lunes, julio 21, 2008

El renacimiento del tren en el mundo

Jochem D Wijnands / Getty Images

Volar cada día es más caro, lo que ha provocado que empresas y viajeros volteen a ver a esa invención del siglo XIX que da más por menos: el ferrocarril. Este artículo de Newsweek habla por ejemplo de la nueva conexión rápida entre Beijing y Hamburgo, pasando por Moscú. En un futuro no será difícil viajar sin parar de Londres a Tokio, si varios protectos de interconexión se realizan. Copio un fragmento:

If the cargo aboard a freight train that rolled into Hamburg, Germany, earlier this year—a mixed load of clothes, ceramics and electrical goods—looked unremarkable, its arrival heralded the start of a new era. The train, an experimental service run by an international alliance of railway operators, including Germany's Deutsche Bahn and the Russian and Chinese State railway companies, had traveled 10,000 kilometers direct from Beijing, taking half the time needed to reach Germany by sea. The alliance's aim by next year: a regular freight shuttle service that will undercut airline shipping on price.

It's an extreme example of how rail is resurging around the world. The trend, fueled by concern over the environment and frustration with the hassles and congestion of road and air travel, has been building for some time. But in recent months, interest has exploded thanks to the rising price of oil. "The whole movement to rail is going to accelerate because we are now facing an energy crisis and an environmental crisis at the same time," says Guillaume Pepy, president of the French state-owned rail company SNCF, and chairman of Eurostar. Businesses and commuters eager to save money on fuel are opting for train travel, which can be exponentially more efficient than a car or plane journey, particularly as distances grow. For example, even a diesel locomotive at its most efficient can move a ton of weight 436 miles on a single gallon of fuel, according to the American Association of Railroads, making a full train about 10 times thriftier than a hybrid car, let alone a typical 18-wheel truck. "Hands down, traveling by rail is the most fuel-efficient and least carbon-intensive way you can go," says Nancy Kete, director of the World Resource Institute Center for Sustainable Transport.

As the real-world cost of carbon increases, not least because of growing regulation (most notably European Union controls on emissions), it's no wonder that a host of new investors are pouring money into rail travel, and engineers across the world are laying fresh tracks to carry a generation of faster and lighter trains. Europe alone should see 6,000 kilometers of new high-speed line by 2010; China aims to complete 10,000 kilometers by 2020. Even in the United States, where car culture has resulted in years of rail neglect, there's talk of a new package of government subsidies for rail giant Amtrak (which has seen passenger numbers rise by 17 percent in the last two years). Says Gelfo Kroeger, a spokesperson for Deutsche Bahn, the German rail company behind the Beijing link: "We have companies looking at us now who would never have looked at us before."

¿Y el prometido tren veloz entre México DF y Guadalajara? Bien gracias, dice Hacienda, con calculos de 2006. Yo de niño viajé en pullman a Guadalajara, y ya no existe. El gobierno federal no entiende el error que hizo al suprimir esos servicios. Algo de lo bueno que se hizo en tiempos de Porfirio Díaz, pero que tontamente dejamos perder...

1 comentario:

Eduardo dijo...

A mi me gusto mucho la idea del peje de construir uno del df a la frontera, ojala y construyeran uno de Puebla a Panama, viajar hoy en dia dentro de un pais tan extenso como el nuestro es muy caro. Ni modo supongo que para un mexicano pobre si visita 6 estados en su vida ya es ganancia