Train Dreams03 Jul 2008
The web is littered with half-baked train “projects” that need little more than some love, public support, and a couple billion dollars to get off the ground. Vector1 gives us a particularly fluffy example today, the solar train. But why stop there? Here’s a gallery of not-gonna-happen/didn’t-happen rail “proposals” culled in just a few minutes from the Goog:
- Baltimore/Washington Maglev, last updated, 2003!
- California Maglev Project, it floats, see, right over the rails!
- California High Speed Rail, an actual .gov! Check out the top news item, “House Bill Could Breathe Life into California High-Speed Rail”. That’s right, it “could breath life” into the project! Whee!
- Alberta High Speed Rail (2005), yep, 2005.
- Midwest High Speed Rail Association, right in President Obama’s back yard, it can’t lose (am I getting ahead of myself here?)
- Texas TGV, great alliteration, but you can’t run a train à grande vitesse in Texas, it just ain’t American! Now the Freedom Train, that I would ride!
- Florida Overland Express, another great acronym, but RIP, 1996.
Some of these attempts actually spent millions (like the Texas TGV), but they all met/are meeting the same fate. Millions won’t do it, try billions, guys. That’s what it took to build the continental railway system in the first place, in a financial bubble worthy of the dot-com era – and don’t forget, generous government subsidies via land grants.
Meanwhile, freight rail in North America is going strong, stronger than Europe, even! But before passenger rail takes off, North Americans need to be willing to park their cars. So far, the gas price surge has only generated a surge of news stories on more efficient cars, electric cars, and small cars. But very few stories about not using your car.