John R. Stilgoe, Robert and Lois Orchard Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Graduate School of Design, predicts that trains will once again play a key role in shaping American life. Based on an analysis of real estate investment patterns along railroad corridors, Stilgoe predicts that trains will make an important comeback, and not only for long distances but also back for freight, mail and express packages.

Stilgoe's arguments are based on the increase of estate prices along railroad lines. According to him, investors are purchasing everything from derelict buildings to gravel plots, which can be easily transformed into parking lots when the time is right, and he expects the time will be right when there are 150 million more Americans (i.e., 2050). By then, no more land will be available for roads, and available roads will be full (see also: Europe). Not to mention that if these new railways can get speeds above 90mph, the notions of urban and extra-urban settlement will be altered. According to Stilgoe, motorists will switch cars to railroads because the more gasoline costs, the cheaper traveling by train becomes (although you should see how expensive is in London, UK). So is the train going to make a comeback in the U. S.? In some areas they already have. One successful example is the Rail Runner service in Albuquerque, N. M.

  • Image Credit: Photo by gilbrit. Licensed under Creative Commons
  • Image Credit: Photo by maria_keays. Licensed under Creative Comm
  • Image Credit: Photo by gilbrit. Licensed under Creative Commons
  • Image Credit: Photo by kyle simourd. Licensed under Creative Com
  • Image Credit: Photo by sheilaellen. Licensed under Creative Comm
  • Image Credit: Photo by sheilaellen. Licensed under Creative Comm
  • Image Credit: Photo by sheilaellen. Licensed under Creative Comm

[Source: Harvard University Gazette (thanks to my buddy Pete for the tip)]

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