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Dr. James K. Cohen
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In the early 1980’s, promoters who wanted to build new, very high speed, rail lines in states such as California, Florida, and Texas, were obliged to rely on foreign rail technology and expertise. This research Report explains how, when, and why that dependence developed, and assesses the problems associated with importing foreign technology. The research disputes the oversimplified notion that the decline of American passenger railroads in the 1950’s and 1960’s led directly to reliance on Japanese, French, and other foreign technology. In fact, starting in the 1930’s, American railroads and manufacturers were leading innovators in high speed technology, and Japan’s Bullet Train, which startled the world when launched in 1964, was based, in significant measure, on U.S. technology.