The distance from Los Angeles to New York is 2800 miles — which makes high-speed rail impossible in the USA. At least, that is what Megan McArdle argues in the Atlantic:
Yesterday, we rode the high speed rail from Hangzhou to Shanghai. It took 45 minutes to go about 110 miles, and the ride was smoother than any US form of transportation…Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re going to get it. To see why, compare the map of the 10 biggest cities in China:
The crux of her argument is that America’s 10 largest cities are more spread out than China’s 10 largest cities. Why is high-speed rail limited to only the 10 largest cities…who knows?
For comparison, here is a map of Europe’s 10 largest cities. I hear Europe has a network of high-speed trains too.
Those points in the upper northeast are Moscow and St. Petersburg. Over in the far southwest corner is Madrid. Distance from Madrid to Moscow is roughly 2500 miles. (No fair throwing Istanbul you say? Well, Turkey is building high-speed rail network too.)