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#41 Anderson

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 03:48 AM

(1) My thinking in the Huntsville split is that doing so would limit the number of miles of track that would be needed to serve all the main markets in the region effectively.

(2) It does seem possible that a Kodama-type service in the San Antonio-Austin area might make sense to handle "commuter-style" traffic.


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#42 George Harris

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 02:52 PM

Austin - San Antonio:

 

Yes this would be an excellent candidate for an interurban type service.  HOWEVER:  For it to be practical there would need to be full double track with quite a few sections of third track.  It is a fairly busy freight route right now.  There would need to be track grades otherwise plus some curve adjustments and as many grade separations as can be managed.  All this says not cheap.  Ther ahs been talk about a freight bypass to the east that would get all the through freight off this line.  That would be a very good thing to enable reliable passenger service.

 

With all this the cost has been the show stopper.



#43 mfastx

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 06:08 PM

San Antonio and Austin are so close I wonder if they could get away with a line from Houston just branching off into both San Antonio and Austin. 



#44 henryj

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 07:51 PM

(1) My thinking in the Huntsville split is that doing so would limit the number of miles of track that would be needed to serve all the main markets in the region effectively.

(2) It does seem possible that a Kodama-type service in the San Antonio-Austin area might make sense to handle "commuter-style" traffic.

 

Actually Anderson, a better option might be to use the old MKT line out of Houston that goes to San Antonio via San Marcos.  There you could do the split to Austin.  Going via Huntsville is way off the track.  Using the MKT line, which is owned by UP but lightly used, would keep these trains off the UP's Glidden main between Houston and San Antonio(NOL to LAX).  You would have to re-build a row from Katy into Houston.  But if we are talking true HSR an elevated row over I10 would work just fine.  And they have to build a new station in Houston anyway for the Houston to Dallas trains.


Henryj. Trains I have ridden: Sunbeam, Sam Houston Zephyr, Valley Eagle, Houstonian, Sunset Limited, Twin Star Rocket, Texas Eagle, Texas Zephyr, Texas Chief, California Zephyr, City of Portland, City of San Francisco, Coast Daylight, Canadian, Winnipeger, San Diegan, Flying Crow, Spirit of St. Louis, Pennsy NEC. Amtrak: Lone Star, Crescent, NEC, Broadway Ltd, LSL, Maple Leaf, The International, EB, CS, Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, CZ, Cascade, Eagle, Cardinal, Meteor, Acela plus many excursions.  Latest, Alaska Railroad and White Pass & Yukon.

#45 afigg

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 09:16 AM

The TCR project has received approval from the FRA to begin the EIS process. Dallas Morning News: Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail review set to begin following feds’ OK today.

As expected, the Federal Railroad Administration has given the thumbs-up to an environmental impact statement concerning a long-proposed Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail line. The FRA, in conjunction with the Texas Department of Transportation, will conduct the EIS on behalf of the privately operated Texas Central Railway, which promises a 90-minute trek from Dallas to Houston (by 2021, give or take).

 

The EIS will study various route alignments, including “shared corridors with other existing linear infrastructure corridors such as railroads, roads, and electric utility lines.” Also, says the FRA, it will “analyze the potential impacts of stations, power facilities, and maintenance facilities to support HSR operations.” The review could take some time — several months, say transportation officials, and possibly longer than a year.

 

Come on, the EIS study process is going to take a year or longer. The reporter should do a little research, EIS studies for a major infrastructure project on new and acquired ROW are not done quickly. Even in Texas.

 

Service by 2021 is just the teaser date to keep the politicians interested. I think this HSR corridor can get built, but not by 2021.



#46 Anderson

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 11:02 AM

I agree.  A year (or two) for a focused EIS is believable; a few months simply is not.  A date like 2025 (11 years out instead of 7) seems more plausible, assuming a reasonable amount of red tape cutting and an ability to dispatch stupid lawsuits.


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#47 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 11:09 AM

Either way my money is on this project never reaching completion. Texas has plenty of rich NIMBY's, half of whom couldn't care less about passenger rail.

If I had a tumor I'd name it Marla.


#48 George Harris

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 02:44 PM

Either way my money is on this project never reaching completion. Texas has plenty of rich NIMBY's, half of whom couldn't care less about passenger rail.

How about Dallas Light Rail, Houston Light Rail, having a huge expansion under way,  Dalllas-Ft. Worth commuter trains, Denton area light rail?  I wish all you Texas haters would put a sock in it.  It is getting rather tired.  It seems that anay chance that can be had is used as a soap box to get up on and shout anti-Texas nonsense.



#49 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 03:05 PM

Either way my money is on this project never reaching completion. Texas has plenty of rich NIMBY's, half of whom couldn't care less about passenger rail.

How about Dallas Light Rail, Houston Light Rail, having a huge expansion under way,  Dalllas-Ft. Worth commuter trains, Denton area light rail?  I wish all you Texas haters would put a sock in it.  It is getting rather tired.  It seems that anay chance that can be had is used as a soap box to get up on and shout anti-Texas nonsense.


I didn't realize it meant that much to you George. I've seen a lot happen in this state over the last three decades. I've even been a part of it from time to time. I've seen projects worth billions felled by a few determined individuals. Sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. Then again I can't claim to be the world's foremost expert on every topic that interests me. It's entirely possible that I'm wrong but my money says this project will not come to fruition. Then again I've only lived here thirty years so what do I know. Feel free to put your money wherever you please and best of luck on your return.

