Updated: May 19, 2021
In the UK, tunnelling has started on the HS2 project, while at the same time a significant number of high speed trains have had to be taken out of service as cracks have been found in the underframes, causing major service disruptions. .
The situation in the US is mixed. Some progress has occurred with the planned Dallas – Houston high speed line and the Las Vegas – California line, but the Federal Government’s $2.3 trillion Infrastructure stimulus bill focuses on expanding the conventional AMTRAK system and services and has largely ignored high-speed projects.
Finland and Estonia have signed an MOU proposing an under-sea rail tunnel link between Helsinki and Talinn, which if built would be the longest tunnel in the world at over 100 km. . In France, the Government has introduced legislation limiting short-haul air flights where trains provide an alternative.
Meanwhile in Spain, SNCF has introduced budget-priced services between Barcelona and Madrid, in competition with Spanish high-speed trains. Spain therefore joins Italy in having competitive high-speed trains services on the same route.
In Japan a study has looked at the effect of the Shinkansen on employment distribution .
In Western Sydney a recent study found people were more productive working from home than in the office in the CBD, prompting interest in developing local suburban employment hubs to reduce commuting distances.