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High Speed Rail Trends To Watch In 2006

   By: Lance Winslow

In 2005 we watched high-speed train technology advance in some significant way. We read of speed records being broken and new techniques in magnetic levitation discussed in many advanced transportation research papers. We also saw some cause for alarm with a number of unfortunate accidents involving super high-speed trains. Although we saw many derailments around the world from contemporary rail systems which were top heavy, over weight and going to fast for there geometry, design and the general laws of physics for which all trains fast and slow are not exempt. In the United States we figured out ways to reduce metal fatigue from our high-speed train from New York to Washington D.C., as cracks were discovered luckily before any serious mishaps.

Due to the fuel costs rail transportation becomes extremely significant in that its economies of scale can solve many of the problems facing other forms of transportation. Rail can carry more weight and huge loads that might take 200 18-wheeler truckloads to haul. And rail can do it generally as fast with less expended fuel without over taxing our highways with the extra traffic. Many in the United States are pushing for high-speed rail in Florida, Texas and from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. But we all know that a high-speed rail system in the United States makes sense, as this nation is 4000 miles wide and takes a heck of a long time to cross by car. And at these high fuel prices we simply cannot afford the costs to go by air for many of the important needs of our civilization, including getting people from point A to point B. So expect further discussions on this in 2006.

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