Sunday, June 26, 2011

a lesson here

This is why, when the bullet train is built, which will cause a boom in American economy, it has to be built without crossings, just like the interstate highway system.

SPARKS, Nev. – Two truck drivers and a train engineer watched helplessly as a semitrailer skidded the length of a football field before it smashed through crossing gates and into two double-decker cars of an Amtrak train at a highway crossing, killing at least six people.


Irene said...

Overpass. It's not hard really - they are everywhere.

Bill said...

Unfortunately this is a far more complex problem than appears on the surface.

Coutries such as China are capable to building bullet trains as they are starting from a clean sheet on their engineering tables. In addition they have enormous amounts of capital for construction. Their situation today is somewhat like the United State's highway situation in the 50's, 60's, and 70's.

Europe is another special circumstance in that they have a completely different respect for the rail system and all involved. They want the rail system and are willing to have minor inconveniences to have them. My son, Christopher, relates a revealing railway story of when he was in Germany visiting a friend after high school. He tells of his fascination of how when the high speed trains would approach a roadway intersection, a warning would sound, the barriers would lower long before the train arrived, and then a crowd would appear to watch the train race by. He found that amazing. In the United States, there is often someone who would try to go around the barriers, regardless of the risk involved.

Simply stated, we view rail systems as an inconvenience instead of an aid. This has been driven into our heads over the past 60 years. In addition the cost of actually constructing and maintaining the railway would be astronomical.

Bud said...

>>In addition the cost of actually constructing and maintaining the railway would be astronomical.<<

This didn't deter the original rail system, or the interstate highway system, or the space program. It's a question of priorities, although I know the country is currently "broke". If rules were made about using American steel, American rolling stock, American partnerships with states and corporations, etc., it could be a great economic boon.

I believe you are right, Bill, about the cultural problem. H-mm.

Sparty said...

And recall that the original rail system, the interstate highway system, and the space program were all funded directly by the federal government or, as in the case of the transcontinental railroad system, with massive federal subsidies to corporations. In each of these cases the justification for these expenditures was clothed in one way or another as national security measures. Is there some way to convince the "government spending is evil" folks that a high-speed rail system is somehow needed to defend the U.S. from outside forces?

Bill said...

Hmmm.....I wonder what $20,000,000,000.00 a month would build? I think I know where we can find most of that.

Sparty said...

In Iraq or Afghanistan? Or returning marginal tax rates to the rates of the Clinton years?

Bill said...

All of the above!