Tag Archives: Northeast Corridor

High Speed Rail

If you follow us, you know we have the most complete news on Florida.

Dallas Houston Bullet Train
Dallas Houston Bullet Train

 

KC Jones has been following Texas Central Railway’s plan to build a Dallas-to-Houston bullet train.

California Bullet Train
California Bullet Train

 

On to California. Their biggest problem has been finding. But now private investors are warming to California high-speed rail. Does this means maybe a 50-mile segment called “The Pepsi Trail”; or maybe naming rights for stations: “next station stop is Goldman Sachs”? The Sacramento Business Journal sees many possibilities. Nine companies, mostly large construction, engineering and infrastructure firms that have worked on high-speed rail elsewhere, have written letters saying they are interested in financing part of what would be the state’s largest-ever infrastructure project. “We would be very interested in participating in the competition for the construction and financing of California high-speed rail projects,” reads part of a letter from AECOM, a major engineering firm. Other companies writing to bullet train planners include Grupo ACS, Sener, Vinci ConcessionsSiemens, Railgrup, Sacyr, Acciona Concesiones and Astaldi SpA.

AmtrakLincolnService04

The New York Times has presented a report on the almost $11 billion spent on High Speed Rail by the Obama Administration.

High-speed rail was supposed to be President Obama’s signature transportation project, but despite the administration spending nearly $11 billion since 2009 to develop faster passenger trains, the projects have gone mostly nowhere and the United States still lags far behind Europe and China.

While Republican opposition and community protests have slowed the projects here, transportation policy experts and members of both parties also place blame for the failures on missteps by the Obama administration — which in July asked Congress for nearly $10 billion more for high-speed initiatives.

Instead of putting the $11 billion directly into those projects, critics say, the administration made the mistake of parceling out the money to upgrade existing Amtrak service, which will allow trains to go no faster than 110 miles per hour. None of the money originally went to service in the Northeast Corridor, the most likely place for high-speed rail.

Continue reading the main story

On a 30-mile stretch of railroad between Westerly and Cranston, R.I., Amtrak’s 150-m.p.h. Acela hits its top speed — for five or 10 minutes. On the crowded New York to Washington corridor, the Acela averages only 80 m.p.h., and a plan to bring it up to the speed of Japanese bullet-trains, which can top 220 m.p.h., will take $150 billion and 26 years, if it ever happens.

Amtrak Northeast Corridor
Amtrak Northeast Corridor

New Jersey News 12 has reported on “Feds take first step in bringing high speed rail to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor in NJ”

The federal government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to bring high speed rail to the Northeast.

Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, running from Washington, D.C. to Boston, is the crown jewel of the nation’s railroad system. 

Trains traveling 160 mph could soon fly across the rails, and New Jersey’s tracks are the key to the whole plan.

 

Chinese Electric Locomotive
Chinese Electric Locomotive

Finally, a Forbes story on Chinese High Speed Rail.

What if the Airlines owned the passenger rail service in the USA?

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Got a couple of great opinions on rail passenger service. Check them out and enjoy!

At top is our high speed rail picture on the Northeast Corridor

Penney

What if the Airlines owned the passenger rail service in the USA?

Thomas Stagliano, Senior Aerospace Engineer

Imagine travel between NYC and Boston or Washington DC done solely on high speed trains? 100 min center-city to center city…… And you bought your ticket from Delta?
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And if you wanted to fly from Boston to Istanbul, and the best flight was from JFK airport, you took a high speed train from BOS to NYC and transferred to a special subway car that took you directly to JFK terminal. And you passed TSA screening while on the train, and checked you bags to your final destination on the train.
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Multi-modal seems to be the next big step in Public Transportation. And instead of dealing with Delta Airlines or Amtrak or Greyhound, you dealt with a Transportation company that booked all of your multi-modal travel on One Ticket.
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The Federal Government subsidizes the airports and manages the ATC system, and subsidizes the highways. Why not have the Feds build the high speed rail system (~200 mph peak speeds) and that would free up valuable gate space at the airports for longer distance travel.
The sky is the limit…..

Now for the second opinion

The Economist explains

Why don’t Americans ride trains?

Aug 29th 2013, 23:50 by N.B. | WASHINGTON, DC

AMERICA has by far the largest rail network in the world, with more than twice as much track as China. But it lags far behind other first-world countries in ridership. Instead of passengers, most of America’s massive rail network is used to carry freight. Why don’t Americans ride trains?

Rail ridership is usually measured in passenger-kilometres—one passenger-kilometre represents one passenger travelling one kilometre. One 1,000-person train travelling 1,000 kilometres would on its own account for a million passenger-kilometres. Yet American railroads accounted for just 17.2 billion passenger-kilometres in 2010, according to Amtrak, America’s government-backed passenger rail corporation. In the European Union, railways accounted for nearly 400 billion, according to International Union of Railways data. When you adjust for population, the disparity is even more shocking: per capita, the Japanese, the Swiss, the French, the Danes, the Russians, the Austrians, the Ukrainians, the Belarussians and the Belgians all accounted for more than 1,000 passenger-kilometres by rail in 2011; Americans accounted for 80. Amtrak carries 31m passengers per year. Mozambique’s railways carried 108m passengers in 2011.

There are many reasons why Americans don’t ride the rails as often as their European cousins. Most obviously, America is bigger than most European countries. Outside the northeast corridor, the central Texas megalopolis, California and the eastern Midwest, density is sometimes too low to support intercity train travel. Underinvestment, and a preference for shiny new visions over boring upgrades, has not helped. Most American passenger trains travel on tracks that are owned by freight companies. That means most trains have to defer to freight services, leading to lengthy delays that scare off passengers who want to arrive on time. Domestic air travel in America is widely available, relatively cheap and popular. Airlines fear competition from high-speed rail and lobby against it. Travelling by cars is also popular. Petrol is cheaper than in Europe (mostly because of much lower taxes). Road travel is massively subsidised in the sense that the negative externalities of travelling by car, including the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, are not fully offset, and most major highways—which cost tens of billions to maintain—are still free of tolls. And finally, Barack Obama’s embrace of high-speed rail has heightened a political battle over rail that doesn’t exist quite in the same way in other countries (although the fraught debate over high-speed rail in Britain comes close). Opposition to rail is now often seen as essentially conservative, and Republican governors oppose rail projects to boost their conservative image. 

America’s national-level politics are unlikely to become more functional in the near term. So all this leads to an inevitable conclusion: what happens with California’s planned high-speed rail system matters a lot. If it is completed, works and is popular—all of which are uncertain—other states will undoubtedly take note. If California’s high-speed dream fails, it may be a long time before America has true high-speed service. And by that point, America may be ready to put in a call to Elon Musk. Hyperloop, here we come!