Monday, February 24, 2014
As I was sitting in the train typing on my computer, I looked through the window. I saw that the train was going almost as fast as a car on the road (maybe slightly faster). I saw the speed limit sign and it was 40mph. Let's assume that the car driver was driving 60mph! "That's very slow," I thought.
Last weekend, a snow storm hit the east coast and all flights were cancelled. Unfortunately, this coincided with Feb. 13 and 14, Valentine's day, a "high season" for shipping and transportation. That's when many Amtrak trains were sold out. Unfortunately, the train is the "backup" plan for those who prefer to fly, drive, or take the bus in the United States.
From my experience visiting Spain, Renfe, the spanish rail company, provides a high velocity train from Madrid to Barcelona (About the same distnace from Pittsburgh to NYC). The high velocity train takes 2.5 to 3.5 hours only. While, the Pittsburgh-NYC train takes 9 hours and driving/bus would take approximately 7-8 hours. Therefore, driving or taking the bus is more economical and less environmentally friendly for those who can't afford crazy airfare prices.
According to the Association of American Railroads, "freight railroads have spent approximately $12 billion per year on their tracks, signals, and other infrastructure, and another $10 billion on locomotives, freight cars, and other equipment." However, trains could be faster and this investment is yet to be made.
How will a high-velocity train system affect supply chains?
 Association of American Railroads https://www.aar.org/keyissues/Pages/Infrastructure-Investment.aspx#.UwwXB15DGjI