Amtrak testing high-speed trains in the Baltimore area

September 27, 2012 by  

Amtrak, the nation’s passenger rail system, announced on September 25 that it planned to test high-speed trains throughout Baltimore, which includes Pikesville, Maryland – a town that lies only ten miles from the city. Reacting to the announcement, a local transport expert enthused that it could have great economic benefits.

Given the choice between flying, driving, or taking the train, many people expressed a preference for rail travel, noting that driving is stressful and inconvenient. Nia Cole, who arrived in Baltimore’s Penn Station from New York, said drivers need to contend with worries about fuel, parking, and traffic congestion.

Flying presents another set of difficulties, said John Quinn, who also arrived from New York. Quinn said:

“The airports, going through all the security checkpoints, to and from long-term parking — it’s much easier in and out of train stations, in my opinion.”

High-speed rail is a proven success in countries such as Germany, France, and Japan. Amtrak hopes to improve its already existing high-speed service by, it says:

“…raising speeds from the current 130 mph to 220 mph over the next decade.”

This would have the effect of halving travel times, making rail travel even more attractive.

Better rail transport would mean better access to the area, including Pikesville. New businesses could start up with the assurance that they would have many more customers brought to them via Amtrak. These startups, as well as existing businesses, could take advantage of printers to create flyers and posters to draw consumers to their stores, as well as printing catalogs to describe merchandise in detail.