Speaking at an American Public Transportation Association (APTA) conference in San Francisco a week or so back, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed light rail, commuter rail and other public transit as a way to save 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline per year.
Speaker Pelosi went on to talk about how high speed rail in California will create good paying jobs and boost the economy while relieving congestion on the highways and roadway of the state.
Pelosi says, “California will set a new golden spike for rail travel as we break ground on an 800-mile system with trains traveling speeds of 220 miles per hour, transporting passengers from the Transbay Terminal right here in San Francisco to Union Station in Los Angeles in just two and a half hours.”
Speaker Pelosi goes on to talk about the importance of new light rail systems for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping to limit the carbon footprint of the surrounding community.
What was missing for me, though, in this speech was that there was no mention of hydrail (hydrogen trains) as a valuable resource for zero emission rail transportation. Any speech about trains helping to save gasoline, cut emissions and reduce our carbon footprint needs to mention hydrail by name as specific technology that will do just this. Electric trains were also not mentioned probably because of the extraordinarily high taxpayer dollars associated with the electrified third rail or overhead power lines making them cost prohibitive.
One would think, though, that since California has jumped in feet first in regard to hydrogen cars, trucks, buses and fueling stations, that hydrogen trains would be a natural partner of this same Hydrogen Highway rollout plan on the West Coast.
Perhaps Pelosi hasn’t been informed about this exciting new hydrail technology that isn’t so new anymore. Or, perhaps it was simply an oversight from the Speaker. No matter. For hydrail to become a reality it needs powerful politicians like Pelosi onboard this hydrogen train promoting it at every whistle stop she visits.
The politicians of the old days jumped aboard locomotives to get their message out. It would be a great symbolic gesture if Speaker Pelosi would jump aboard a hydrogen train and do the same.