Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brazil's Bullet Train

Brazil's on-again, off-again bullet train project connecting Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo is back on again. A rail project you ask? Ten years into the 21st century?

Yes, it's a backwards, outdated project proposing expensive passenger rail transportation at a time when air transportation is not only faster, but cheaper and more efficient. Yes, it is more of a political move rather than an infrastructure necessity. Yes, thousands of innocent families will be booted out of their homes and paid 10 centavos on the dollar (Real) in the government's eventual appropriations. Yes, Brazilian taxpayers will be footing a large chunk of the bill with no clear benefit for them. Yes, small townships located on the proposed Rio-Sao Paulo line are already fighting to have the trains stop in their municipalities, taking the speed out of the bullet.

Here are some "bullet" points:
  • Government estimated costs of US$ 18.7 billion (triple that to get true estimation)
  • The company offering the lowest fare will win the bid for the 317 mile train
  • The winning (wink, wink) consortium will be announced on December 16th, 2010
  • President Lula expects the project to be delivered in 2016, just in time for the 2014 World Cup
  • Average train speed of 177mph
  • 82 miles of trajectory through tunnels
  • Trains leaving every 15 minutes
  • Passengers per train - 855
  • Estimated time from city to city - 85 minutes
  • Projected ticket price R$ 200 each way (US$ 115)
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