Some interesting stories for a lazy Sunday afternoon:
- Basque separatist extremists are targeting high speed rail, including killing a businessman working on the project, as part of a response to aggressive efforts by the Spanish government to break ETA. According to the Guardian article ETA and other Basque separatist groups claim that the "Basque Y" is going to destroy the environment and screws over rural Basques whose land is being taken for the project. What that article doesn't say clearly is that many in ETA and among their supporters are concerned that the Basque Y, once completed and linked to Madrid, will further solidify the region's connection to the rest of Spain and undermine what remains of the Basques' separateness. The determination of the Spanish government to go ahead with the project despite some local opposition then gets used by ETA to rally public support which has been declining significantly in recent years. Hopefully the project will go ahead as planned.
- On a more positive note the "Red Arrow" Milan-Bologna HSR line opened yesterday, and DoDo at the European Tribune has a great overview not just of the service but of the history of Italian high speed rail, which is lesser known than its other European counterparts despite Italy having a longer history and having provided true HSR service ahead of even France's TGV (I'm as guilty here as anyone in not giving Italy its HSR props). DoDo also describes the future development of Italian HSR, its connections to Europe, and Ferrari's entrance into the HSR industry.
- Frequent commenter BruceMcF has the third installment of his electric rapid rail series up at Daily Kos, this one focusing on electrification of STRACNET for freight and passengers.