The number of countries running high-speed rail is expected to double over the next few years, according to new research by the Worldwatch Institute. By 2014, high-speed trains will be operating in nearly 24 countries, including China, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the United States, up from only 14 countries today. The increase in HSR is due largely to its reliability and ability to cover vast geographic distances in a short time….
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China’s Ministry of Railways spent $88 billion on HSR projects in 2009 – part of an existing $300 billion plan to expand and connect all of the country’s major cities with a projected 10,000 miles of HSR lines by 2020. Clean Edge included high-speed rail for the first time in its annual Clean Energy Trends report which tracks key developments in clean-energy markets.
As London readies for record numbers for the 2012 Olympic Games, Heathrow airport is installing a personal rapid transit in the form of six seat cars that take you from terminal to parking garage on dedicated pathways. By 2015, San Jose plans to have a more extensive PRT system that connects major hubs within two miles of the airport including connections to VTA bus rapid transit, Caltrain rail to Silicon Valley and San Francisco, major hotels, major employers, and the Kiss N Ride lot. By the end of the decade, connections will be added to BART and the new 800 mile California High-Speed Rail system.
A central transportation hub in California is the Diridon Station in San Jose. In ten years, the Diridon Station is likely to see high volumes of travelers as high-speed rail shuttles people to and from San Francisco in 30 minutes. Intermodal transportation is likely to include light-rail, bus rapid transit, zero-emission buses, people-movers, and electric vehicles.
It is common to see trains with four locomotives moving over 100 cars and 15 million pounds of weight. 15 million pounds moving downhill could be converted to clean renewable energy instead of heat lost in braking.
California is moving ahead with an 800-mile high-speed train system serving Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, the Central Valley, the Inland Empire, Orange County and San Diego. High-speed trains will be capable of maximum speeds of 220 miles per hour, covering San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2 hours and 40 minutes. The system is forecast to carry over 100 million passengers per year by 2030.
Fiona Ma was nervous about getting on a train that was about to set a world speed record. Just before Easter 2007 in the countryside outside Paris, she saw the people lining the green and flowered route. The French were flying flags, waving, and cheering. Less reassuring were those of faith who crossed themselves as the new train accelerated past 200 miles per hour. The people blurred into a collage of spring time colors. The train vibrated much as when a jet plane roars down the runway and starts to ascend. Fiona hoped that this train would not leave the tracks.