It is estimated that high speed rail uses about 10% more energy per seat-mile than conventional rail, but that when you take into account that high speed rail would likely have a higher utilization rate than conventional rail on the same route (due to a faster travel time), high speed rail is estimated to be about 15% better in terms of GHG emissions per person-mile. Also, over the course of time, high speed rail (running on electricity) is likely to get more efficient as the grid becomes more clean, whereas conventional rail (using diesel) will stay just as inefficient.
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