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We think we can…We think we can…

Posted by on September 29, 2010

The little engine built by the “most powerful” country in the world that simply…couldn’t.  Lunch in another city 200 miles away and back home in an hour or two? Crazy you say?  All this normal living has corrupted my brain hasn’t it?


That’s “been there, done that” in Chinese.  Well it’s either that or something about a goat and a dentist, let’s hope it’s the former.  I’ve got nothing against goats.

Here comes the Boston-D.C. Express!

Choo-Choo Make way for the D.C. Express!

I’m going to walk you through this revelation through various links, follow along won’t you?

Let’s start with this dandy, so we all know what we are talking about.

So in 2012, China will have 68,350 miles of rail track, (U.S. has over 230,000) and China will have 8,000 miles of high-speed track.  The United States has 1 “high-speed rail line” (Boston to D.C.).  That’s right, 1.  Before you get too excited, it averages 68 m.p.h.  By contrast, Chinese and European trains average between 150-160 m.p.h.   Please don’t e-mail me with “Brah, you missed tha point man!  We’ve got 230,000!”  You’ve clearly missed the point.

But alas, have no fear, help is on the way.

I hope you read that piece of an article I just linked.  Well if you didn’t, I’ll sum it up.  For the U.S. to get a true high-speed rail line, comparable to Europe and Asia, it will take 30+ years and $117 billion.  30 years for a 400 mile track.  Well hold the phones Mary Beth, we’ll have caught up to China in…wait a second…let me get a calculator.  Heyzoos Christo, by the time we catch up to China (assuming naively that they for some reason, stop building tracks) people will have personal aircraft anyway and B.P.A.’s ashes will have been scattered in the pancake mix at Luna’s Castle.  Sweet, sweet revenge in the form of dusty pancakes.  (Alright Luna, I know I just said your hostel’s name twice, but this isn’t serious, it’s just a joke, Happy Hanukah!  Stop googling yourself!)

The last three sentences probably didn’t make much sense to those who don’t visit this site often but that’s okay.  Now I’ve lost my way and must get back to my point…least I think I have a point.

So you’ve seen what a country the same size as the United States with 8 times the population can do when it becomes a priority of their government to do so.  I know how we ended up here but what I don’t know is how we can recover and join the rest of the world with regards to rail service.  I guess it really shouldn’t surprise me that a country whose people drive to the corner store for a candy bar also fly to a city barely 200 miles away.  Either way, it has to change, as a matter of survival.

I’ve taken the train from D.C. to Michigan, it wasn’t terrible but I also had two days to kill.  Business travelers don’t.  I’ve taken the train from China to Finland, and it was terrible, and I had months to kill along with jugs of home-made vodka.  So unless the U.S. Government starts handing out free vodka and unemployment reaches 98%, we are in trouble.

All is not lost, China has set forth a perfect model.  Why can’t we take notes from them or just flat-out copy them?  Oh right, because China is a fascist, authoritarian, corrupt regime.  I don’t buy that, but I’m not going to pretend to debate it knowledgeably.  Instead, I leave you with a final link to ponder, because I’ve got a feeling when I step off that first beautiful high-speed rail train in 30 years and onto the platform, I’ll notice three little words with such negative connotations on the underside of the train that just hauled my hippie ass 200 miles in 80 minutes.  Made in China.

*Note- I am currently working in an inner-city public elementary school in the United States as a 2nd grade teacher.   I will be posting more in the coming weeks and months to give you an accurate picture of education in the inner-cities.  Best to all. Lastly, for good measure, and just to see their search engine die…Luna, Luna, Luna, Luna, Castle, Luna, Castle, Hostel, Panama, Luna, Castle, Hate, Luna, Castle, Pancakes.

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