Is Indonesia About to Make a Costly High-Speed Rail Blunder?

The technology is untested and some of the investors are alleged scam artists, writes Yonah Freemark.

Published: 09-Jan-2010

By Yonah Freemark

A group of investors claims that it can build a 220-mile high-speed rail and utility transmission system for Indonesia by the end of 2011. If built, the $3 billion “Hydrogen Hi-Speed Rail Super Highway” (H2RSH) would shake up the transportation world, providing a material advance in the movement of both goods and people at an incredibly low cost and with few ecological consequences.

It sounds great, until you realize that the technology to be used for the line is untested and that some of the project’s investors have allegedly scammed several communities in the United States with schemes to recycle garbage.


Italy pioneered some of Europe's first high-speed rail lines.

New high-speed rail lines all over Europe are giving airlines serious competition.

SNCF TGV high-speed train in France.

French experience has shown that high-speed rail operates most effectively between large cities that are around 1,000 to 1,500 kilometers (600 to 930 miles) apart.

Illustration of what solar-powered bullet train might look like, courtesy of Raymond Wright.

The train would require 110 megawatts of electricity and would operate with solar power generated from overhead panels.


blog comments powered by Disqus