This isn’t the MBTA or MBCR’s problem though. The issue is with Amtrak and more specifically their signalling system.
Apparently there was a failure of the switch elements near Canton Junction – at least judging by the number of Amtrak vehicles and personnel I saw this morning.
Now what I suspect caused the problem – we had three straight days of rain. Water and electronic and electric gear do not play well together.
But this told me we’ll never see true TGV or Shinkansen like speeds on the northeast corridor. The switching network is far too fragile.
Of course there are also co-workers of mine who say the tracks are too curved. But that’s the thing, the Acela trains were built with the ability to tilt into curves. ANd the power car is more than capable of speeds exceeding 200MPH. As I may have said before the power car is built by the same company that built the TGV in France, a company called Alstom.
So almost all the elements are in place for true high speed – but today I was reading that the next phase of the Japanese Shinkansen line will be a Maglev or Magnetic Levitation system. The thing about Maglev is that it has to be in a straight line, so they’re tunneling underground to build the new system. And it’s top speed will be somewhere in the 300MPH+ range. That is awesome. But we’ll never see it in the U.S. because for one, our politicians have no vision. And for two we insist that speeds below 200MPH are high speed. No they aren’t.
And the high speed – not just limited to the Acela trains. The big locomotives are more than capable of hauling ass at 150MPH themselves. It’s what you get when you hybridize a train.