High-Speed Rail News Roundup #33: November 8, 2012

Italo High Speed Train
The High Speed Train Italo operated by NTV crossing a river in Italy’s countryside.

Who’s going to win this thing? You know what we’re talking about. Which train is going to break the speed limit in America? Amtrak is poised to do it. Of course, it’s not nearly as fast as its worldwide counterparts. In this issue of High Speed Rail News, we’ll uncover the top high-speed railways on the globe, go back in time to when going fastest was 77mph, and see a small breakthrough for high-speed rail in Chicago.

 Amtrak runs test trains at 165mph in the Northeast

The New Number to Beat is: 165! Amtrak announced it’s going to break the speed limit in the all-important Northeast Corridor. Going at 165mph in four stretches from Maryland to Massachusetts, the average speed is currently 135mph. Federal regulations require more testing of course, and the government promises normal rail operations won’t be affected. It’s nowhere near as fast as a MAGLEV, but it’s…something. How many minutes will this cut off travel time?

Amtrak train set to hit 110 MPH

In a modest milestone for the development of high-speed rail in North America, tests will start along a small section of Amtrak between Chicago and St. Louis at 100mph. This is a 30-mph increase from the route’s current top speed. Is this the beginning of what’s to come if there’s a second term? Will this face contention from airlines? Can this route become profitable?

High speed rail throwback

A Streamlined Throwback: In 1934, the Burlington Zephyr arrived in Chicago from Denver. At the time, the trip was a technological breakthrough in both travel and design. Stainless steel like an Airstream, the Zephyr made the trip non-stop in just over 13 hours with an average speed of 77mph. For a moment, the diesel-electric marvel pushed the train passed 112mph. Today, thanks to safety regulations, the speed limit would be limited to just 79mph. Check out this video of times past, when rail travel was the future, and American ingenuity was king.

9 Best High-Speed Rail Rides in the world

Trains on a Different Plane: In America, travel is no longer, shall we say, romantic. Planes are touted as quickest, but with security, travel to the airport, and getting there an hour or two early, you may be better off driving. In traffic. Stopping at drive-thru windows for greasy, fried food. Much of the world has brought back the romanticism of rail travel: luxe surroundings at high-speeds, stopping smack-dab in the middle of world class cities and charming towns. Plus, they’re relatively affordable. Here’s an editors list of the top 9 trains around the world. Let us know how many you’ve traveled on!

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