BART, Bay Area Rapid Transit, turns 40 today! While rail has more or less stood still in North America, High Speed Rail has been progressing rapidly in Asia (Japan, China, South Korea, and Taiwan) and Europe (Germany, Italy, and Spain). In fact, some high speed rail lines reach 300 km/h (185 mph). Considering a 767 cruises at 858 km/h, that’s quite impressive. In comparison, the top speed of BART is 129 km (80 mph), it’s definitely time for an update.
But things aren’t looking good, as per this recent post on SI which notes that despite the fact that the US has a 100 year lead on China on the rails, it will be at least 15 more years before the US has a decent high-speed rail line. And that’s only if the California High-Speed Rail Authority starts to build their high-speed rail line between Anaheim and San Francisco, which appears to be perpetually stalled as they continue their efforts to save a dime while losing the dollar. Otherwise, we’re looking at 25 years before Amtrak builds its high-speed rail line between New York and Washington.
California, please take the lead because we’re not going to get high-speed rail for cargo until someone builds a high-speed rail line for people.