World Speeds Past U.S. in Rail Movement

There has been plenty of talk lately about high-speed rail. If that talk eventually turns into action and Indiana ends up in the fast lane, all we can say is it’s about time.

America takes a back seat (way back) to other countries when it comes to moving people on the rails. A few examples from around the world:

  • Japan’s Shinkansen bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka, built in 1964 and averaging 150 mph, was the first. Seven more lines have been added and 300 million passengers a year are served
  • France’s major cities are connected by the TGV line with additional links to Germany, Belgium and England. Passengers: 100 million a year; miles: currently 1,800 with 1,200 more planned
  • In Spain, more people travel between Madrid and Seville by rail than by car and air combined

Some question whether American efforts will add up, with proponents saying true high-speed requires dedicated track, no freight traffic and speeds of at least 150 mph. Midwest plans don’t meet that criteria, but at this point any realistic rail options would be better than what we have now.