Major Breakthrough In The Future Of Train Travel

Posted: Mar 6 2017, 11:20am CST | by , in News | Cars & Vehicles

 

Major Breakthrough in the Future of Train Travel
Image: Brightline
 

The US has lagged behind Europe when it comes to trains and public transportation, but some of that is finally starting to change.

Trains are a major part of the public transportation system in cities around the world, and they have been there since the latter part of the 1800s. Unfortunately, a lot of the systems that are still being used today are stuck in the last century, utilizing old techniques and older technology. The advent of the high-speed rail is starting to change that. Will high-speed rails move train travel into the 21st century?

Global High Speed Rails

The United States is one of the few developed countries left that doesn’t have any form of high-speed rail. Many European and Asian countries utilize some form of high speed rail. Japan’s rail, SCMaglev, has a maximum operating speed of 320 km/h but has been clocked at its top speed of a little over 600 km/h. For these countries, high speed rail is the backbone of their public transportation infrastructure. 

When it comes to setting up high speed rails in the United States, there are plenty of interested parties and just as many hurdles to cross. 

Brightline Breakthroughs 

Brightline is currently the only privately-funded train company in the country, and they may have changed the way we look at high-speed rail. And now, they’ve completed their first train set, called BrightBlue. These coaches and locomotives could mark the beginning of high speed rail for the state of Florida. The goal is to launch an inner-city train service by the middle of 2017 and branch out across the state in the years to come. 

With a 12-acre facility in West Palm Beach, Brightline is quickly setting itself up as one of the biggest names in high-speed rail in the country. They are also working on four other train sets that will be set up in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami when their respective train stations have been completed. It might not be long before you can hop a train in Orlando and enjoy a high-speed ride all the way to Miami. 

The Future of Train Travel

Privately funding high-speed rails in the United States might be the best and most efficient way to actually bring train travel to the masses. Brightline in Florida is funded entirely by private backers.  A plan suggested by President Trump actually follows the same sort of plan. By using small amounts of tax-payer money and relying more heavily on private funding, these rail projects could actually get off the ground. 

They might not be as fast as the 300+ mile per hour super trains that dot the landscape in Japan, but a commuter train running 125 miles per hour will get you from Orlando to Miami and back much faster than the turnpike will. 

California’s high-speed rail has been on the books since 2008, but officials estimate its first segment of might not be complete until 2025. It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally starting to see high-tech train travel make some progress in the US. 

High-speed rails will likely be one of the biggest solutions to the excessively congested roadways in the most heavily populated cities, but there are still plenty of hurdles that need to be overcome before they become commonplace forms of transportation. 

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/56" rel="author">Scott Huntington</a>
Scott Huntington is a writer and journalist from Harrisburg PA who covered movies, tech, cars, and more. Check out his blog Off The Throttle or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.

 

 

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