Originally Posted by Gravy
Also, do you really think that a vehicle system transporting maybe 500 or more passengers traveling at 170 mph is going to be accessed without a similar airplane security system evolving around it? In fact, with today's airplane security seemingly highly effective, an unprotected high-speed train would be very high on the target list.
The danger posed by a hijacked train is much, much smaller than that posed by a hijacked plane. Simply put, a hijacked train can't be driven into the White House. Planes are dangerous because, as we saw in 9-11, they can be used as weapons against other targets. Thus, the speed of the train has little to do with how attractive it is to terrorists. It is simply a box carrying passengers, just like any train or subway that moves at 50 mph. The only differences would be that an attack on the high-speed train would make for a flashier news blurb and presumably more of the passengers would die if the high-speed train derailed.
I'm familiar with Spain's high-speed AVE train. The security check process includes walking through a metal detector and having your luggage passed through an x-ray scanner. However, the lines are not nearly as long. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that the number of high-speed trains departing from a given station is very small compared to the number of planes departing from a major airport.