Could China’s High-Speed Rail Crash Impact Support in the US?

Do you remember the Concorde.  It was the talk of the airline industry in the late 90’s.  However, on July 25, 2000, the Concorde crashed shortly after takeoff and the airliner never fully recovered and the Concorde retired three years later.

This experience can highlight the risks with high-speed travel.  The concode was revolutionary in that it could get from Paris to New York in about half the time of other airlines.  Even to this date, the Concorde remains the only supersonic plane to have ever successfully operated commercial service.

In the railroad industry, high-speed rail is the current hot topic.  But many wonder if an accident would derail the plans for high-speed rail in the US.   On Saturday, July 23, two high speed-rail trains collided near the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang.  It was a horrific accident as almost 200 people were injured and 33 people were killed.

The train was part of the D-series trains which travel over 150 miles per hour.  China, which has been a leader in the development of high-speed trains, has been able to do it in a very safe manner.  This crash, along with other technical problems, and customer complaints, have certainly put a damper on China’s high-speed rail endeavors.

It is unclear yet if this crash will effect support for high-speed rail in the US.  It most likely won’t have a dramatic effect considering that the plan for the development of high-speed rail has a multitude of hurdles before it begins across the country.  However, these accidents do reinforce the importance of safety.

With airlines, it has been said that each crash makes flying safer because airplane makers and airlines know how to fix what before was a safety risk.  However, with the concorde, the crash helped to completely derail the industry.  And if our country is going to make high-speed rail a reality, we are going to have to do everything in our power to ensure safety.  after all, the plans already has many who firmly don’t support it – and if there was ever a crash, these groups would only grow stronger and stronger.


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