The Minneapolis Star -Tribune runs an excellent item on the distinction between faster American trains and European HSR. It raises some excellent points and I must admit some areas of conflict as to whether some of us are demanding enough.
“There are people that have expressed a concern that we’re not making that big leap into what more people would call true high-speed rail,” said Mike Schadauer, director of transit at the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Officials in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois need to be more aggressive, said Rich Harnish, executive director of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association in Chicago. “We had trains running at faster than 100 miles per hour … in the 1930s,” he said.
To operate faster conventional trains, say between Minneapolis and Chicago for example, is not necessarily a waste of money. People often forget that Acela is the leading “airline” between Washington and Boston.
We can afford conventional improvements on existing tracks. It is a beginning on a longer term plan. This time last year, nobody would have considered it possible to even have this discussion.