Trains For America

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Off track /

A bit of informed commentary on speed reductions involving the SW Chief.

BNSF Railway ordered Amtrak trains to maintain speeds below 60 mph instead of the previous 79 mph between Hutchinson and La Junta, Colo. The slowdown is expected to add about 45 minutes to the travel time between those two cities but probably won’t increase the overall travel time from Chicago to Los Angeles because time can be made up elsewhere on the route.

According to BNSF officials, the order was necessary because of the deteriorating condition of tracks that were laid 60 to 70 years ago. The most discouraging aspect of the order is that there are no plans to try to remedy the situation, no plans to rebuild or upgrade the tracks so the speed limit can return to its previous level.

Off track /

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

2 Responses

  1. wenest Fazio says:

    Maintainence is a constant problem with a system that has all of the weight falling on a point such as the wheels on conventional trains. This would be a big advantage for Maglev which is a magnetically levitated train with minimal track impact

  2. OAmundsen says:

    I doubt that after 60-70 years of heavy use in an extreme hot/cold environment Maglev would be in any better shape than the rails of this section of the SW Chief route.

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September 2010


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