Chances are, if you’re fond of traveling you’ve probably wondered why high-speed trains have existed in Europe and Asia for years, yet they’re non-existent here in the United States.
But the reality of a high-speed rail network is edging closer and closer. As Gizmodo reports, cities have already begun planning — and in some cases, already building — new stations in five cities across America. These stations will combine the old elegance of train travel with lightning fast speed — with the hope that in the future, these trains will be well used by passengers.
This year, Union Station in Los Angeles celebrates its 75th anniversary and with it comes a redesign. The plan includes stations for buses and trains plus a new subway system as well as bus, bike and pedestrian connections. Designed by Grimshaw Architects and Gruen Associates, the design also includes a high-speed rail terminal, as well as hotel and office towers, park land and better access to the neighborhoods surrounding the station and the nearby L.A. River.
Already under construction, the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco is going to be replaced by the new Transbay Transit Center — combining access to the Bay Area’s transit, including BART, Muni, and Caltrain, as well as accommodations for Amtrak trains and a possible high-speed rail. Cesar Pelli designed the new station — complete with a 5.4 acre public park on the roof — all of which are scheduled to open in 2017.
MORE: Thanks to Uncle Sam, Our Trains Are Finally Getting a Sweet Upgrade
Now that Denver’s new train station is complete, the Mile High city’s historic 1914 Union Station will become an area for shopping, restaurants and a boutique hotel. In turn, all modes of transit have been consolidated into this newly-designed spot, which also has room for offices and public space — all designed by SOM.
Down south, the first privately financed and run rail network in the U.S., All Aboard Florida, is invigorating its existing 235-mile railway, with plans to complete it by 2016. The train runs from Orlando to South Florida, ending in the brand-new hub designed by SOM that is planned for downtown Miami. Shopping and entertainment, plus a 80-story tower, will all be included in the complex.
Finally, Anaheim’s Regional Transportation Intermodal Center will open later this year, looking like a “translucent, glowing balloon” thanks to the ETFE polymer pillows. While the the improved local rail and bus connections help Orange County now, there are high hopes for California’s high-speed rail to begin here.