The New-Record in Greensboro has a good transportation column, Fast Forward.” Jason Hardin seems like a reasonable guy (TFA can think of a Connecticut paper needing an informed transportation viewpoint) and his latest offering is by now means a love song to Amtrak or high speed rail, which do not necessarily go well together.
The line would connect with an existing high-speed rail line in the Northeast that runs through Philadelphia and New York to Boston at speeds of up to 150 mph , according to Amtrak.
Greensboro, High Point and Burlington would likely all be stops on the line, which would run east to Raleigh before heading north to Richmond and Washington.
The trains in the Southeast would hit speeds of 110 mph, although the average speed would be somewhere in the mid-80s, according to the Web site for the rail corridor.
Currently, trains hit a top speed of just below 80 mph, with average speeds well below that.
That makes it tough for
the train to compete with the speed and convenience of cars, which, after all, take you to the city you want to go to, then let you go wherever you want in that city.
But with a faster train ride, the equation gets adjusted a little bit.
Tickets also will cost less per mile than auto travel typically costs, according to the corridor’s Web site.
So how close is high-speed rail to becoming a reality in the Southeast?
The quick answer: It’s going to take some time. And money.
The east coast from Virginia south into Florida and Atlanta has enough population to support good fast “conventional” trains, but that probably means something approaching 110 mph. The Midwest High Speed Rail Association has a good research paper on the “Ohio Hub” site linked at teh right suggesting that speed brings significantly higher revenue.
In that region, conventional fast trains may be a better option than European HSR. Just a thought.