The 21st Show

Best of: Why is the US behind with developing the world’s fastest high-speed trains?

A grey Amtrak train waits at a station

Amtrak train waiting at the station (Amtrak)

Illinois politicians have celebrated the upgraded train speeds of 110 miles per hour from Chicago to St. Louis. But compared to Europe’s High-speed trains of over 200 mph, why is the U.S. far behind in modernizing its rail system?

We explore why the rail systems in Europe and Asia travel faster than the U.S. We also reflect on why the U.S. train system continues to fall behind, despite the recent flush of funding from the federal infrastructure bill. Lastly, we ask how the U.S. can catch up in modernizing its train system, making it more accessible to low-income and the working class.


Rick Harnish
Executive Director, High-Speed Rail Alliance

Versions of this conversation originally aired on June 13th, 2023 and August 16, 2023.