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RE: China unveils world's fastest bullet train: 262 mph
For any such project you have to look at the cost-benefit, and when you do so for high speed rail it is obvious that it was done largely for image promotion because you cannot charge enough per ticket to begin to cover all the construction and operating costs. China may be able to justify it because of bragging rights, very low land and labor costs, along with many non-car owners who rely on public transport. But still, such trains carry a relatively small number of people maybe a few times a day for a high fare, subsidized by higher taxes which all pay. For such a system to work in the US the costs of the land, the cost to secure the entire rail line from terrorism, and the frequent stops required as they travel through numerous East Coast suburban enclaves negate most of the benefit. And don't believe for a second that there won't also be TSA security screenings for high-speed rail passengers here as well. A high speed train is particularly sensitive to any system or track failure, so preventing any criminal activity against it is necessary - along the entire route. Finally - when you consider alternate high speed transportation already available - i.e. air travel - where the entire infrastructure is already working and in place, for distances more than a few hundred miles is much faster, and already cheaper. Especially in the West, where there are long distances between most urban centers, exisiting air travel already offers security, speed and economy. High speed rail just cannot compete.
Posted by HappiHenri
29th Oct 2010