Right now, there is $8 billion dollars sitting in an account ready to be used to be used for a high-speed passenger-train line in the States and the Central Japan Railway Co. is attempting to get its hands on some of it — along with a dozen other companies from around the globe. The plan is to start in Florida and expanded through out the southern-half of the country, eventually connecting Florida to Texas and California. But there are some hurdles first. After all, it’s the government handing out the cash.
A major requirement for these funds is that the products be American made. JR Central worked up a plan that involves major parts of the $3.5 billion project would be made locally. This would included infrastructure such as the signals, and track, while just parts of the rolling stock would be built by U.S. companies.
But the company is proposing two different types of trains: the common 205 mph shinkansen or the 361 mph magnetic-levitation train. Both would probably be welcomed additions to travelers, but not many would want to have one of these trains in their backyards. The shinkansen is regulated to less than 70 dB in Japan within a residential area. They often can reach a lot higher levels when at full speeds, though. That’s something environmentalist will probably yell foul at if the train’s route is anywhere near a wildlife zone. So yeah, don’t expect these things anytime soon.
Hopefully one of the companies gunning for the cash can blow through the red tape quickly. I, for one, am tired of dealing with over-stuffed airplanes and rude airline staff. I would much rather give up the speed of an airplane for the leg room on a high-speed train. [WSJ]
Oh, and enjoy the video below. It gives a great explanation of the shinkansen Top Gear-style.