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bullet trains: the quickest track to the future
After countless flights and what has felt like a lifetime waiting for delayed planes, I can't tell you how much I would welcome a train ride from San Francisco to LA in just 35 minutes.
This luxury would save nearly an hour of my valuable time. My experiences with tourist trains have been one of a laid-back commuter, where I'd take in the landscape and take in the wonder of nature.
With the recent technological advancements in high-speed bullet trains, the time benefits may make it one of the most used methods of public transportation, for example, imagine getting from London to Paris before your coffee goes cold!
When it comes to cramming in as many activities into your next Euro-trip as possible, consider this: If you took a high-speed train from London to Paris, you could walk around the Eiffel Tower about eight times before the standard bullet train would have arrived at the station. A trip to Paris, anyone?
When you consider that a regular journey between Rome and Madrid could take up to 26 hours on typical public transport, 19 hours in a car and 2 and a half hours via plane, you can see why most travellers struggle to see all of Europe in one go. If high-speed rail were to be incorporated across that journey, travel time would be diminished to a mere 2 hours, 1 minute and 46 seconds. Not bad, if you plan on having lunch amidst the Roman ruins before making it to Spain in time to catch a soccer game.
Sure, shorter travel times are the dream for holidaymakers and workers alike, but does high-speed travel work in our favour towards building an environmentally sustainable future? Eurostar, the high-speed rail service connecting the UK to mainland Europe, says a 300km/h high-speed rail journey from London to Amsterdam emits 80% less carbon per passenger than an equivalent flight. Of course, this doesn't factor in the impact of the construction of infrastructure.
This seems to be the current roadblock with the bullet train revolution. The high construction costs and time taken before governments can reclaim that cost of their investment outweighs the jobs created and the environmental benefits. Governments also must consider the amount of use, the possibility of the technology becoming outdated while the rail is being built and problematic weather events or natural disasters that can hinder or halt progress, thus further increasing the budget.
I, for one, hope that bullet trains become the way of the future for public transport. While the majority of interest in this type of transportation are first world countries, I think plenty of countries could benefit significantly if the technology were more readily available.
India comes to mind due to its large population, relatively flat topography and road quality between major cities. Maybe it will only take one brave country to commit to a widespread public hyperloop transportation network for the rest of the world to follow. Less travel time would mean less stress and more leisure time for experienced tourists like me.