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UPDATED: October15th, 2012 - by High Speed Rail Canada or blog – Paul Langan, Founder High Speed Rail Canada 519-654-0089,

Canada is the only G8 country that does not have high speed rail. In our 2012 update, Canada falls even farther behind the rest of the G8 countries in high speed rail. Here is a summary of the facts.

Canada – None - The federal government has no plan for high speed rail and no money allocated. The latest current high speed rail studies done in Canada, (Windsor-Quebec City 2011 and Calgary – Edmonton 2009) have, like all previous others, been shelved and no action has been taken.

According to the Chief executive of VIA Rail Marc Laliberté, The fastest train that VIA RAIL runs has an average speed of about 115 kilometres an hour. VIA Rail in 2012 is cutting train service to the cities of Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper, Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax, London, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Kitchener, Guelph, Sarnia and London. VIA is closing the railway station in Kitchener. VIA is also cutting 200 jobs.

The Federal Conservative government is cutting VIA Rail subsidies by $41 million in three years.

France – For 30 years, a world leader in high speed rail, France has operated trains with speeds ranging from 200-320 km/h, over 98 million passengers rode the high speed trains in 2008.

As of 2011 there are over 2,037km of high speed track exist with more lines planned. They have three more lines planned with train speeds of 300-350 km/h. Their safety record is impressive.

Germany – Another leader in high speed trains beginning in 1991, their ICE trains travel are certified to travel at 330 km/h. Average speeds are between 250-3oo km/h. High speed lines exist from Hanover-Würzburg, Stuttgart-Mannheim, Hanover-Berlin, Köln (Cologne)-Frankfurt and Nürnberg-Ingolstadt.

Two additional 300 km/h high speed lines at Nuremberg–Erfurt and Erfurt–Leipzig/Halle are expected to be completed within the next two years.

Italy – Italy’s high speed rail network is growing. The first high speed trains in Italy were in 1997. There now consists 7 government run high speed rail lines of approximately 1000 km.

Italy also has a private high speed rail company Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV) that started in 2011 using Alstom’s new AGV train. Train speeds average around 300km/hr.

Japan – Started in 1964, has an extensive HSR system throughout the country. The Japan Bullet trains are called (shinkansen). Their safety record is remarkable. On some lines, high speed trains run every three minutes. Even more amazing is their on time performance. The trains on average are within 6 seconds of their scheduled time. Japan’s high speed trains travel between 200-300 km/h approximately.

Six high speed lines operate in Japan with two more extensions currently planned. Total length of their high speed rail network is approximately 2,300 km.

Russia – Russia has three high speed rail lines Saint Petersburg-Moscow, Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod and Helsinki Finland to St. Petersburg. Train speeds are in the 200-250km/h range.

A future high speed rail line is planned to be built near the existing Helsinki to St. Petersburg on its on dedicated track. The current high speed rail line runs on existing mix freight passenger rail line with many level crossings.

United Kingdom – There are 4 rail lines that run intercity trains that fall barely under the category of high speed rail. These trains travel at a maximum of 201kph. (200 km/hr is considered the low end of the definition of high speed rail).

The only true high speed rail line in Britain –High Speed Rail 1 (part of what was called Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Paris/London) runs a mixture of 300 km/h (186 mph) Eurostar international services and 225 km/h (140 mph) Southeastern passenger services. In January 2012 a ₤33bn high speed rail plan has been approved by the government.

USA – The USA has the Acela Express which Amtrak runs in the Northeast Corridor which can get up to speeds from 120-217 km/h with a top speed of 240kph. Amtrak currently has recorded a high in passenger rider ship with over 31 million this past year. Amtrak has plans for high speed rail lines in its north-east corridor.

In 2008 President Obama announced requests for proposals for high speed rail funding. This has lead to a rail revival in the USA. It must be stated that the vast majority of proposals being approved for HSR funding has been to reduce congestion and incremental improvement in speed on existing mixed freight/passenger rail corridors has taken off in the USA.

California has been on the forefront in the USA for a new high speed rail corridor.