Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Maglev commercial

What impact will the building of a high-speed train between Anaheim and Las Vegas have economically.Find out! That’s the commercial message posted here in the interest of throwing raw meat to wild animals.

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Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

FOX NEWS: Why We Need High-Speed Rail

U.S. High Speed Rail Association President Andy Kunz on the possibility of a nation-wide high speed rail system. FOX is remarkable fair, although they do all hang on to that old “northeast corridor is profitable myth.” My theory is that this item got past the censors because the truck and airline lobbyists have not expressed their wishes to FOX management. Nonetheless, Look for Cato’s paid assassin to appear shortly. THANK YOU FOX NEWS.

Some notes. Florida is in no way prepared for HSR.

High performance rail, trains operating up to 110 mph., may be all that would be necessary on some corridors. The upgrades would assure 90% on time performance. Major improvement. High performance rail is MUCH cheaper to construct than true European-style HSR.

Glad the HSR expert shot down the “American cities are too far apart” argument.

And the whole bunch of ’em could have left the Amtrak whipping boy alone. That gets mighty old after a while. What other government function gets the kind of intense scrutiny and micro-management as Amtrak? (not ignoring the obvious problems)

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

NYTimes: Guns on Amtrak? No thanks.

Conservative lawmakers love to bemoan the federal government’s stake in Amtrak as the quintessential icon for big-government waste. However, they have no qualms about using this authority over the company to make it adjust its policies to comply with their impractical political whims. Case in point: a recent amendment to the budget bill for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development requiring Amtrak revoke its post-9/11, post-Madrid bombing ban on guns in checked luggage. The reasoning? Well, if you can have a gun in your checked airline baggage, why not on Amtrak as well? The New York Times has the obvious answer:

Amtrak has none of the hermetic procedures where airport passengers are screened shoeless at detectors while their checked baggage is separately secured. Trains stop at stations and passengers come and go. Amtrak presently has a system of checking passengers and screening baggage at random, much the way New York police monitor mass transit.

And lessened security isn’t the only reason reason train riders should be concerned:

The budget cudgel was approved despite pleas from Amtrak that it lacks the manpower, equipment and extra financing to effectively meet the deadline and that it faces a shutdown if federal funds are lost. Among other changes, baggage cars would have to be securely retrofitted and manpower increased. The warning cut no ice with the majority as the chief sponsor, Senator Roger Wicker, a Republican of Mississippi, intoned a lock-step mantra: “Americans should not have their Second Amendment rights restricted for any reason.”

Gotta love those unfunded mandates. TFA will keep an eye on this issue. Hopefully this is the kind of nonsense that gets shaken out during conference committee.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, , ,

Amtrak Pioneer restoration report released

While I am too busy with other commitments to dig down into this important document this evening, you are very welcome to give it a look and begin your comments.

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

SNCF Proposes Development of High-Speed Rail in Midwest, Texas, Florida, and California Corridors

TransportPolitic has a major piece on the French railway’s keen interest in developing America’ s high speed corridors. This is a lengthy and detailed story, rich in details and contains a map. California, Midwest, Texas and California routes included. This is still more talk, but the talking is coming from a real player.

French organization submits detailed proposals for 220 mph train operation.Last December, Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters and Representative John Mica (R-FL) announced that the Federal Railroad Administration would begin accepting Expressions of Interest for the development of high-speed lines in the United States. By February, more than 80 groups, including a number of states, train operators, and train constructors, had sent letters describing their interest in being part of the development of American fast train travel. Final responses were due on September 14th.

I’ve obtained documents that show that SNCF, the French national railroad operator made famous by its development of the TGV system, has responded with detailed descriptions of potential operations in four U.S. corridors, all to benefit from train service at speeds of up to 220 mph. The organization refers to this service as HST 220 (220 mph high-speed trains). With the exception of a description of plans by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, SNCF appears to be the only group that submitted a serious, corridor-based response to FRA’s demand, though infrastructure companies Vinci, Spineq, Cintra, Global Via, and Bouygues all sent in letters promoting rather vague interest in involvement.

There is no funding associated with this call for expressions of interest; it is unrelated to the stimulus. Nonetheless, SNCF’s large response — totaling more than 1,000 pages — exemplifies the degree to which it sees American corridors as a good investment and suggests that the French company is planning an all-out assault on future U.S. rail operations.

Filed under: International High Speed Rail, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

OnBoard Winona MN

With a rail line that already exists, a unified coalition of businesses, educational institutions and local citizens alike, Winona is a model for maximizing the potential of investment in High Speed Rail.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

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September 2009