Category Archives: Railroad news. Track what’s going on.

California’s High-Speed Rail Authority sues everybody, invites you to argue case in court


SACRAMENTO — If you’re reading this, consider yourself served.

The state of California has filed a civil case against everyone — literally, the whole world — seeking to validate $8.6 billion in voter-approved bonds for its $69 billion high-speed rail project.

The lawsuit, titled “High-Speed Rail Authority v. All Persons Interested,” is meant as a pre-emptive strike so the state can confirm that it’s definitely legal to issue some of the bonds needed to begin bullet train construction this summer. By citing a somewhat obscure California civil code, the state can use the “sue now or forever hold your peace” strategy to prevent a string of future lawsuits and, instead, deal with the legal issues in one fell swoop.

Anyone interested in trying to block the project can sign up with the court, put their endless hours of “Law & Order” watching to use, wear their best suit and show up at a hearing to argue their case. They would join lawyers who are already suing the rail authority in other cases and go toe-to-toe with the state Attorney General’s Office, which is representing the rail authority.

The state’s biggest-ever project is also one of its most controversial, which has led the rail authority to swat away lawsuit after lawsuit since California voters approved the bullet train in November 2008. READ MORE

UK Super Train – Megastructures – National Geographic Documentary

Published on Feb 1, 2013

Having set up their first railroad during the reign of Queen Victoria, it was about time that UK updated their railroad network to match the fast pace of 21st Centuries. UK Super Train, an episode of the National Geographic documentary series Megastructures tells the exciting tale of UK’s high-speed train project that was then known as the Highspeed1. This super train traveled at a daunting 300 km/h and was a much more complicated task than building bridges and highways. Construction of railroads resulted in a more drastic change to the topography of land than road networks and required building bridges and tunnels; the latter being a risky venture, if the possibility of cave-ins and fluctuating air pressure is taken into account.

The project made use of existing Victorian landmarks such as the St Pancras Station that was turned from a liability into an asset. This National Geographic documentary film of Megastructures series follows the entire grueling tasks and procedures assigned to the engineers, from digging a trench through a chalk hill to a possible threat to the historical heritage of the country; the project had its fair share of setbacks. Stumbling across artifacts that were almost 4000 years old, the construction venture was exciting, but also raised a nationwide concern regarding the safeguarding of these precious items. Despite these challenges, the project managed to survive and was completed, while as well preserving the historical sites that were done with the undying efforts of Archaeologists, who outnumbered the construction workers at one point.

MegaStructures: UK Super Train: The National Geographic documentary film entails interviews and an engaging narration that gives in-depth insight into the nature of the project and the various challenges it battled. The construction began with the aim of turning loss-making infrastructure into assets and to cut down on the cost of building the high-speed rail network that already stood at an overwhelming 7 billion pounds. The venture was one of the largest and most expensive engineering projects carried out in UK and became a major tourist attraction. UK Super Train, the National Geographic documentary film of Megastructures series covers every aspect of the development of Highspeed1 that gave UK’s railroad network a much-needed boost.


Superconducting vacuum trains

While fast, frictionless maglev train systems have been operational for decades, they haven’t exactly become ubiquitous – perhaps because of the cost of the systems, or perhaps because there is no compelling need to replace the already widespread and workable conventional railway infrastructure. Either way, the idea is not about to fade from our collective imagination and several maglev of the future concepts have been floated.

The Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) system envisions superconducting maglev trains operating in evacuated tubes at speeds of up to 6,500 km/h (4,039 mph) on international trips – that’s New York to Beijing in two hours! The proponents of this system say that ET3 could be 50 times more efficient than electric cars or trains.

Terraspan goes even further than ultra-efficient mass transport with its vision for a network of superconducting tunnels. As well as providing infrastructure for “Terraspan trains,” this network would also facilitate zero loss transmission of electricity to our homes. Read More

5 New Super Trains on Fast Track to World’s Fastest Bullet Read more: 5 New Super Trains on Fast Track to World’s Fastest Bullet – Popular Mechanics


The case for high-speed, low-impact train travel is clear, and many governments have ambitious high-speed train plans in the works. But are they realistic? The reporter who tested AmericaÂ’s first maglev now evaluates proposals for the 200-mph trains of the future, in their order on the horizon.

