Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

The train in Spain

Here is the latest from Travel Daily News on Spanish improvements.

High speed rail links Madrid with Barcelona, Segovia & Malaga Faster
Thursday, January 03, 2008
It’s now easier to travel around Spain. Just in time for the New Year three Alta Velocidad Española, AVE, or high-speed trains are now traveling even faster from Madrid to the north and to the south.On December 21 travel time from Madrid to Barcelona on the AVE train shrunk from the previous four-hour trip to only three hours. And once the final section of the high-speed track is completed between Camp de Tarragona and Barcelona, the train will travel at 186 miles per hour (mph). When the latest version of the European Train Control System (ETCS) is in place, the AVE trains will operate at 199 mph and eventually reach speeds of 219 mph, reducing the trip to only two hours and 30 minutes.The Madrid-Segovia trip time has now been reduced from two hours to only 30 minutes, and the Madrid-Valladolid trip from two and a half hours to 55 minutes thanks to the 17 miles of high-speed track that has been built through tunnels – one the fourth longest in Europe – under the Sierra de Guadarrama.

Two days before Christmas, the last section of the Córdoba-Málaga AVE line opened and the current four-hour trip from Madrid to Málaga in the southern region of Andalusia dropped to two and a half hours.

The Spanish government plans to have 4350 miles (7000 kilometers) of high-speed track operational by 2010 with all the provincial capitals only four hours from Madrid and six and a half hours from Barcelona.

Filed under: International High Speed Rail

Another item from Europe

High speed network “improving all the time”

Europe’s high speed rail network is continuing to develop, with a number of countries planning to improve their infrastructure, according to one expert.

A spokesperson for Rail Europe states a new line between Brussels and Amsterdam will allow travellers to move between London and Amsterdam in around four hours, which is 2.5 hours less than current travel times.

The Rail Europe representative also highlighted future developments between France and Spain.

“There’s also going to be a high speed line running from Paris all the way down to Madrid and Barcelona… That will make it really feasible to do [the journey] in a day,” she said.

However, the spokesperson also acknowledged that current services also offer a good standard.

She argues that journey times between Paris and Strasburg, as well as other destinations such has Zurich and Reims have been cut by half thanks to the “fantastic” French network.

Rail Europe represents French rail carrier Societe Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais in the UK.

This article was brought to you by, the UK’s No.1 holiday home website.

Filed under: International High Speed Rail

Brain food

Here is a bit of news analysis which I have highlighted from Crosscut Seattle . This is an intellectual analysis of the political realities against which sensible transportation is struggling. It is only slightly “off topic,” because many of the transit issues are the same problems of inter-city transportation.

Margaret Pugh O’Mara is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Washington and a research scholar at Stanford. Her research focus is urban history and the globalization of the high-tech industry.

Here are the opening two paragraphs, and this is a link to the full report.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

No American maglev?

The Patriot-News from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania found itself musing over international business developments, and the non-development of high tech transportation options in the United States?

Now, who would be against the American people having transportation choices? (We think you already know.)

Here is part of the opinion piece.

The U.S. government had planned to sponsor a maglev demonstration project, in which Pittsburgh remains a strong contender, but for reasons that are obscure, the funds to build the project were never appropriated, setting back American aspirations in this field more than a decade.

Meanwhile, maglev is gaining increasing attention around the world. Munich, Germany, recently announced that it will build a maglev system from the city center to the airport. More ambitious projects are being discussed from Britain to the Persian Gulf. There is interest in the U.S., as well, but not apparently in the place where it counts the most, Washington.

Meanwhile, conventional high-speed technology not only is improving but is being deployed in ever-increasing miles, particularly in Europe and China, which have major rail expansion initiatives under way.

Already well behind the curve in terms of making the most of rail service, the U.S. threatens to fall well behind the Japanese, Europeans and Chinese in developing tomorrow’s ground transportation systems. This is going to be a huge business as rising fuel prices make air and automobile travel increasingly expensive, and as the world begins to get serious about reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

It is a business the U.S. is going to miss out on, unless it soon begins to make the investments in research, development and application of modern rail and maglev technology.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, United States High Speed Rail

Chinese maglev developments

This update has a lot of new material, including a cool section on how maglev works. Here is a small segment.

China maglev budget ‘may double’

Maglev train in Shanghai

Shanghai’s maglev train started commercial service in 2003

The cost of extending Shanghai’s magnetic levitation – or maglev – railway may more than double, says a report in the China Daily newspaper. The state-run publication said the price could increase to 500m yuan ($69m; £35m) per kilometre of the 31.8km extension, up from 200m yuan.

It puts the increase down to a revised route to avoid densely populated areas.

Maglev trains use electric-powered magnets to float above their tracks, allowing for super-fast speeds.

The newspaper report said the cost increase had also been caused by plans to increase the buffer zone around the track, to take into account residents’ concerns about exposure to electromagnetic radiation and noise.

Floating train

Shanghai currently has the world’s only commercial maglev service, where the floating train has whisked travellers between the city’s main airport and the financial district since 2003.

The planned extension will connect with the city’s second airport.

Filed under: International High Speed Rail

Georgia legislative priorities

Water, taxes and health care are reportedly the top agenda items, but transportation issues also will come before lawmakers. The Catoosa County News is keeping track of the story.

The continuing urban sprawl between Chattanooga and Atlanta has lawmakers continuing to look at ways to im-prove transportation. Mullis said a complete transportation proposal would be unveiled later this month.

Government officials for years have studied the feasibility of building a high-speed rail connecting Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport with Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Mullis said he still believes in the idea, although he doesn’t know when it would come to fruition.

“This is a logical relief of that congestion by connecting those two airports with high speed ground transporta-tion,” he said.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

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January 2008