(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)
"Forget the space race. The new arms race is over high-speed trains. China is in negotiations to build a high-speed rail network to India and Europe that would make a trip from London to Beijing last just two days".
Read more: http://www.smartplanet.com/...
The network would begin in London and extend to India, Pakistan and Beijing. It could eventually carry passengers from on to Singapore, a trip that would last three days, according to project consultant Wang Mengshu, as reported in the Telegraph (UK). A second line would extend from Beijing northward, through Russia to Germany, linking with the European railway system.Most Americans have no experience with hi-speed rail from a passengers perspective. Therefore this diary tries to give some background as to what your experience maybe on hi-speed rail.
Read more: http://www.smartplanet.com/...
(Photo on the left is the Belgium Thalys hi-speed train which offers a service from Koln, Germany to Paris, France in 3 hours.)
As an American expat living in the European Union I was recently able to travel in a German hi-speed rail train, clipping along at excess of over 300 kilometers an hour from Frankfurt to Cologne. It was a very smooth ride, much smoother than any airplane I've ever been on. It was also much quieter than any plane I've ever been on, and of course there were more bathrooms than any plane I'd ever been on. I kept my tray during my trip in the upright position, except when I was using my laptop, which I was able to plug in under my seat. Instead of being served that really tacky tasting airline food, I was able to go to the dining cart and pick out from a full menu of tasty dishes. During the ride I was able to use my cell phone as well as wireless internet, and of course there could be no luggage lost, because I was able to keep a hold of my luggage, not just a carry on. Then let me state the obvious there was no pre-flight check in, no pat downs, no scanners. When you buy your ticket, you don't even have to go to a ticket counter, you can buy it from a vending machine. If you miss your train it is never a problem, because there will be another train usually within the hour. Watching the German countryside whisk by at a speed of over 300 kilometers an hour was breathtaking, as well as beautiful. It beats looking out your window at clouds that's for sure.
Stewards came by with a cart at regular intervals filled with refreshments, for those who did not want to get up and stretch their legs and go for a bit of a walk. Oh by the way did I mention they had more toilets than any flight I've ever been on. Hmm oh yes, I guess I did. How about this, the bathrooms were larger than any airline toilet I've ever seen. The food was better than any airline food I've ever tried. I grant you there was no in flight movie, but with the breathtaking scenery going by of castles, rivers and charming countryside who has time to watch yet another cheesy Hollywood production. There were a lot of radio stations you could jack in to through your headset. I especially like the ones that play classical music. You could go with reserve seating for about 3 Euros (just under $5), or do the al La Carte thing and change seats if you felt like it. Try doing that on an airliner sitting next to someone that doesn't stop snoring!
(This is a picture of a French hi-speed rail train)
Well is there more, yes there is more. The seating was comfortable in first class as well as coach. I've traveled both. The seats reclined. They had footrests, and for any one who is traveling by air, the trains get this, stop right at the airports in multiple German cities to include Cologne, Frankfurt and Munich. Of course this scenario is repeated through the entirety of Europe in London, Paris and Rome to name but a few. Of course within the European Union there is no customs or border controls, so traveling is convenient and easy, as well as comfortable and convenient. It should also be said that main German railway stations as is the case throughout the European Union usually connect to subways and other local transportation networks directly.
German rail stations in major cities are spacious. There are a large number of restaurants, something for everyone's palate and budget ranging from Subways to McDonalds to Starbucks or original German restaurants, grocery stores, bookstores, newsstands, any shop you can find at an airport, you'll find three of those (smile) at a rail station and vicinity. For first class passengers there is always a first class lounge for waiting travelers in Germany. Unlike most of the airports, the train stations in Europe are usually centrally located, such as Kings Cross or Victoria station in London. It is convenient because believe it or not you can get from London to Paris by train quicker than you can by air now that the Channel tunnel is in operation. The train journey takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes, when we take the 1 hour time zone difference between Paris and London into account.Here is a typical timetable for schedules.
This diary is about rekindling America's lost love affair with rail travel.
Now to be clear this is an action diary and not a rail travel guide through the European Union. This action diary asks you to please share this diary with your friends on social media and write to your member of Congress today and tell them to get on board with hi-speed rail. While much has been written about America's love affair with the automobile, with rising gasoline prices and long driving times, the American traveling public has also had a long time love affair with air travel. Now with America's airports and interstate highway system in a state of perpetual gridlock, especially at peak travel times, isn't hi-speed rail quick as air travel an idea whose time has come. Or do we perpetually want to invest in operating the only antiquated railway system of this size and scope of any major industrialized nation in the world, that operates at speeds that have been in existence since the 1950's. Therefore the word hi-speed rail for Americans has become science fiction instead of science and engineering fact. This is directly attributable to the fact that America's plutocracies economic interests in the automotive and airline industry have prevented the investment of hi-speed rail which they see as an economic rival which provides a badly needed upgraded in America's critical transportation infrastructure network.
