A Bullet Train from Los Angeles to… New York?


Today was the official announcement from the White House of a new national high speed passenger rail network. A network of 10 regional corridors, including the California Corridor connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego. A network that leaves some glaring gaps on the map.

Now may be a good time for California to start looking even further ahead. As the current plans stand, the California Corridor stands alone, isolated from the rest of the nation. The first logical step would be a connection with the Pacific Northwest Corridor, with its currently planned terminus in Eugene, OR.

But, here is the bigger question. Which route would really fire people up? Which project would generate a national sense of pride, not to mention unprecedented job creation and economic – dare I say it – stimulus?

High speed rail from Los Angeles to New York.

The idea of any major rail network is to connect major destinations. With construction of the planned Chicago Hub Network and the Northeast’s Keystone Corridor, we’re already halfway there. We need to start thinking about how we can connect the California Corridor to the Hub, which is currently terminating in Kansas City. Los Angeles – Las Vegas – Denver – Kansas City.

This marks an exciting day for anyone who travels. A true, national high speed rail network. A network that will probably be completed before the Metro Purple Line even reaches Westwood.

9 thoughts on “A Bullet Train from Los Angeles to… New York?”

  1. LA to NY by high speed rail? 30 years overdue if it was running tomorrow. Wasn’t America where the future actually happened, once upon a time?

  2. They said the LA to SF high-speed train would take two and a half hours and cost $55. If you extrapolate that the increase in time and cost would be proportional to the increased distance, an LA to NY trip would probably be over $500 (for a one-way trip) and take 24 hours. Who would choose to do that rather than fly? Personally I think I’d even rather fly to San Francisco. The train only really makes sense over shorter distances (a 90-minute $30 trip to Vegas would be useful).

  3. I would presume some kind of efficiency of scale on a longer trip. Plane flights don’t go up in price relative to the distance involved – at longer distances, the price per mile drops.

    Trains allow passengers to move serious amounts of baggage without excess fees, an area where airlines are currently gouging the heck out of customers. Trains also have larger seats, more seating options, onboard meal options and other amenities that planes just don’t have. You can do much more work on a train out of your laptop if you need to and the cost for putting wireless internet services on trains has got to be way, way cheaper than planes. There are a lot of reasons why train travel is efficient as an alternative to air travel.

  4. I think Kedrowss is mostly correct. Making an LA to NY high speed rail a goal is highly impractical for both time and cost reasons. Even the most comfortable of train trips become tiresome after 3 hours. And unless the cost is 50% or 25% of airline fares, there’s no way I can picture most people sacrificing 24 hours of their life for the trip, except for the occasional novelty.

    However, having a central hub, ie Kansas City, as mentioned, seems like a better goal, especially if the hub was a manufacturing center with plenty of convention services, a meeting place no further than a 12 hour ride from just about anywhere in the US. Costs would still have to undercut the airlines by a decent percentage, which will be the main factor in whether this becomes a success or failure.

  5. I should have been more clear. I wasn’t necessarily advocating for a direct, non-stop rail route from L.A. to NY.

    But, I think in the grand scheme of a national rail network, there should definitely be some thought given to connecting the West to the Chicago Hub. Otherwise, it’s not really a national network.

  6. I like it! WE are long overdue for a comprehensive high speed rail line. After taking Eurostar I’ve really wanted one here.

  7. I’m with Jason. I think anyone who’s seriously talking about a LA-NY high speed rail network is presuming that Chicago or Kansas City would become a central hub. I’m imagining most of the travel on high speed rail would be regional, but the option of going LA – NY, and ultimately, from any major city in America to any other, on a multi-legged trip would be there.

  8. Hauling freight via high speed rail might pay for the costs but you would have to overcome the protest by the truckers.
    The gap between Las Vegas and parts east is not a financially viable option for passengers. A high speed corridor is populated enough on the east coast but parts west of the Mississippi need to carry freight to make it cost effective.

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