Gazing at the verdant blur of mountains zipping by noiselessly as you ride on the Japanese Shinkansen (bullet train) is enough to make anyone fall in love with high-speed train travel. When you couple that appeal with concerns about energy consumption and global warming, a mass-transit rail system that can whisk passengers along at speeds in excess of 300 mph seems like an obvious solution to today’s transportation woes.

But high-speed railways are outsized mega projects with multi-billion-dollar budgets that can rival those of space programs. So constructing them isn’t simply a matter of next-gen tech–it’s also about money and political will. To wit, this year a magnetic levitation line planned for Munich, Germany, was squelched at the eleventh hour when officials balked at cost–not of the maglev setup itself but rather at the billions of dollars it would take to tunnel under the center of the city.

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Facts About Bullet Trains for Kids


For kids interested in trains, the bullet train features a wealth of interesting facts. Shinkansen, commonly known as the bullet train, gets its nickname from its rounded nose, similar to the shape of a bullet. These Japanese trains are among the fastest in the world, capable of traveling up to 186 m.p.h. The bullet train lines connect Japan from Aomori in the north to Kagoshima in the south. Read more

Kids Zone

trains-of-the-futureTrains of the Future

The future for trains is exciting! Great Britain has the fastest growing railway network in Europe and the number of people using the train is expected to keep growing. Trains of the future will carry more passengers and go at faster speeds than ever before.

Futuristic Trains

The new High Speed 1 service opened in December 2009 travels from London to Kent at speeds of up to 140mph and the government are considering investing in a High Speed 2 service from London to Scotland. The fourth generation Pendolino tilt trains, the newer version of the ones used by Virgin Trains, will be able to carry up to 638 passengers and could be able to reach speeds up to 275kph! See Whats Next


AMTRAK COVERS 88% OF OPERATING COSTS Federal capital investment supports future growth. WASHINGTON – Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman told a Congressional committee today that America’s Railroad® is leveraging record ridership to reduce dependence on federal operating subsidies. He announced that in FY 2012 the federal government paid just 12 percent of Amtrak’s operating costs while Amtrak covered 88 percent with ticket sales and other revenue.

Boardman explained that while the railroad has taken actions to chip away at operating costs and increase revenue, a vital component of its success has been the federal government’s willingness to invest in the Amtrak national network. Federal capital investment helps to reduce operating costs, supports the existing system, funds solutions to reduce future costs and provides the infrastructure and equipment to sustain ridership and revenue growth. Read More

Why Can’t We Have a 300-MPH Floating Train Like Japan?


Japan’s Maglev train leaves the platform for a test run on an experimental track in Tsuru on May 11, 2010. US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took a test ride on Japan’s super-fast magnetic train that day, but President Obama’s high-speed rail plans have largely fallen through since then.
Photo by Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images

A Japanese railway company this month unveiled a prototype for a commercial passenger train that it says can reach speeds of 310 miles per hour via magnetic levitation. According to theAsahi Shimbun, the plan is for the floating train to begin zipping commuters from Tokyo to Nagoya in 2027. At that speed it could make the 200-mile trip in under 45 minutes, less than half the time it takes today on Japan’s already-zippy bullet trains.

Maglev trains have long been the holy grail of ground transportation. Levitating above steel rails, Maglev trains need no wheels and have no friction with the track, resulting in an ultra-fast and ultra-quiet ride. So far they’re also very expensive. Counting an additional planned Tokyo-to-Osaka leg, the project is expected to cost upwards of $100 billion.

But if that sounds prohibitive, consider that the United States spends significantly more than that on highways in a single year. And while a highway might get you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in six hours if you’re lucky, a Maglev train like the one Japan’s building could theoretically do it in an hour and 15 minutes. In fact, California has been trying to build a Los Angeles-to-San Francisco high-speed rail line for some 30 years, but the fight for funding has been tooth-and-nail. The state is now slated to have a 220-mph train up and running by 2028—but that’s just a conventional bullet train, the kind Japan has had for decades. There were once plans for a California-Nevada maglev train, but they never left the station, and the money for planning them ended up being reallocated to a highway project.
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