(The above picture is a hi-speed German rail ICE train which is capable of traveling at 186 mph)
"The new arms race: China planning high-speed rail network to Russia, India, Europe"
This diary is about rekindling America's lost love affair with trains.
Creating a hi-speed rail critical infrastructure would involve laying a lot of hi-speed rail track. That's one more way that hi-speed rail would create a lot of new GREEN JOBS for Americans that cannot be outsourced! This is one more reason to get on board hi-speed rail. Do you agree?
We can do better than this and that's not off the rails either. Please call your member of Congress and please tell them to get on track with hi-speed rail. It's a green technology, as quick as air on many routes, it creates GREEN JOBS that can't be outsourced , and it can serve the American traveling public as an alternative to air travel on many routes. While concurrently providing a socially leveling and generally affordable critical infrastructure for a public option in transportation which is America's future. If we ignore this reality in America then we're certain to continue on the path of a superpower in decline....
The Economist: New York high-speed rail: A bleak futureFeb 7th 2014, 20:22 by N.B. | Washington, D.C.When will America finally get on-board with hi-speed rail?
THREE DAYS after he took office in 2010, Andrew Cuomo, New York's Democratic governor, wrote a letter to Ray LaHood, who was at the time Barack Obama's secretary of transportation. In it, Mr Cuomo asked that New York be given the federal high-speed rail money that other, Republican-led states had rejected. "High speed rail is critical to building the foundation for future economic growth, especially Upstate," Mr Cuomo wrote.
"In the end, New York was allocated around $300m to help reduce delays in and out of Penn Station,... but nothing to further its high-speed rail ambitions. And since then, Mr Cuomo's campaign promise to make such trains a priority has been largely FORGOTTEN".
If the world can use high-speed trains so can we.
This is about rekindling America's lost love affair with trains.
The truth is that the physics contrary to what some may believe, and economics of high speed rail work profitably and economically everywhere else in the world, where concurrently they have thriving aviation and automotive industries. The idea that this could never happen in the US is to blaspheme the physics that allow it to work just fine everywhere else in the world.
This can be done most efficaciously in the good ole US of A only because people have been brainwashed into believing a campaign of misinformation, lies and deception, because Americans have little or no personal experience with true hi-speed rail. And are tricked into believing that hi-speed rail isn't an economically viable choice. In fact it is, and the building of a hi-speed rail network would introduce a large number of good paying jobs that are green jobs that cannot be outsourced abroad. This would have the effect of stimulating the tax base as well as the economy.
The best US rail network is purported to be from Washington DC to Boston in the Acela, where a pretty train for the most part has to run on an antiquated rail network. As a matter of fact Noam Chomsky took that train and told me that he could see along the highway that the train was being overtaken by cars, whereas in Europe true hi-speed rail trains move in excess of 200 mph or faster. That is what America needs commitment to a true hi-speed rail network that is national, and not just in the Washington DC to Boston corridor. But to get there we are going to need your help.
ARE SOCIETIES IN LIFE AND ART SOCIALLY ENGINEERED?
What does it say about our society when even art can't imitate real life in America. By way of a comment in levity, I point out that even in the Hunger Games film they had nationwide hi-speed rail system in their fictionalized view of a future dystopian America, but in the real America there is no nationwide hi-speed rail system for art to imitate. Now how strange is that.
This is about rekindling America's lost love affair with rail travel.
The fact is that hi-speed rail is just an idea whose time has come in socially re-engineering America to benefit working class people. So please consider calling or writing to your member of Congress today and tell them to get on board with America's future in hi-speed rail, (to that end please share this diary in social media) . But this diary is about something else as well. It's about rekindling America's lost love affair with trains and reconnecting with the good old grid iron, that from sea to shining sea built a nation called America, which could be discovered a whistle stop away one community at a time. It is this type of no-nonsense practical American value that we understand, this is an idea and a positive American vision that's worth sharing, because rail travel is the idea that made America great. It did so then it can do so today. All we have to do is to care enough to get involved and make it happen and we can do it for ourselves, our communities and for America's future! (Warm smile) Yes it really is true....if we build it they will come. (End of diary).
As a special treat for trail buffs here is a short 1min. video of a almost 100 year old German steam locomotive. Of course German trains are much faster. (Enjoy the short video) :-)
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