ShareThis Page
High-speed trains in U.S. may not be too far off |

High-speed trains in U.S. may not be too far off

| Wednesday, May 12, 2010 12:00 a.m

TOKYO — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood rode a 312-mph, magnetic-levitation train here Tuesday — stoking optimism that Japan may be able to sell the technology overseas.

“We are right at the beginning of an opportunity for American cities to be connected by high-speed trains,” LaHood said after his 27-minute ride at a test track in Yamanashi, west of Tokyo. “I’m delighted with this opportunity to really experience all the technology.”

Maglev trains float above the tracks and are propelled by magnetic currents.

LaHood visited the Central Japan Railway line as renewed U.S. spending on railways revives optimism about maglev projects, including a possible link between Washington and Baltimore.

The proposed line, costing about $5.8 billion, would cut the 40-mile journey to 18 minutes and could be extended to New York and Boston, according to a Maryland Department of Transport-backed group promoting the project.

Japan has pledged to support JR Central’s bid to build the Washington-Baltimore line, possibly including loans from a state-owned bank.

President Obama has approved $8 billion in federal funds for conventional and high-speed projects across the country.

Japan’s backing for maglev sales is part of wider U.S. efforts to help trainmakers compete with Germany’s Siemens AG, France’s Alstom SA, Bombardier of Canada and China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corp. in the United States.

LaHood said the United States would look at opportunities for maglev trains. He declined to comment on government backing for the Washington-Baltimore line.

“The only thing we ask of manufacturers — whether it’s maglev or other technologies – is to build factories in America and hire American workers,” he said.

The Baltimore-Washington line has been studied since 1994, according to the Federal Railroad Administration website. The line was expected to begin as early as this year, according to a timeline on the website.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.