TurboTrain - Canada's bold 1960's High Speed Rail Attempt

It crashed into a meat truck on its maiden press junket run. The Walrus, a great Canadian magazine, chronicles how Canada was only the 2nd country to attempt high speed rail in "Off the Rails:How Canada fell from leader to laggard in high-speed, and why that needs to change rail". It was four short years after Japan rolled out the Bullet Train. Too bad the TurboTrain crashed into a meat truck at a grade crossing back in 1968.

Canada is now the only G8 country without high speed rail.... if you consider those dozen or so miles Acela reaches 120+ mph in Rhode Island as high speed.

Actually the best thing in this article, after the great cover graphic, is the graph showing the difference in real travel time between two cities. The two cities in the diagram (see below) are Calgary and Edmonton. At 300km distance, its about half the distance of LA to San Francisco, or the same as SF to Fresno, or New York to Baltimore.

Courtesy The Walrus, Design by Rachel Tennenhouse and Paul Kim; research by Katie Addleman

Note that although flying is faster than driving both driving and flying are much more time consuming than taking high speed rail, even if you add a bus ride and a walk to HSR. More to the point, if you can hold off on the bathroom break while driving, it will take the same time as flying. Also, it appears that folks in Canada may be allowed to carry firearms on flights by the looks of what's in the suitcase.

For California High Speed Rail, when fully built out, just multiply the times shown by 1 1/2 for the equivalent for San Francisco to Los Angeles. And yes, that means bathroom pit stops take up one hour on a 7 hour car trek.

Let the comments flow. What makes this graphic great both from a basic message to its style. What could be made bettter or funnier? Let's hear from you in the comments.

April 14: to see images of the Turbo Train and other strange looking mid-century modern trains, check out the recent post "Get your locomotive on..."
Courtesy: Guy Billout


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