California targeted for 'bullet' train

Nonstop from Los Angeles to San Diego in 59 minutes -- by train?

That's what the brand-new American High Speed Rail Corporation says will be possible in just six years, when the first ''bullet'' train in the United States starts up in the Los Angeles-San Diego corridor.

Plans to establish high-speed rail service in the United States -- the trains will cruise at 160 miles per hour -- have been announced by a group of private investors in cooperation with Amtrak (the federally subsidized National Railroad Passenger Corporation). They expect financing for the venture to be set by the end of the year and construction on the first bullet train route to begin early next year.

The new rail corporation's Los Angeles-San Diego route was selected based upon engineering and feasibility studies of California sites. The estimated 59 -minute ''downtown to downtown'' travel time for the planned bullet train service compares with approximately 2 hours, 40 minutes for an express train today. Other routes being considered are between Miami and Tampa, Fla., between Dallas and Houston, and several possible routes out of Chicago.

At a New York news conference March 31, Lawrence D. Gilson, vice-president of Corporate Development at Amtrak and president of the American High Speed Rail Corporation, said he believes that once bullet train service is established in California, ''the demand will be great for other routes around the country.''

Construction of the Los Angeles-San Diego route will cost about $2 billion.

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