China Sets New Passenger Rail Speed Record While American High Speed Rail Languishes

English: Southbound Acela Express crossing the...

Image via Wikipedia

In America 75 mph passes for high speed rail. That’s the average speed for the Acela, the only high speed rail line in the United States.  The Acela does have a maximum speed of 150 mp, but is rarely able to approach it on the creaky, old tracks of the Northeast corridor.  Despite much ado about High Speed Rail in the 2009 ARRA stimulus bill, it still remains to be seen whether any true high speed rail line will be operational in the next decade.

Meanwhile, China continues to push the limits of railroad engineering.  Despite a recent fatal high speed rail crash, CSR, a state-owned railroad manufacturer, pushed ahead with the unveiling of a new prototype capable of a record 310 mph. Such a train could travel from New York to Boston or Washington in less than an hour, dramatically changing the nature of life in the Northeast.  It’s time for an audacious vision to connect our cities with true high speed rail by the end of this decade.