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Commuter Heaven: 15-Minute Train Ride from Baltimore to DC

The Japanese government is offering the U.S. billions to help pay for the cost of constructing a high-speed rail line from Baltimore to Washington, D.C.

How likely is the U.S. to build a high-speed commuter rail line between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.? File | Patch
How likely is the U.S. to build a high-speed commuter rail line between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.? File | Patch

Japan has long been known for its high-speed commuter trains. With help from that country, could a 15-minute train commute from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., be in the offing?

The Japanese government is promising to lend the United States half of the billions of dollars needed to build the first “Super-Maglev” train, reports the Baltimore Business JournalMaglev is short for magnetic levitation, and denotes trains that run without clunky steel wheels. The high-speed train would cut the commute time between Baltimore and D.C. from one hour to a mere 15 minutes.

Japan is willing to provide more than $4 billion in loans to cover what it estimates is the $8 billion cost of installing the tracks, says the Business Journal. Eventually, a 453-mile track linking D.C. with Boston will be constructed.

However, Wayne Rogers, chairman of a project called TNEM -- for The Northeast Maglev -- told the Baltimore Sun that the Baltimore to D.C. section of high-speed rail is more likely to cost “somewhere north of $10 billion.” The extensive tunneling that would put more than 30 of its roughly 40 miles underground, avoiding Linthicum and other neighborhoods affected by an earlier plan, could increase the cost.

By Rogers’ estimates, tunneling costs alone could reach $4.5 billion to $6 billion, the Sun said.

Check out this YouTube video of what it's like to ride on one of Japan's superfast maglev trains.

Read the full Baltimore Business Journal story on its website.


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