This is a picture of a bullet train that Japan was using in the ’70s. (Photo by Ben Salter.)

Continuing the recent trend of zombies in the news: High-speed rail in America isn’t dead after all.

This morning, Amtrak released a proposal for a $151 billion high-speed line in the Northeast. From Talking Points Memo:

The proposed high-speed rail line would travel at top speeds of 220 miles-per-hour in some sections and be able to deliver passengers from Washington, D.C. to Boston in a little over 3 hours.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Travel times between other major Northeastern cities would be shortened even more markedly, with travel times between New York and Boston or New York and Washington, D.C. down to 94 minutes, and a little over a half-hour between New York and Philadelphia.

(Please note: Amtrak’s existing high-speed rail, the Acela, is “high speed” in the sense that driving kind of fast is “high speed.”)

Probably don’t need to tell you to hold off on buying tickets. If Congress signs off, the soonest the line would be operational would be 2025. Also, the “if” in the preceding sentence is not only a big if, it is the Guinness Book of World Records’ record-holder for biggest if in the history of ifs. If it were a building, it would be Jupiter, if Jupiter were a building.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

This is what California’s high-speed rail system will look like, which, wow. (Click to embiggen.)

Not that elected officials won’t vote for high-speed rail! They just need to be lefty elected officials in hippie states like California.

California lawmakers gave the green light to start building the nation’s first dedicated high-speed rail line, a multibillion dollar project that will eventually link Los Angeles and San Francisco. …

In a narrow 21-16 party-line vote that involved intense lobbying by the governor, legislative leaders and labor groups, the state Senate approved the measure marking the launch of California’s ambitious bullet train, which has spent years in the planning stages.

Which means that California is actually going to start building this thing. The California High-Speed Rail Authority has a very cool trip planner feature at its website, featuring little animations of the rail coming to town with whole little neighborhoods popping up around the new stations. The first stretch of rail will go between Madera and Bakersfield, which should sell a few dozen tickets over a 50-year span.

True train junkies are, of course, holding out for the 2,500-mph New York-to-London super train that will never ever happen. Well, that’s not fair. It’s more likely to happen than the current Congress giving Amtrak $151 billion to improve travel times between New York City and Massachusetts.