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Spain, Trains and Money Drains

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Spain, described by the New York Times as an "enthusiastic latecomer to high-speed rail," could be the model for the US and its recent rail-boosting measures, according to the paper. Looking at the country's Alta Velocidad Española (AVE) rail, a project that'll have 10,000 kilometers of track by 2020, the paper notes the train is "prompting traditionally home-bound Spaniards to move around for work or leisure." There is a downside, (and one that's particularly important to cash-strapped California), according to Iñaki Barrón de Angoiti, director of high-speed rail at the International Union of Railways in Paris. He tells the paper: "High-speed rail is good for society and it’s good for the environment, but it’s not a profitable business,” said Mr. Barrón of the International Union of Railways. He reckons that only two routes in the world — between Tokyo and Osaka, and between Paris and Lyon, France — have broken even." [NY Times]