Trains For America

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Joe Biden addresses transportation issues

He was in Keokuk, Iowa talking to a partisan crowd about Iraq and the economy when Senator Biden got a question about transportation spending. The Gate City carries a lengthy report.

You are looking at Mr. Transportation,” he said in response to a question about using an electrified rail system like Europe’s. “I am the reason Amtrak keeps moving.”

It costs considerably more money to build one lane of highway than to lay one mile of track, he added.

“We are doing the exact opposite of what we should be doing,” he said.

The cost of updating the country’s infrastructure has been estimated at $1.7 trillion, much more than the cost of updating China’s, according to Biden.

“Why do you think businesses are leaving (the U.S.)?” he said. “We need a good infrastructure, which would benefit economic development.”


Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics

More Michigan Amtrak developments

The heat is up to keep Amtrak service on main line track currently owned by Norfolk Southern. This development comes from the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Watco Chief Commercial Officer Ed McKechnie told officials Wednesday morning that Watco and Norfolk Southern are nearing a deal with Amtrak that would insert legally binding and enforceable language into the Michigan Central agreement under consideration by federal officials requiring that the railway be maintained to Amtrak standards.

“Everything Amtrak has asked for we’ve said ‘yes’ to,” McKechnie said.

Amtrak trains need to be able to maintain speeds of 79 mph on the tracks between Kalamazoo and Ypsilanti, officials said. The fear among leaders from the cities of Portage, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Jackson, Albion, Marshall and Ann Arbor was that the deal between Norfolk Southern and Watco would mean less money invested in track maintenance, which would slow track speeds.

But McKechnie said Michigan Central would spend an average of $18,000 per track mile on maintenance — about three times as much as Watco normally spends on tracks.

And the company is also committed to investing $20 million in the system over the next three years — which is more than Norfolk Southern spent on the tracks in the last 10 years, he said.

Filed under: Amtrak

Chattanooga – Nashville Maglev to be studied

Skeptical. At TFA, part of the mission is to fight the old wrongheaded insinuation by highway and airline lobbyists that high speed rail costs an exorbitant amount of money. All construction is expensive, and society should consider the alternatives before making important transportation decisions that we will live with for decades.

Perhaps Maglev technology is best suited for a line between Chattanooga and Nashville. If that is so, by all means, build it. It may be that conventional trains running at 120 mph or higher is the better solution. Smarter people will decide, but let’s include the rest of us mere taxpaying citizens, please.

While you’re at it, run that line over to Memphis.

Chattanoogan. com covers the breaking news.

Maglev High-Speed Chattanooga-Nashville Rail Line Studied
posted August 29, 2007

A study is beginning on a maglev high-speed ground transportation project between Chattanooga and Nashville, officials said Wednesday.

The Enterprise Center, Inc. in Chattanooga, together with its consultants ARCADIS U.S., Inc. and Commonwealth Research Associates, LLC,, will be heading up the project.

The Chattanooga-Nashville maglev project is part of a larger transportation plan to connect Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Nashville with high-speed trains, officials said.

Maglev, short for magnetic levitation, is an advanced passenger and freight transport technology in which electronics and magnetic forces lift, guide, and propel the train over an elevated track called a guideway. Using all-electric power and state-of-the-art control systems, the need for wheels is eliminated, allowing for contact-free travel, excellent acceleration and braking rates, and cruising speeds of 250 to 300 miles per hour.

Maglev trains are presently in commercial operation in Shanghai, China, and Nagoya, Japan, and are in final planning for Munich, Germany. Passengers would be able to travel between Chattanooga and Nashville in record times, with the ability to relax or work in a modern aircraft-like passenger car.

Surveys will be available on the project website at

Officials said, “Visit us and tell us what you think about this exciting new form of transportation for Tennessee.”

For additional information, to contact us, sign up to receive the project newsletter, or to submit a comment, the following information is available:




ATTN: Chattanooga to Nashville MAGLEV

1210 Premier Drive, Suite 200

Chattanooga, TN 37421

Filed under: United States High Speed Rail

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