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August 23, 2007



Every time Amtrak has a press release they always show images of highly refined, sophisticated wonders of engineering. And then when the finished product is revealed it’s always clunky, awkward and poorly designed. The attached photo looks like a hot concept - straight out of a modern, Scandinavian design mag. What happens between schematics and production every time?

Collin S. Ferguson

I love all this talk about regional rail in Cascadia, but I have a couple of problems: 1. Cascadia would only be improving outdated technology, and 2. The 1-5 corridor is the only thing that is getting attention.

I support throwing out the Amtrak monopoly, but the only way that will happen is if other corporations demand an opportunity to compete. That hasn't been the case until recent with the gas price hikes. I wish airline companies would take the lead. The future of air travel is continental and galatic-al. Inner land travel needs to be rail, or rather mag-rail.

Magplanes are the future trains, but god bless America for leading the way into yesterday's technology. Yeah, we should build steel rail and travel 200 miles per hour or more slower than Japan and France. And yeah, that will look good to investors. Recently, the magnetic magplanes hit a land speed record of 350mph. I heard from a State of Washing Department of Transporation Executive that the best an improved rail system from Portland, OR to Vancouver, B.C. would get is 110mph. Magplanes are expensive because they are new, but I bet one day someone invents a magplane that beats the sound barrier while the Pacific Northwest will be seeking to bring back the steam engine. Everyone should visit www.magplane.com and seriously start talking about investing in tomorrow's technology.

The next topic is the bioregion of Cascadia. Why is it that we're only talking about improving the rail connection between Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver? What about Idaho and Montana? What about Northern California? The future of the urban city is the smaller 30,000 to 60,000 population city. We will need a high-speed rail system to connect all of these satellites that are spread out over the entire bioregion of Cascadia.

Collin S. Ferguson

Check out this Washington Department of Transportation website:



Andrew, good point about the technology. I should point out that I'm the one responsible for the space-age image above.

Collin, I think the trick is figuring out how to pay for it. We're using existing technology because it's realistic. If we redirected some of the subsidy to freeways to trains the efficiency would go up. Plus, there would be benefits like curbing sprawl and cutting pollution.

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