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SNCF Proposes Development of High-Speed Rail in Midwest, Texas, Florida, and California Corridors

TransportPolitic has a major piece on the French railway’s keen interest in developing America’ s high speed corridors. This is a lengthy and detailed story, rich in details and contains a map. California, Midwest, Texas and California routes included. This is still more talk, but the talking is coming from a real player.

French organization submits detailed proposals for 220 mph train operation.Last December, Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters and Representative John Mica (R-FL) announced that the Federal Railroad Administration would begin accepting Expressions of Interest for the development of high-speed lines in the United States. By February, more than 80 groups, including a number of states, train operators, and train constructors, had sent letters describing their interest in being part of the development of American fast train travel. Final responses were due on September 14th.

I’ve obtained documents that show that SNCF, the French national railroad operator made famous by its development of the TGV system, has responded with detailed descriptions of potential operations in four U.S. corridors, all to benefit from train service at speeds of up to 220 mph. The organization refers to this service as HST 220 (220 mph high-speed trains). With the exception of a description of plans by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, SNCF appears to be the only group that submitted a serious, corridor-based response to FRA’s demand, though infrastructure companies Vinci, Spineq, Cintra, Global Via, and Bouygues all sent in letters promoting rather vague interest in involvement.

There is no funding associated with this call for expressions of interest; it is unrelated to the stimulus. Nonetheless, SNCF’s large response — totaling more than 1,000 pages — exemplifies the degree to which it sees American corridors as a good investment and suggests that the French company is planning an all-out assault on future U.S. rail operations.

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Filed under: International High Speed Rail, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

4 Responses

  1. [...] SNCF Proposes Development of High-Speed Rail in Midwest, Texas … [...]

  2. HockeyFan says:

    Wait a minute…the good ol’ US of A makes the best of everything. Why do we need to hire the French to build HSR in Texas and the Heartland…oh, yeah, I guess they have the experience.
    I hope this lights a fire under the rear ends of GE, Bechtel and the big US engineering/mfg behemoths to look at rail, HSR and transit projects as serious business opportunities. First the Talgo contract in WI, later a turnkey corridor done by SNCF?

  3. I would not hold my breath on this. Right now, Amtrak and Passenger Rail in particular is riding a comet called Obama, but comets sometimes fizzle, and Obama only will only last 4 or 8 years max., and then what. A Republican administration will go right back to their old ways and remember, we do not have a national transportation policy as such. Big oil and the lobbyists have set what policy there is — DRIVE YOUR CAR, OR TAKE A PLANE.

  4. MadPark says:

    And, to follow up on Jerry@3 – when push comes to shove, you can bet Big Oil and its associated lobbies will move heaven and earth to prevent more efficient and “conservative” use of petroleum and its bi-products (asphalt, plastics, and on and on). Not to mention the need for 10X what Obama and LaHood are proposing – US$100B anyone?

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