Netherlands Taken for a Ride on the Fail Rail
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  • Robin Drooger

    “This is an embarrassment for the countries involved, but it is also a bad sign for similar projects in the US. If high speed rail isn’t working in one of the most densely populated and affluent corridors on Earth, and if Europeans with decades of experience can’t keep the service running, what does this tell us about California’s chances?”

    Jumping to conclusions here. There are many succesful high speed rail services all throughout Europe. The only thing the Dutch did wrong was to order their high speed trains (V250) from an inexperienced Italian manufacturer.

    • rheddles

      If by successful you don’t mean economically.

      • Robin Drooger

        There are various definitions of succesful. High speed train services in Germany (ICE) and France (TGV) are more comfortable, less wasteful, and – depending on the distance – faster than automotive or air travel.

        • rheddles

          With so many benefits, they should be making gobs of money.

          • Robin Drooger

            The economic benefits aren’t in the direct profits from running the trains, but from giving people a better way to travel in and out of major cities where the lionshare of jobs are. This is especially true in the case of Paris and the TGV.

        • Andrew Allison

          But not cost-effective.

          Why should all taxpayers pay to make the commute of some more comfortable. If the users were required to pay market rates, they wouldn’t use the services.

    • Andrew Allison

      What the Dutch did wrong was to try, and fail, to implement an economically viable project.

  • ljgude

    I’m a bit surprised that given the speeds I experienced on French rail in the 50s can be meaningfully bettered over a 127 mile route. Less than the gain afforded by the Concorde, which was scary edge technology, on the Atlantic run. Looks more like the law of diminishing returns to me, than dodgy Italian engineers.

  • bigfire

    High speed rail, or at least the version practiced by the enlighten crew here in California is never about riders. It’s still more economical and faster to just take a plane ride from Los Angeles to San Jose or San Francisco.

    It’s all about lining the pocket of the connected (Senator Feinstein’s husband is the one winning the bid, are you suprised?) and the unionized workers. Nothing else really matters.

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