Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trains-Wake Up Canada

Map of high speed trains in Europe. Click on image to see...check out the speed legend!

I'm not like the biggest train geek in the world...but I do have a thing for trains. My grandfather was a dispatcher for Canadian National Railway and my mother was born in a train station where my grandparents were working in northern Canada. Our family was riding a train somewhere at least a few times a year. Every summer my sister and I took a train to our grandmothers cabin on a lake without road service in northern Ontario. I used to ride between Calgary and Montreal frequently and the trip between Alberta along the Frazer River to Vancouver is among my favourite travel memories. Canada made a big mistake by not keeping up train schedules...a mistake that is likely to be turned around as soon as petroleum is too expensive and we need high speed trains to get from city to city. Canada should be creating jobs right now building high speed trains and tracks. (hint hint...President Obama...trying to create jobs? Duh...build some trains!!!!) Meanwhile...Stagg and I want to go to Europe for six months. We're not sure when or how we are going to get this trip going...but I have been looking at trains and schedules for high speed train travel in Europe. It's getting me really geeked. We have a rough idea of where we'd like to go in Europe. Florence for one month. England/London for one month. Rome two weeks. Ireland one week. Frankfurt one week. Berlin a few days. Venice two days. Copenhagen one week. Lisbon one week. Stockholm one week. Paris one week. Amsterdam one week. Prague one week. Warsaw one week. Again, how we are going to manage hanging out in Europe for six months...we haven't figured out yet...but trains will surely be helping us get around. Three cheers for trains!

The Trans-European high-speed rail network is one of a number of the European Union's Trans-European transport networks. It was defined by the Council Directive 96/48/EC of 23 July 1996.
The aim of this EU Directive is to achieve the interoperability of the European high-speed train network at the various stages of its design, construction and operation.
The network is defined as a system consisting of a set of infrastructures, fixed installations, logistic equipment and rolling stock.

High speed train in Italy. Site for trains in Eurpoe

"the bullet train" is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by four Japan Railways Group companies. Starting with the 210 km/h (130 mph) Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 1964, the now 2,459 km (1,528 mi) long network has expanded to link most major cities on the islands of Honshū and Kyūshū at speeds up to 300 km/h (186 mph). Test runs have reached 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world-record 581 km/h (361 mph) for maglev trainsets in 2003.

The international definition of high-speed rail is new lines with a speed of at least 250 km/h (155 mph) and existing lines with a speed of around 200 km/h (124 mph).[1] As of 2009, there are four "classic" main railway lines in the United Kingdom operating at 125 mph (201 km/h), plus 108 km (70 mi) of purpose built high-speed line.

The high-speed route to Mokpo will share the existing Seoul-Busan tracks to Osong. From there it will head south west for 230km (144 miles) to reach Mokpo, with some sections paralleling the existing conventional Honam railway route, which takes 2hrs 58mins to traverse from Seoul to Mokpo.

The new line will radically reduce journey times. High-speed services will be able to reach Mokpo in 1hr 46mins, partly aided by a shorter route, at an estimated average speed of 181km/h over 320km of new railway.

Construction has been due to start in 2006, with the aim of completing the whole route by 2017, at a cost of around US$11bn.


* (asterisk) said...

Travelling by train is nice, as long as the train is clean and not simply standing in a station... I'm gonna be doing some train travel tomorrow, yay!

Candy Minx said...

Dirty trains? See...there is another "create a job" opportunity.

I love how the politicins are like, "we need to make jobs"...make jobs?...everywhere I go I can think of a jillion jobs we need done. Over in Europe...apparently they need the trains cleaned on a full time basis, makes sense to me Asterisk! Hey...have a great train trip this week!

Lee said...

Great post Candy! I would love to see a high speed train network here in Canada. Totally cool! I hope it happens one day.

mister anchovy said...

Daddy what's a train?
Is it something I can ride?
Does it carry lots of little kids and grown up folks inside?
Is it bigger than our house?
How can I explain, when my little boy asks me, Daddy what's a train?

Captain Karen said...

Yet another area where North America (and especially Canada) lags far behind the rest of the world. I've never had the chance to take the train in the States but from what I understand they have a pretty good system. Canada? Expensive and practically nonexistant. With the bus system deteriorating rapidly, train would be a fantastic way to cross the country. I think you're right about job creation. People would use it if it's affordable and accessible.

rauf said...

i remember Gene Hackman and Anne Archer movie 'Narrow Margin' where the train snakes through the breathtaking Canadian landscape. i watched it many times just for the train sequences.

i love trains Candy, i think i'll die in a train. India is all about train. We can't do without them. We have all kinds, and i take the low cost. You have to pay for comforts. But still people are complaining, actually i am thankful for the trains, makes my travel easy and i travel a lot.

i agree with you Candy. US and Canada can save a lot by introducing inter city fast trains. We don't have them as Indian are not ready even for highways. We have expressways but you'll see bullock carts happily coming on the wrong side. Driving is a nightmare in India.

It will be a wrong idea to privatise the railways, as private companies ignore non profitable areas. Its a service which the government should provide for the citizens. We have trains going to every nook and corner where ever possible. Every day new trains are introduced and the railways are doing their best to cover even the hilly areas. Konkan railways is a great achievement. it took many years to make all those tunnels in the hills. Now trains are running cutting short the distance.
Long distance trains are fun. Takes three days Candy. They may not be very efficient but we have them. i can't boast about anything else. Good thing is they are very cheap. even the poorest can afford. a 1000 Kilo Meter journey with comforts costs 8 dollars. It depends on your attitude Candy, you can have fun or curse the trains for running late or poor service and the trains are not very clean here. Its okkay for me. i have fun. Hope to see you next year Candy, i'll take you to Rajasthan (2 days in train) Gawahati (Three days) Kerala (over night) Very fast trains to Delhi Bombay and Bangalore and other cities. Not fast by Japanese and European standards. But fast enough. and i get a 30% discount as a senior citizen anywhere in India. Age over 60 the computer automatically gives you 30% less fare. I have t carry my age proof. Some ID, they never ask Candy.
Hoping to see you soon.

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