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Need For Speed: High Speed Trains

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The Need for Speed

        The desire to innovate and to improve is one of the most precious human feelings because it is this very same desire that has paved the road to progress in society. At the outset, the first trains were useful but not efficient enough that people could ride on them: only goods and commodities could be transported. One of the reasons why is because safety and comfort weren't a top priority for the railroad owner; he or she just wanted to maximize his or her profit. Then, James Watt and his steam engine came about and rocked the world into the Industrial Revolution, a time when railroads were constantly being built all over Europe. Cities grew, economies boomed and busted, and economies and cultures became intertwined so that a small business man who lives in Lille, France or Barcelona, Spain had to travel to Ukraine or Italy for a business deal as quickly as possible (as quickly as possible since now, as opposed to the relaxed and laid back past, time is money). So engineers were needed to devise a train that could travel at very fast speeds while keeping energy consumption as low as possible.

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        Specifically, the invention of the  high speed train has revolutionized long distance ground transportation since it has provided people with a much faster way to travel, sometimes cutting a seven hour long trip to three hours! However, to reduce such a trip so significantly, the path from city to city (in this place Boston to Washington D.C.) must be as direct as possible [2]. This means that in some cases a tunnel must be built through a mountain to allow for a high speed train to pass through the mountain and get to its destination as quickly as possible.

        In terms of high speed trains, there are many different types, each with its advantages and disadvantages. For example, the world renown TGV  It has huge advantage in that it can use the same railroad lines as local trains so the cost of making railroad tracks is reduced. However, one of the disadvantages is that using these same train tracks, just the mere fact that the TGV uses the same tracks  as local trains means that the TGV limits the size and specifications of local trains because the wake of the TGV causes a wind tunnel that affects the trains behind it. [1] [2]

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        In conclusion, the fact remains that the fast paced society of today has geared people to want to do everything more quickly. Following this train of thought, it makes sense that high speed trains are the future in transportation. Throughout history, people have shown a want, a need for speed.

Works Cited

[1] Fox News. Associated Press. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,263542,00.html (accessed July 15th, 2012)

[2] Plumer, Brad. The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/16/amtraks-151-billion-high-speed-rail-plan-are-there-cheaper-options/ (accessed July 15th, 2012)

[3] European Railway Server. TGVweb. http://www.trainweb.org/tgvpages/history.html(accessed July 17th, 2012)

[4] http://www.buzzle.com/articles/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-maglev-trains.html

[5] Railway-Technology.com. On Track. http://www.railway-technology.com/features/feature117829/(accessed July 15th, 2012)

[6] James, Randy. Time U.S. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1892463,00.html (accessed July 16th, 2012)

[7] Bopp, Rudolf; Hagenah, Bernd. Gruner. http://www.gruner-gmbh.at/aktuelles_gmbh_at/pdf_pool/D_HAB_Porto.pdf

[8] Raghunathan, Raghu S.; Setoguchi, T. Progress in Aerospace Sciences. Aerodynamics of high-speed railway train http://ompldr.org/vMXlsOA/Aerodynamics_HSR02.pdf

[9] Hoffman, Carl. Popsci: Trans-Atlantic Maglev. http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2004-04/trans-atlantic-maglev

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