Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Meanwhile, Argentina gets it!

Here is the latest indictment of America’s sleepy transportation policies on the international front.

Argentine President Néstor Kirchner presided over the ceremony to open the four bids submitted for the construction of a rapid train connecting capital Buenos Aires to central-western city Mendoza, the presidential website reported.The contracted consortium will be in charge of building the rail system, as well as providing signaling, communications, and rolling stock. Works are slated to take 48 months to complete.

The bidding consortiums are: Spanish company CAF, along with Roggio, Cartellone, Comsa, and Siemens; Eurnekian group’s Corporación América, with Helport, Cometrans, and Lesco; Ferromel-Ferrovías-Emepa-Odebrecht; and a group including of French company Alstom, Iecsa, and Spanish company Isolux Corsán.

Bidders are also expected to submit a final design and engineering study for the initiative by December 4, while economic offers will be reviewed on December 27, according to local press.

The passenger train is expected to reach a maximum speed of 160km/hour and will make three stops along the line. It will make one trip daily and another at night.

The project is part of an initiative promoted by Argentine authorities to rehabilitate and revive the country’s rail transport system.

Business News Americas


Filed under: International High Speed Rail

Oklahoma City happening

Looks like Evan Stair will be busy for a while.

    Group to discuss passenger rail expansion

OKLAHOMA CITY – Advocates for expansion of Amtrak passenger rail service to Kansas City plan a visit to the Oklahoma Capitol Thursday to drum up support.

Amtrak operates the Heartland Flyer passenger train that runs daily between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth with stops in Norman, Purcell, Pauls Valley, Ardmore and Gainesville, Texas.

The train costs almost $4 million a year for Oklahoma and Texas to maintain. Evan Stair, director of the Northern Flyer Alliance, hopes to get both states all aboard a new plan, along with the state of Kansas.

The new route would extend from Fort Worth with the same stops to Oklahoma City, but could add stops in Edmond, Guthrie, Perry, Ponca City and into several Kansas communities ending in Kansas City.

Stair said the project would possibly cost about $12 million a year to operate, or about $4 million per state. He wants to see state money to support the trains and avoid tax increases.

“With the environmental concerns, with oil supplies becoming more suspect, the time is right to make this happen,” he said.

Stair believes the trains would serve a niche market of people who want an alternative to driving and would especially help rural America where bus service is limited. He also expects the service to bring economic development to communities along the route.

The meeting is at 1 p.m. on Thursday in room 412-C at the Capitol in Oklahoma City.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

Fast trains for Ohio

KTOL TV in Toledo files a significant item on The Ohio Hub, which has a link in the right hand column. The story is all about the Ohio Rail Development Commission’s move to improve regional transportation.

They say a regional high-speed rail system called the Ohio Hub would also save millions spent building and fixing roads each year. Freight and passenger trains from hubs in Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo would link to other stops throughout Ohio and in nearby states.

The 10-year-old idea has been mired down in problems with environmental rules, property issues, turf battles and a price tag of $3.8 billion.

But now, officials say new support by Governor Strickland, who’s on board look for federal money, could help catapult the idea from the drawing board to reality.

My brain just doesn’t work right nay more. Isn’t that $3.8 billion figure wrong? It is a “fact” question. Do I have to look everything up for myself?

The Akron Beacon had an excellent report, which is worth a look. They hit the highlights of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association perfectly. Here is the link to a story from the same source which is good, except for the childlike belief that highways don’t cost billions.

_Would create estimated 54,000 jobs.

_Trains of 110 mph would draw 9.3 million passengers a year by 2025.

_Trains of 79 mph would draw 6.2 million passengers a year by 2025.

_About 80 percent of passengers would come from cars.

_1,200 miles of track would link hubs in Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo to existing rail networks for travel throughout the Midwest and Canada.

_Freight would move along the lines when passenger traffic is low.

_ The 3-C corridor, linking Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland, would be first built.

_First route could be up and running in 7 years.

SOURCE: Ohio Rail Development Commission.

So why would it take 7 years to upgrade existing tracks? Just wondering.

The proposal for the Ohio Hub is awfully well thought out. You should become familiar with it.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

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September 2007