Saturday, April 10, 2021
"What we're really doing is raising the bar on what we can imagine," Biden said in remarks at the White House on Wednesday afternoon. "Imagine a world where you and your family can travel coast to coast without a single tank of gas on a high-speed train close to as fast as you can go across the country in a plane."
For context, the fastest speed that a train has ever achieved"not while carrying passengers, mind you, but just as an experiment"is 357 mph. Over long distances, while carrying passengers and making stops at stations, the world's speediest train is China's Beijing to Nanjing line, which runs at slightly less than 200 mph. Meanwhile, the average speed of a commercial jet in the United States is about 500 mph.
But the more important point has nothing to do with racing trains against planes. Biden's comments on Wednesday are part of a grand tradition of overpromising the potential of high-speed rail"though he might have set a new record for the widest gap between imagination and reality.
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