Trains For America

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UPDTE: Memphis-to-Little Rock high-speed rail to be studied » The Commercial Appeal

UPDATE: Be sure to read Dr. Bill Pollard’s remarks in the “comments.” Although he takes a somewhat, and much more positive approach, I have the highest possible respect for his opinions, especially concerning the so-called I-49 corridor.


This is a colossal rip-off, and I support high speed rail and am a resident of Arkansas. Again, the only people who benefit are the consultants and bureaucrats. First the news.

The State of Arkansas will study the possibility of high-speed trains traveling up to 200 mph between Memphis and Little Rock and Texarkana, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

State transportation officials anticipate spending $1 million to $1.25 million in federal and state funds to conduct two long-range railroad transportation plans in the next 18 to 24 months, the newspaper reported Friday.

One study will look at issues surrounding freight rail transport and existing passenger rail service. The other will examine how Arkansas might participate in a national initiative on high-speed passenger rail.

Memphis-to-Little Rock high-speed rail to be studied » The Commercial Appeal.

Now a modest proposal. I have made this before, but here goes anyway.

There is not enough population to be served on a Little Rock to Memphis route, especially if we are talking true 200 mph European-style HSR. Multi-billions would be spent. My idea is as follows:

  • Conventional speed trains and right-of-way. (110-125 mph)
  • Build from Memphis International Airport to Little Rock National Airport.
  • Use existing UP right-of-way. Add dedicated fast track.
  • Add service to Searcy and Cabot (not every run).
  • Continue from Little Rock National Airport to DFW.
  • Use existing UP and add a dedicated fast track.
  • Serves Arkadelphia, Texarkana, Longview.

This more modestly priced plan connects 3 air hubs and numerous smaller communities. Price is relatively high but in the same “ball park” as highway construction. Airlines might want to participate as is done in Europe. lMuch less cost that European-style HSR. So there.


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

Amtrak CEO: America’s Railroad Can’t Live In ‘Survival Mode’ | TPM LiveWire

Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman was interviewed on camera by Bloomberg TV for a profile about him and his role as the government-subsidized rail corporation’s leader. In the interview, Boardman says that Amtrak has lived in “survival mode” for the past 40 years when it comes to funding, and can’t exist in that state anymore.

“We either grow or we die,” Boardman said.

Boardman also told Bloomberg TV that he thinks the “best place” for high-speed rail is the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C., notably not mentioning California, where the state government is moving forward with plans to develop its own high-speed rail system. Watch the full video via Bloomberg TV:


Amtrak CEO: America’s Railroad Can’t Live In ‘Survival Mode’ | TPM LiveWire.

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

Amtrak to replace high-speed Acela trains – Dec. 13, 2012

First, they are not really “high speed” trains since they generally operate around 130 mph. Second, they are about half way through the useful life. Third, it completely ignores the capacity needs of the starving long distance trains.

The railroad said that early next year, it would begin the process of replacing its 20 existing Acela Express train sets, which run on the Northeast Corridor rail line between Boston and Washington, DC.

“Moving directly to new high-speed train sets is the best option to create more seating capacity, permit higher speeds, and maximize customer comfort all while improving equipment reliability and reducing operating costs,” Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman said in a statement.

The Acela Express train sets comprise two power cars and six passenger cars each. The current fleet started service between 1999 and 2000.


Amtrak to replace high-speed Acela trains – Dec. 13, 2012.

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

New York State unloads Turboliners (and high time!) – Auction Company Schedule | Proxibid Auctions

If you would like to be the proud owner of some unusable rail passenger equipment from a by-gone era, this may be your big chance!

Auction Company Schedule | Proxibid Auctions.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics, Regional USA Passenger Rail

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December 2012