There is a high speed train coming to St Louis to link up St Louis and Chicago. Should we be excited about this?
The Midwest High Speed Rail Association mentions in their article “Governor Quinn Announces Partnership with University of Illinois to Study 220-mph Rail Service” that Chicago is to get a 220 mph high speed train from Chicago and Champaign-Urbana. It also mentions that there is a 110 mph high speed train coming to St Louis to connect St Louis and Chicago. In a map that accompanies the article “Bullet Trains” an alternate route can be seen that also links St Louis with Kansas City.
In their “MoDot Prepared to Tap Into High Speed Rail Funds” article, MoDOT states that the link between St Louis and Kansas City is part of the Chicago hub network of high speed rail.
As “Bullet Trains” article argues, there is economic opportunities that the high speed train gives. Trains tend to give more foot traffic flow to the towns it goes to. It’s easy to see that more customers may be available for St Louis’ merchants. On the same vein it’s easy to envision the crime rate increasing.
The travel times on these trains is quite low for trains. According to the “Bullet Trains” article and map, travel time from Chicago to St Louis would be under 2 hours. Then travel time from Chicago to Kansas City through St Louis would be 4 hours. That means that travel time between St Louis and Kansas City would be 2 hours. These times certainly beats car travel and its hassles. Sure you may not have your car when you get to a city like Chicago, but think of all the money you would save on parking.
A concerned local citizen asked me, “What if there is a terrorist attack or the train is derailed?” This is a question about safety of these trains. You would think that with speeds that exceed 100 mph that there is a big concern for safety. The California High-Speed Authority claims that historically high speed trains are safe citing the Japanese and French high speed trains history. No doubt there is a great amount of thought and engineering that went into these train systems. Tracks are welded together and are assembled very differently than regular slow train tracks. Are the high speed trains 100% safe? Probably not. Are they safe enough for passengers? Well, that’s what the experts tell us. Planes are considered safe, but they still have bird strikes.
MoDOT Prepared to Tap Into High Speed Rail Funds
Bullet Trains – Midwest High Speed Rail Association
Article on study for high speed rail to St Louis – Midwest High Speed Rail Association
MoDOT High Speed Rail projects proposed for Federal assistance webpage