enjoy HSR, they already have a developed passenger train system. Of course, it is difficult to find a first world economy with a rail transport system so completely backward as the USA.

Eurostar is about to begin regular service between Paris and London. What did it take. The report in The Guardian is a detailed and fun read that lays out the many engineering marvels that made this link possible. Here are the bare facts.

Broken down into its bare facts, which are to be released this week, the £5.8bn project is constructed of big numbers: over 11 years engineers worked for more than 100 million hours, removing 530 million cubic feet of earth out of 37 miles of tunnels through east London and Kent. They laid 310 miles of rail, five million sleepers and 185 miles of communications cables; 1.2 million trees and 19 miles of hedgerow were planted. They even built 19 miles of road just to get to the railway.

The result is that, compared with four years ago, the fastest journey times to Paris will be cut from 2 hours 55 minutes to 2 hours 15 minutes, and to Brussels from 2 hours 40 minutes to 1 hour 51 minutes.

With just over a month to go, railway author Christian Wolmar calls it ‘a project with national pride’. Here we reveal the feats of engineering that made it possible.

Filed under: International High Speed Rail

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September 2007


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