Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On high-speed rail, you can travel like a king

After you read this article, you will have a better idea of what HSR actually means. I'm not saying that the proposed train for the Saudi monarchy will be the same as those running between San Francisco and Los Angeles (no gold-leafed ceilings), but what the CHSRA intends will certainly be first-class, premium trains, in every sense of that phrase.

Dear friends, high-speed rail is not the same as ordinary trains going faster. They are different. I don't understand why more people don't get the luxury aspects of high-speed rail.  Going at such speeds is exorbitant. It's extremely costly to build and to operate.  And therefore, ticket prices will have to be a lot higher than those currently suggested for the California train, scheduled to begin operations in 2033.  And, in order to get enough passengers, they will still have to manage ticket costs by supplementing them with additional government subsidies.  

I  keep saying that this is going to be a luxury train for the affluent and professionals on corporate expense accounts. Doesn't the "Party of the People" care about that as they persist in supporting the development of this top-of-the-line mode of travel?

All of us are going to be obliged to pay to build and operate a fancy train available only to some of us. It sounds down-right un-American. 

We are not China.  We are not Saudi Arabia.  We are a Democracy.  When our government spends our tax dollars upon infrastructure projects, those must serve all of us, not merely some of us, especially those that are well off and need it the least.  Think Energy, Water, Highways. Public utilities that serve all of us.  The greatest good for the greatest number.

This train, intended for California, will not be that.  HSR does not do that anywhere it is now operating.  Of all the critical problems facing us today, the lack of high-speed train is the most trivial. 

Saudi King to have 300 km/h high speed VIP train
by CW Staff on Dec 6, 2011

Saudi-Spanish Al-Shoula consortium has revealed it is to build a VIP train for King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz al-Saud as part of the Haramain rail project.

The consortium said the train was stipulated as part of the $9.3 billion contract to build the Makkah-Medina rail link. The company said that the design will be based on the other rolling stock it is making for the project, but it will be formed of 13 coaches and but the d├ęcor will be considerably “more lavish interior decor featuring plentiful gold leaf, especially on the ceilings”.

This train will have an audience chamber, a bedroom, two suites for special guests, a dining lounge, and meeting rooms. The train will be able to accommodate up to 30 people and have its own hybrid power supply to enable it to run should power be cut from the main line. It will also be able to run on the high speed line or on other conventional lines.

While giving details of the second phase of building the network, Al-Shoula consortium said trains for the project are being built in southern Spain.

Five trains will arrive at or depart from Makkah per hour. The group is also designing and constructing a maintenance workshop in Makkah, a second-level maintenance workshop at on the line, plus an engine shed in Medina. It is also supplying two relief vehicles and a workshop train, which will put out to tender at a later date.

All the trains will be equipped with air-conditioning systems and will be fully sealed to prevent sand from entering. The air-conditioning will continue to work even during a power cut. The trains will offer three classes: first, business and economy.

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