Transportation

And in the Civilized World...

By Ryan McGreal
Published February 05, 2008

...They're investing in high speed rail.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has attended the launch of a new high-speed train made by engineering giant Alstom.

The AGV (Automotrice Grande Vitesse) train will travel at up to 360km/h (224mph), powered by engines placed under each carriage, the company says.

The absence of locomotives at either end allows it to carry more passengers.

Italy has bought 25 trains, which it hopes to put into production in 2011.

In the meantime, North America continues to languish in an economic dead end of airports, highways and ever-bigger gas guzzling automotives.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By transitory (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2008 at 12:05:27

After a quarter-century of stagnant CAFE standards, fuel efficiency is set to improve markedly over the next decade, from what I can tell (more so if California gets its way). The EPA revised its methods of testing fuel economy recently to reflect the current style of real-world driving (it had long been predicated on '60s/'70s motoring norms). The resulting optics are more accurate but admittedly lousy (eg. Toyota Prius mpg drops 20%) but my impression is that vehicles are scaling back in size and weight. See the plunge in SUV sales, for example, which has helped to traumatize the automotive industry. Or Chrysler's retirement of its Imperial luxury sedan. Or the recent arrival of Mercedes' Smart. The galling thing about autos is not so much that they're getting ever-bigger, but that in our global marketplace, the technology used in high-efficiency European rides is not only available to our automakers, but probably produced by them as well -- just not here.

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By transitory (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2008 at 12:14:23

A post-script. I'd love to see real movement on the Quebec City-Windsor high speed rail line. It's an idea so right that even Buzz Hargrove likes it.

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By transitory (anonymous) | Posted March 05, 2008 at 11:41:32

Spain's on board too!
tinyurl.com/2f8mog

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