Discover the Most Feasible High-Speed Rail Routes in North America

Riley Sundew

Updated Tuesday, July 2, 2024 at 12:00 AM CDT

The conversation about high-speed rail in North America has been reignited by an intriguing map highlighting economically feasible routes across the continent. This map showcases connections between major cities in the United States, parts of Canada, and Mexico, using black lines to denote potential high-speed rail lines connecting various white-circled cities.

**West Coast Connections:**

San Francisco (SF) is shown connected to Sacramento (SAC), which further connects to Fresno (FRE). From Fresno, the route extends to Los Angeles (LA), which then splits into connections to San Diego (SD) and Las Vegas (LV). San Diego also connects southward to Mexicali (MXL).

**Midwest and Central United States:**

Chicago (CHI) emerges as a major hub with connections to Detroit (DET), Indianapolis (IND), Cleveland (CLE), and St. Louis (STL). St. Louis connects to Dallas (DAL), while Houston (HOU) has links to San Antonio (SA) and Austin (AUS). Austin connects back to Dallas, creating a loop of connectivity.

**East Coast Network:**

The northeastern region boasts a dense network. Boston (BOS) connects to Hartford (HFD) and Albany (ALB). Albany stretches to Toronto (TOR) and Rochester (ROC). Toronto further connects to Montreal (MTL) and Detroit. Rochester is linked to Pittsburgh (PIT) via Harrisburg (HBQ). New York (NY) has several connections: Hartford, Harrisburg, Philadelphia (PHI), and Washington D.C. (DC). Washington D.C. connects to Richmond (RVA), which then links to Charlotte (CLT) and Raleigh-Durham (RDU). Charlotte is connected to Atlanta (ATL).

**Southern United States and Florida:**

In the South, Atlanta connects to Orlando (ORL), which further connects to Tampa (TPA). The map indicates a high potential for tourism and business travel improvement with these connections.

**Public Reaction:**

The map has sparked heated discussions. One user notes, "High-speed and light rail projects have been routinely blocked or killed by Koch and other monied interests for decades." Another highlights the irony that "US was grown so quickly into the west because of railroads, and then the car and oil industry was allowed to bribe officials to make railroads go away." The need for high-speed rail is evident, but the economic and political challenges remain formidable.

A practical question arises: "What does 'economically feasible' mean for this map?" One user suggests that California's major cities are criminally unconnected by high-speed rail, criticizing Elon Musk for halting progress to benefit his car sales. Another user sees potential in the Texas triangle, noting, "The Texas triangle is how Southwest got their start."

The map also inspires regional desires, like extending lines to include cities such as Kansas City, Albuquerque, Denver, and more. One user argues, "Montreal to Toronto would have to stop in Ottawa," emphasizing the need for intermediate stops.


The prospect of high-speed rail in North America remains a tantalizing yet complex issue. While the map provides a hopeful vision of connected cities, realizing this vision requires overcoming significant economic, political, and social hurdles. The conversation continues as advocates push for a future where high-speed rail transforms travel across the continent.

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View source: Imgur

Top Comments from Imgur


High speed and light rail projects have been routinely blocked or killed by Koch and other monied interests for decades. Yes, we need them and yes, US passenger rail is a currently a joke but the wealthy seem to get to decide such things for the rest of us particularly when a proposed change threatens their revenue streams.


What's this? A reasonable look at high speed rail? FINALLY! The amount of people I've had to argue with about the efficacy of mass high speed rail is ridiculous. You can't have a stop in every single town, you are still going to need personal transit on some level, once you have enough people you can switch to buses, some more people and you can switch to metros, and finally if it's a massive amount of people THEN you can switch to high speed rail.


I find it interesting that US was grown so quickly into the west because of railroads, and then the car and oil industry was allowed to bribe officials to make railroads go away.


Why not STL to KC too?


Cries in pacific north-west


What does "economically feasible" mean for this map?


Invest in infrastructure that improves the country? Preposterous.


Montreal to Toronto would have to stop in Ottawa


Tampa to Orlando would be profitable day 1. Sooo many people drive between those 2 cities that I4 is a nightmare everyday


It would also be feasible at other locations. It doesn't have to be "economically feasible", neither are interstate highways. It's basic infrastructure. Just revamp Chicago--LA to a 200mph route, add overnight high-speed connections and you have some interesting options going.

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