The first thing the California High-Speed Rail Authority tells you about the late July train wreck outside the Spanish pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela is that “the system there is not true high speed rail.”
That’s because the train that derailed while carrying pilgrims and commuters had a top speed of just 150 mph, compared to the projected ceiling of 220 mph for California’s planned bullet train.
But there may still be a lesson for the nascent California system, whose construction might begin early next year on a 130-mile stretch from Madera to Bakersfield: It could pay to dispense with some of the intermediate stops now planned during the run between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
What do stations in Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield and San Jose have to do with a crumpled train and at least 79 fatalities in Spain? ...