China may hold the record for housing the world’s fastest high-speed railway, but Florida is making headlines for launching its first. The private rail service will run from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale.
“It’s the first time that it’s happening, being built by a private company,” [says John Renne of the Urban Solutions committee). “And that’s kind of a game changer for this type of model.”
Along with carbon emissions, the $3 million train project will cut 3 million cars from traffic-laden roads. All Abroad Florida hopes to target the state’s densest area of nearly 6 million people.
“The federal highway system expanded … and everyone got off trains and into cars,” [says] John Guitar of All Aboard Florida… “And we’ve done a full circle now that the traffic and congestion and gas prices are so bad, people are looking for alternatives to get out of their cars and find other ways to get around the state.”
For what’ll likely be just $16, passengers can zip from West Palm to Miami in merely an hour. Road trips may be fun, but if I can shave 4 hours off a drive, why not?
Trains are getting much-needed makeovers and it’s about time we all hop on board. In July, India launched the world’s first solar-powered train, running for up to 27 hours on a single charge. Not to be outdone, China unveiled Fuxing, the world’s swiftest high-speed railway traveling at speeds of 350 km per hour.
“The purpose of raising the speed is mainly symbolic,” [said] Zhao Jian, economics professor and commentator. “The train is the fastest in the world, which implies the strength of Chinese train technology and science,”
So it may be an ego thing, but if passengers can get from Beijing to Shanghai in 30 minutes less, why not? In 2011, for safety reasons, engineers limited bullet train speeds to 300 km per hour. However, it seems China is willing to up the ante for economic benefits.
“Nobody predicted that the high-speed rail link between Beijing and Shanghai would be profitable when it was built… But after a seven to eight-year development, it gains, so it can work in other regions as well after eight to 10 years,”
While it is a giant leap for eager travelers, I sure do hope it’s a secure one as well.