With performance characteristics well beyond all other forms of ground transportation, high-speed rail systems and vehicles are not designed, or intended to be integrated with any other transportation mode, land use or environmental setting. From most perspectives, and by most measures, high-speed rail systems are among the least adaptable of mass transportation modes. Engineering requirements of track, roadbed and right of way suitable for operation of massive trains at 200-300 miles per hour, combined with environmental and safety mitigating measures that must be employed along the entire path of high-speed travel, restrict the location and limit performance to a rather narrow range of possible routes and zones of operation.
Existing railroad track systems and equipment are not capable of supporting the much greater stresses and performance demands of high-speed trains, while the locations of established track systems in any but remote, rural settings are not adaptable to the intense effects and impacts of high-speed train operation. Therefore, existing train rights of way and track systems are marginally adaptable to introduction of high-speed trains, while the impacts of high-speed train operation along established and historic railroad routes will extend well beyond the right of way and property limits of existing railroads.
To achieve reasonable compatibility between high-speed trains and the environments through which they travel, new locations and routes must be established with particular attention to limiting negative and damaging impacts of high-speed train operations over extended periods of time. Wherever such impacts are unavoidable, or not subject to mitigation, the location of high-speed rail facilities may not be practical or justifiable. Once located and built, high-speed rail systems are not subject to relocation or extensive mitigation of unanticipated negative effects on surrounding environmental conditions or settings. Extensive planning and precautions must be exercised in determining the optimal location of high-speed rail facilities and services. The greatest adaptability of high-speed rail trains is likely to be achieved through variability in operating speed, wherever reduced speeds can lessen the impacts of massive vehicles passing through stationary settings.
US manufacturing and transportation industries are marginally adaptable to production of high-speed rail equipment and systems for domestic applications, and would be a noncompetitive duplication of existing state of engineering technology in service world-wide. State of engineering high-speed trains developed in Europe and Asia are easily adaptable extensions of long-existing rail networks, and the established industrial manufacturing processes that sustain national rail industries.
*Run planned CA Valley HSR route video