Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Albany – Big Apple (tiny) progress toward HSR

This has been one of those on-again, off again, kind of deals, but speeding up traffic between Albany and Penn Station has started to move forward. The total project is much more expensive, over $1 billion.

Here is a tiny down-payment while lawmakers consider the economic benefits of better mobility and even the huge construction project.  Our link is to the Press and Sun-Bulletin.

ALBANY – A floundering plan to construct a high-speed rail across New York took a step forward Wednesday as the state Senate pledged $22 million for rail- line improvements between Albany to New York City.

The announcement is part of a multi-billion-dollar plan championed by Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno to link upstate to a high-speed rail system that would continue to New York City.

But the idea, first unveiled by Bruno more than two years ago, remains stalled. So Bruno, R-Brunswick, Rensselaer County, announced Wednesday a smaller first step – improve the reliability and speed of rail service between Albany and New York, currently about a 2 1/2-hour trip.

The goal is to lower the train time between Albany and Manhattan to two hours, he said.

The $22 million state grant enacted as part of this year’s state budget will add a fourth track at the Albany-Rensselaer Station, improve the Hudson station about 30 miles south of Albany and stabilize a rock wall near the rail lines under the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan where trains now are forced to cut their speed.

The goal, supporters said, is to limit traffic problems on the rail lines so faster moving trains aren’t slowed. The work is set to get underway this year, Bruno said.


Filed under: Uncategorized

Scorching British commentary

One would have thought, after the record two-hour and three minute Paris to London TGV record, the champaign corks would still be popping. Well, not quite.

Here is a column from London’s Daily Mail which captures the essence of English despair over a train system generally consider woefully inadequate. Of course, by American standards, the Brits have a rail system of Star Wars technology, but on the world scale, it is another matter entirely.

Read the whole thing. When seen through American eyes, you must wonder what on earth has gone wrong with the greatest nation on earth. Here is a highlight of Steven Glover’s article.

There are 1,600 miles of high-speed track in Japan.

There have never been any crashes or derailments.

The trains are always punctual, as well as being clean, comfortable and reasonably priced.

You may say that we do, at last, have an equivalent train. On Tuesday, the Eurostar took just over two hours to travel the 300-odd miles between Paris and London, taking a route named High Speed 1 from Folkestone to St Pancras station, which has been developed at a cost of £5.8 billion.

A triumph, certainly. The trouble is that these 68 miles of track constitute the only highspeed route in this country.

That is not a lot of track if you consider what Japan – a country not much bigger than Britain – has.

France, twice the size, has more than 1,000 miles of fast track on which TGV trains reach speeds of nearly 200mph.

Scroll down for more …

Record breaker: Paris to London in two hours three minutes

We have just 68 miles – and so it will remain for the foreseeable future.

Nor can this Government congratulate itself even for these measly 68 miles. The only reason we have a high-speed train at all is because Margaret Thatcher backed the Channel Tunnel some 20 years ago.

This entailed co-operation with the French, who already had highspeed trains, and were happy for us to use their technology.

These 68 miles of track can be chalked up to Lady Thatcher and the French.

Shaming, isn’t it, that we should have been left so far behind the French, Japanese, Germans and even the Spanish?

Filed under: International High Speed Rail

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September 2007