Image via WikipediaSpain: The Next American System?
When President Barack Obama introduced his high-speed rail plan last year, he pointed to Spain — not only as an example to follow, but also as a country America has fallen behind. “In Spain, a high-speed line between Madrid and Seville is so successful that more people travel between those cities by rail than by car and airplane combined,” said the President, “There’s no reason why we can’t do this. This is America. There’s no reason why the future of travel should lie somewhere else beyond our borders.”
Spain opened its first Alta Velocidad Española, or AVE (meaning “bird” in Spanish), high-speed train route in 1992 — the same line President Obama referenced. The network has spread out since, with trains traveling at speeds up to 218 mph over 1,242 miles of rail from Malaga (the south coast) to Barcelona (the northeast coast) and points in between.