posted on Jul, 18 2011 @ 03:13 PM
Yes, there is a huge conspiracy against highspeed rail. It involves distracting truck drivers with their cell phones in order to run into the sides of
trains at crossings.
Though the first accident, where the truck nailed the side of the train is not very common, the second, where the locomotive impacts a vehichle at a
crossing is sadly quite common. Any accident involving a passenger train is usually covered in the media, but as you likely know, 98% of trains are of
the freight variety. When a freight train hits a truck, it is not usually covered in the media unless there was a large derailment and/or the truck or
train was carrying a HAZMAT load.
As for crossings, I have only worked on small railroads, but I was taught to start blowing the horn to signal for a crossing at about 25-30 seconds
away, and these were crossings with no gates. A gated crossing will start to flash and put down the gates within about the same timeframe, there is no
need for a truck driver to slam on his brakes unless he is not paying attention. Also, you are correct in that AMTRAK runs on the track of other
railroads, however while the railroad is responsible for the crossing signal, they have nothing to do with the speed limit on the road, but even going
65 mph, the truck has at least a 25 second warning.
On an interesting note, I was on a special train once with the president of a railroad and some VIPs, a so called business car train with old
passenger cars from the glory days of rail. One of them was of Canadian manufacture, I believe from 1910. While we were on the trip, the 2nd to last
car of the 4 car train was hit at a crossing by a guy driving a pickup who was quite drunk, as you might imagine. Luckily, the old Algoma Central car
only had its generator knocked off its underside.
And if you want to get into a consipracy about high speed rail, even the most ardent railfan will tell you it is a pipe dream. Even if we were to get
the highest of high speed trainsets, which would require building special tracks with no road crossings(via raised track and viaduct/underpass) it
would never be practicle in America. Our large cities are just too far apart, other than the east coast!