There are plenty of high speed trains worldwide such as in China, Japan, and Europe, but America doesn't even have one, except on the Northeast Corridor from Boston to Washington.
Some portions of the Acela Express service corridor could have claimed a legitimate high speed designation if they had existed back in the mid 1960's when Acela level speeds were still considered cutting edge. A half century later in 2016 there is no reason to call Acela high speed anything.
Does anyone know how long it's going to possibly take to bring High Speed Rail to North America, including Canada, whether for regional service or long-distance service, as well as freight service? It would also be nice to have high speed freight service, because they could move freight faster and more efficiently.
At this point the only remaining proposals are in California (government funded) and Texas (privately funded) and both are likely to suffer continued delays and setbacks by anti-rail and anti-public-service groups and politicians. At the moment I'd put the best case scenario for a single Tokyo to Osaka equivalent distance trip somewhere in the ballpark of 2030.
And if they ever bring high speed rail, why is it preferred to use electricity instead of diesel? I personally think diesel is better than overhead wires. And also, the locomotive manufacturers are making diesel locomotives that are a whole lot cleaner for the environment.
In simple terms electricity is what turns the wheels regardless of the original power source. Using a conventional diesel engine to create the electricity adds more weight, more moving parts, reduces general efficiency, limits the maximum horsepower, and releases greater volumes of more destructive pollution than most forms of large scale energy generation.
The biggest difference that causes high speed rail to be a nonstarter in North America is the massive distances between cities and the lack of critical population density.
Although a nationwide system of high speed rail that crisscrossed the entire country is likely to remain impractical there are several large cities in the US that have all the traits necessary to benefit greatly from regional high speed rail links. What makes the US transportation landscape unique isn't our size or our density but rather our willingness to meekly accept permanent defeat before we even bother to try. What the US has that no other industrial country seems to share is a rather large contingent of anti-rail partisans who cannot be reasoned with and will simply make up excuses to avoiding funding passenger rail under any circumstances.
Edited by Devil's Advocate, 19 February 2016 - 10:23 PM.