In my book, Fast Trains: America’s High Speed Future, there is a really heartwarming narrative concerning members of a Chinese family traveling from Shanghai to Beijing to unite with other family members who have not seen each other in almost 30 years. One highlight of the story is how long their trip between the two hugely populated Chinese cities takes. For the distance between each is 1318 km (818 miles). But to travel this distance on China’s high speed rail system only takes about six hours. That’s right: 818 miles by train in six hours! Imagine that would be like making the 700
Well, I was on the Internet today and I came across an astounding picture of the HSR train terminal in Beijing, China, which you can view here with this blog post.
Take a look at it. I mean, take a serious look at it. Are the terminal and the railways leading in and out of it not a feat of unbelievable engineering and construction, or what? I almost feel like saving up all my money over the next several months so I can travel to China just to ride one of the world’s fastest trains and arrive at this magnificent feat of architecture and engineering and feel its immense presence. Really.
While I know it would be exciting I also know that more than a little sadness would come over me after I had experienced high speed rail and the HSR train terminal in Beijing. For it will pose a question to me I know I cannot answer. That simple question is: Why don’t we have high speed rail and a magnificent modern train terminal like this here in the United States of America?
However, if somehow I should take my journey to China, Beijing, the HSR train terminal, and back, I think I will become motivated to ask a different and more uplifting question. And ask it not only of myself but also pose it to every American I can until a sufficient answer is given. This question is pretty simple, too: If China can do this and countries in Europe can do this, are we to be outdone? Here in America and hopefully speaking for most Americans, I truly hope the answer is a bona fide “Absolutely not!”
HSR is underway in California and there are a number of other high speed train routes being seriously discussed from coast to coast. Let’s wait and see if I get the answer we all need.