This entire diary is based upon a show on the Science Channel and therefore will be "link bereft" but the ideas, the facts and the reasons why it can never happen here will be explored.
We already know about the high speed train service blistering through France and to London at 300 Kilometers per hour (about 200 mph give or take). And, we already know the simple "way too good an idea" which precludes a similar system in the NE cooridor. Yes, we do have some "express" trains that go fast, but fast relative to a coal train or regular Amtrack.
But the Euros aren't done yet; no - the system has worked WAY to well to leave enough alone. Follow me over the genetically altered orange potato and read their stupidendously common sense plan.
They are expanding on a good idea! The nerve!
Yes, the Euros, albeit the same ones talking "austerity", are at least visionary enough to invest in infrastructure - did I mention it is full of common sense?
They are expanding their high speed rail beyond France and London and creating a network that would stretch from Berlin to Gibraltor, from London to Rome and every reasonable stop in between.
It would make sense enough to use the sytem they already have. One that propels passengers at 200 mph (give or take) on the same amount of power that it takes to run a small town. Very small. But wait! They want to make it better, too - also as Palin would say if she knew about fast trains.
They are already in the testing stages of a new propulsion system that would exceed 300 MILES per hour. Yes, 300 "murican" miles per hour. Lets put our imaginery thinking caps on and dream about what that would look like here. NYC Grand Central Station to DC express in a little over an hour. DC to Atlanta in, what? - 2 hours - 2:15? NYC to Chicago in less than little over 3 hrs. I haven't done the math - obviously, but the point is HOW MUCH DAMN SENSE IT MAKES. Imagine a line up and down the west coast. A grid from Chicago to Houston and connected at some good points between and a similar one all over the East Coast?
Now the bad news. Why it CAN'T happen here. We all know our Congress is a wholly owned sibsidiary of any company within sight of the Dow index. So, who will pay to prevent this idea? Well, Boeing - duh. And, since those airplanes that Boeing makes run on a lot of gas (a lot!) that brings our friends at the oil companies in to put a cash brick wall on the idea. Who else? Umm, well, thats probably enough but I am sure there are way more that can be pointed out in the comments - if there are any on such a good idea.
In America, we are willing to build a damn pipeline for an increasingly obsolete and dangerous fuel from Alaska to Texas, but a system that would put people to work, save money, decrease highway congestion and just make people overall happier - That. Can't. Happen.
"Only in America" used to be a term of pride. Increasingly it seems to be a term of derision. America is where good ideas that threaten big money go to die. How can our society not follow?