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Speaker - Chris Ott with the High-Speed Rail Alliance

Meeting: Tonight - Monday, Feb 19th, 6 pm (central),

PLEASE NOTE: early start time of 6pm

Zoom will also be available:


Meeting Agenda:

  • Plan for next week's

  • Speaker: Chris Ott from High-Speed Rail Alliance

  • What can be learned from model railroad shows


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Speaker: Chris Ott

Based out of Chicago, the High-Speed Rail Alliance has been an advocate dedicated to educating and advancing high-speed rail in the United States. For nearly 10 years, the Badger Rail Group has been attending the HSRA's events, and several WiHST alumni have joined HSRA's Ambassador's Committee.

On Monday, February 19th at 6 pm we will have Chris Ott from the High-Speed Rail Alliance talking to our group about not only the alliance but plans for bringing high-speed rail to the Midwest, and especially Wisconsin. This will be followed by an open discussion.

Some of the subjects that group members might find of interest from HSRA include:


Mad City Model Railroad Show

On February 17th & 18th, at the Alliant Energy Center was the annual Mad City Model Railroad show.

While this group is not about model railroading, the show is a great insight into what parts of railroading Wisconsinites find interesting and entertaining. In 2022, there were an estimated 7,000 attendees to the event ranging from young children to senior citizens and from all over the state. This event signals that Americans do like passenger rail!

The challenge is that passenger rail is framed as a relic from the past. After all, there were plenty of Burlington Zephyrs, Union Pacific Streamliners, a few New York Central Hudsons, and even Amtrak's old Metroliners. Sadly, what was missing from the show was any modern high-speed trains, except for a lone Lego TGV.

Of course, this train show is now where the size of the biannual Train Fest Show in Milwaukee. This show has setups from across the United States, and over 20,000 people attend this event. When visiting Trainfest in 2022, there were at least two or three high-speed trains to be found and even a recreation of Madison Dane County Airport.

Of course, the problem is that Americans like to remain nostalgic for the train. However, what if we had a setup of a magnetic levitating train, or maybe a mockup of a Shinkansen at one of these shows? I am sure there will be a lot of interesting conversations as a result.


The Faster Badger is produced by students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to help break through the misconceptions of high-speed rail and high-speed transportation. This blog is for educational purposes only and all opinions presented are of the students.

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