This BBC article regarding a new French train speed record got me to thinking about our own railroads. When I was young, other countries citizens were reading about the state of the art developments in our country. Allowing our national railroad infrastructure to deteriorate is a major mistake. Other countries have developed their railroads, electrified them, made them functional for transporting people and goods.
Electrified railways can be powered by any energy source. With the exception of some urban light rail systems, our railways are not electrified. Instead, we depend upon diesel fueled locomotives to move our trains. 59% of our oil is imported from other countries. This is extremely damaging to our economy and national security. Burning producing, refining, and burning hydrocarbons is damaging to the global environment.
As the price of oil continues to increase, there will come a point when electrification starts to look like a good option. Problem is, when that time comes, resources to do so will be scarce because all of the money has been spent importing oil or prosecuting wars over the stuff.
Like fusion energy, this is an investment in our future that we should be making now. We need to know we can still move produce from the farms to our cities when diesel for trucks and existing trains runs out.