Only Two High Speed Rail Lines Have Ever Broken Even

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While Ray LaHood rips around Europe on high speed rails, to get a feel for what might be possible in the U.S., we hope he takes note of this New York Times story on Spain’s rails.

While the Times touts the virtues of the trains, it also warns of the costs. Spain’s plan will run 100 billion Euros, which is $140 billion.

And then there’s this choice quote:

“High-speed rail is good for society and it’s good for the environment, but it’s not a profitable business,” said Mr. Barrón of the International Union of Railways. He reckons that only two routes in the world — between Tokyo and Osaka, and between Paris and Lyon, France — have broken even.

We’re in favour of improving the rail structure in this country. To ease the burden that will come with $150 oil in the next few years, improved rails will be important. They don’t even need to be high speed, necessarily.

We just hope the adminstration is ready for a big public blow back if it tries to build a big network of trains.

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