Thursday, May 14, 2015

Amtrak Vs Europe and Asia's SUPER TRAINS

The unfortunate wreck of the AMTRAK train brings up something that Americans should discuss - the dismal state of our technology versus the world in transportation.  America now ranks as the 12th WORST country in the world in INFRASTRUCTURE.

If the world is the Kentucky Derby, America's horse is coming in last. 

If you don't believe me then look at this photo comparing our technology with the world.

The AMTRAK train derailed at 100 miles per hour. 

When I rode Amtrak once from Houston to New Orleans we rarely got to 60 miles per hour. It was so slow I could stand by an open door and take photographs of the passing country. The journey took 8 hours - two hours LONGER than you can drive it. 

At one point we stopped in the middle of no where - a car had run out of diesel and passengers were moved to other car. When we slowed to go over a bridge next to New Orleans, the cars rocked back and forth so much I was terrified that we would fall into the water below. That was in the late 70's.

Not much has changed to train service outside the Washington-NY Amtrak corridor. (Even at that, trains are 17 times safer than cars).  When I went to Europe on business, their rail was way ahead of ours.  European trains routinely travel high speed up to 200 miles per hour!   And that is steel-on-steel. The Chinese have trains that use magnets instead of steel to reach staggering speeds without worry of derailment.

The Chinese MagLev doesn't even touch steel rails as it hovers on magnets--hits 265 miles per hour!  Japan has tested a new MagLev system that has hit speeds of 300 miles per hour!  Poor Amtrak isn't even in the horse race.
                                                                        Chinese Bullet Trains...just some of them

                                                   Chinese MagLev - 265 mph! Hovering magnets  7 minute Video of it in action
                                                        Michael Fjetland, next to Shanghai, China MagLev 2012

Yeah, yeah, trains don't make money. Neither do roads or airports, but we have them anyway.  Right? Unless we get cheap flying cars we will need that high speed rail. Elon Musk of Space X fame is considering a thing called the "Hyper Loop" - an underground high speed rail.

Frankly, the LOOK of our trains is embarrassing - they remind me of trains I saw in China way back in 1982! Is that American leadership? Check out what it looks like inside a MAGLEV at 265 miles per hour (video by author).


Stay tuned here for updates.  Pass it on!


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  2. Well, you have to consider how things have turned into what they are...
    You, as an American, live in a huge country which, compared to Europe, is somehow pretty car-friendly and offers a lot of national air routes. Large portions of your country have a very low population density, so the railway network never got a dense coverage. Building such an infrastructure now from scratch would be outrageosly expensive, and without a massive amount of people willing to use it, it would never be profitable.


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