Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Maryland Transit steps out

NBC4.com has this intriguing item.

BALTIMORE — State transit officials are making plans to expand MARC commuter train service and triple capacity by 2035 to 100,000 riders a day.
The Maryland Transit Administration would add more weekday trains, including midday trains, and weekend service to accommodate the growing popularity of the service now used by more than 30,000 people a day.
Video: Watch The Report

MTA Administrator Paul Wiedefeld said the service could eventually run from Virginia to Delaware. The plan includes connections with other transit lines and a hub at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. There would also be stops at L’Enfant Plaza, the Pentagon and Crystal City, News4’s Megan mcGrath reported. Those stops are anticipated to be added by 2020, McGrath said.

Filed under: United States High Speed Rail

Rome, Georgia takes note

Here is an item concerning economic development officials at work in Rome, Ga. The Rome News Tribune reports. (Scroll down past the water story.)

In other development authority news, County Commission Chairman Jerry Jennings told the board that the city and county should consider forming a regional coalition to promote the alternative route for a proposed Atlanta-to-Chattanooga high-speed rail that includes a stop in Rome.

Bennett said one of the routes would extend from Atlanta toward the Rome bypass and follow an existing railroad track to Calhoun, where it would parallel Interstate 75 en route to Chattanooga.

That route would bypass a site the city and county is marketing to prospective industries, before stopping near Kingston and Veterans highways in Rome, he said.

Filed under: United States High Speed Rail

Still more news on the Las Vegas maglev

This is in some web news for construction professionals.

Competition Over Southern Nevada Rail Proposals
Las Vegas – As if the competition over arena proposals for Las Vegas isn’t enough, there is increasing competition between two proposals for high-speed train service between southern California and Las Vegas. The group backing a long-studied magnetic levitation train project hopes to gain an advantage through a provision of a technical corrections bill to the 2005 SAFETEA-LU federal transportation funding legislation. The House has approved the measure on a 422-1 vote and the Senate will soon consider it. The important correction, from the maglev supporters’ point of view, directs $45 million not to assessment of a high-speed rail project between Las Vegas and Anaheim, Calif., but more specifically to a project utilizing magnetic levitation over the 200-mile route.

Maglev trains could travel at speeds up to 300 mph. Maglev supporters say the wording of the original bill forced them to compete for annual appropriations, which were not approved. With no federal funding, the project stalled, opening the door for a rival, the privately financed DesertXpress Enterprises, to move forward with plans to build a high-speed conventional rail line between the same end points, following the Interstate 15 corridor and delivering passengers from LA to Vegas in an hour and a half. DesertXpress says regardless of the federal legislation, it is moving full speed ahead with its $3.5-billion project and hopes to have trains running in 2012.

Filed under: United States High Speed Rail

Important California meetings Wednesday

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) will hold its Board meeting September 26 in the State Capitol, followed by a public hearing for the Bay Area to Central Valley section of California’s proposed high-speed train (HST) system.

CHSRA MEETING: The CHSRA Board meeting is the first since the Governor and Legislature approved the 2007-08 enacted State budget, which provides $20.7 million to continue project implementation. As such, the Executive Director’s Report and Program Manager’s Report will outline the team’s efforts through the coming year, including consolidating the project’s finance plan, finalizing the Bay Area EIR/EIS, and continuing pre-engineering working along the alignment. There will also be discussion about development of a master schedule that will include design and construction timelines for the segment running between Anaheim and the Bay Area.

PUBLIC HEARING: Following the Authority meeting, there will be a public hearing for the Bay Area to Central Valley section of the proposed high-speed train system. In July 2007, the Authority, in conjunction with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), released its draft program-level environmental impact report/statement (EIR/EIS) describing alignment alternatives connecting the San Francisco Bay Area to the Central Valley — namely within the broad corridor between and including the Altamont Pass and Pacheco Pass.

The next step in this second program environmental review process is to select a preferred alignment as well as station locations for this section of the HST system. Public comment is an important part of the decision-making process.

Meeting dates and locations:

The CHSRA Board Meeting: September 26 – State Capitol, Room 112, 10th Street and Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA. Time: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Bay Area to Central Valley Segment Public Hearing: The hearing will be held at the same location, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (following the CHSRA Board meeting), with public testimony beginning at about 11:15 a.m.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, United States High Speed Rail

Quad City developments

In Iowa, folks are darned smart. State lawmakers have been meeting with the local folks on restoring essential service to Chicago. The Dispatch-Argus-Leader has a complete report.

Rep. Nekritz, chair of the House Rail Safety Committee, appeared with state Rep. Donald Moffitt,of Galesburg, the Republican spokesman for the House committee.

“This is a perfect example of how government should work,” Rep. Moffitt said of the bipartisan effort. “We want to keep Illinois as a rail hub for the nation. There are a lot of things we can do to continue the momentum.

“Rail is so important for the economy,” he said. “It’s important for economic development. We all benefit when we expand passenger rail. You take vehicles off the highways, reduce congestion. It’s good for the environment, it creates jobs. It’s about quality of life and expanding tourism.”

Both legislators have been instrumental in advocating for expanded passenger rail service in Illinois, said Paul Rumler, director of community and economic development for the Illinois Quad City Chamber of Commerce.

Filed under: Regional USA Passenger Rail

Europe welcomes HSR competiton

It had to happen. Competition is logical and sometimes beneficial. It is happening on international runs in Europe.

You can read the entire AP story here.

International passenger rail services in the European Union will open to cross-border competition by 2010, giving passengers more choice and railways new tools to fight stiff competition from airlines.

New guidelines approved by the European Parliament on Tuesday will be reviewed in 2012 to see if domestic train lines should also be liberalized, the EU assembly said.

A proposal to open those lines to foreign competition by 2017 has been rejected by countries where state companies dominate the market, such as France, Belgium or Austria.

Smaller EU states, such as Luxembourg and some Central European nations, also fear their national providers could fold if a giant company, such as Germany’s DB, entered their domestic market.

But competition will increase on international lines, where any company from any of the EU’s 27 member states will be able to run services.

Filed under: International High Speed Rail

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