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 26 June 2014 - 05:27 PM.

If I had a tumor I'd name it Marla.


#50 afigg

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 05:02 PM

How about Dallas Light Rail, Houston Light Rail, having a huge expansion under way,  Dalllas-Ft. Worth commuter trains, Denton area light rail?  I wish all you Texas haters would put a sock in it.  It is getting rather tired.  It seems that anay chance that can be had is used as a soap box to get up on and shout anti-Texas nonsense.

Yes, one big difference from the 1990s when previous efforts to bring HSR to Texas failed is that Dallas and Houston now have the core of a local rail transit system. Dallas's system is further along in size and development, but they provide local rail systems for the TCR to connect to for a larger customer base. If TCR gets funded and started on construction, it should have a synergy effect of advancing plans for expanding the light rail systems in both cities. Business and political leaders can be sold on the idea of people taking the light rail to downtown to travel on HSR to Dallas or Houston.

The CA HSR system will connect San Francisco with an extensive regional transit system to LA, which is in the process of building one. The first round of true HSR corridors in the US should have one or more anchor cities with good local and regional rail systems. So LA to SF and Dallas to Houston are arguably the best candidates for the first HSR corridors, outside of the NEC (depending on whether one considers the NEC to be true HSR or not). That was a weakness of the Florida HSR plans starting with Tampa to Orlando.

BTW, the exception for local transit systems to anchor an HSR corridor line would be Xpress West as Las Vegas with its concentration of casinos and as a destination for southern CA puts Vegas into a different category.


Edited by afigg, 26 June 2014 - 10:13 PM.


#51 Anderson

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 07:43 PM

I agree with the point of having decent transit systems.  Chicago-St. Louis would have a passable claim there as well (Chicago's system is great; St. Louis at least has something there).  Miami-Orlando also has a workable claim (especially with the string of streetcar lines going in along the route).  The real saving graces with Vegas are (A) bad traffic on I-15 and (B) the fact that either the casinos would probably be more than happy to do something shuttle-wise or, if they balked, someone could easily set up a shuttle to at least the casinos on the Strip.


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#52 Eric S

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 08:11 PM

You might also put Chicago-Cleveland (possibly continuing to Pittsburgh) and Vancouver-Seattle-Portland on that list as well. Cleveland and Pittsburgh have rail transit systems that are roughly as extensive as St. Louis. Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver also have moderate and expanding rail transit systems as well. Maybe Chicago-St. Paul/Minneapolis too, moreso if Milwaukee and/or Madison ever get some sort of local rail service underway.



#53 Anderson

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 08:28 PM

True.  I guess I mentally eliminated the Northwest due to alignment restrictions...in most of the other cases, you have a mix of mostly cooperative terrain and limited geographic logjams.  The Northwest is just a bit too constrained for me to see that going down easy, and there aren't any handy existing alignments to turn to (Texas has the ex-BRI and LA-Vegas has I-15).


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#54 henryj

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 11:45 AM

The TCR project has received approval from the FRA to begin the EIS process. Dallas Morning News: Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail review set to begin following feds’ OK today.

As expected, the Federal Railroad Administration has given the thumbs-up to an environmental impact statement concerning a long-proposed Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail line. The FRA, in conjunction with the Texas Department of Transportation, will conduct the EIS on behalf of the privately operated Texas Central Railway, which promises a 90-minute trek from Dallas to Houston (by 2021, give or take).

 

The EIS will study various route alignments, including “shared corridors with other existing linear infrastructure corridors such as railroads, roads, and electric utility lines.” Also, says the FRA, it will “analyze the potential impacts of stations, power facilities, and maintenance facilities to support HSR operations.” The review could take some time — several months, say transportation officials, and possibly longer than a year.

 

Come on, the EIS study process is going to take a year or longer. The reporter should do a little research, EIS studies for a major infrastructure project on new and acquired ROW are not done quickly. Even in Texas.

 

Service by 2021 is just the teaser date to keep the politicians interested. I think this HSR corridor can get built, but not by 2021.

 This project continues to be a multi billion dollar boondoggle as it is currently structured.  The point is, if they did an All Aboard Florida style set up, the BNSF track is already there and the distance is about the same. AAF plans to run hourly service between Miami and Orlando on a three hour schedule and the track is 79mph and 110mph most of the way. Only the 46 miles from Cocoa to Orlando is 125mph. If you fixed up the BNSF track, which would cost just a fraction of the Texas HSR project you could easily match that three or so hours as it's only 249 miles. And you could probably have trains running in a year, vs 20 years on the HSR boondoggle(and it won't be a 90 minute trip, that's just fiction). I am not against passenger trains in Texas, just saying if they used a little common sense it would be so much easier and quicker to complete and a lot less money.


Henryj. Trains I have ridden: Sunbeam, Sam Houston Zephyr, Valley Eagle, Houstonian, Sunset Limited, Twin Star Rocket, Texas Eagle, Texas Zephyr, Texas Chief, California Zephyr, City of Portland, City of San Francisco, Coast Daylight, Canadian, Winnipeger, San Diegan, Flying Crow, Spirit of St. Louis, Pennsy NEC. Amtrak: Lone Star, Crescent, NEC, Broadway Ltd, LSL, Maple Leaf, The International, EB, CS, Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, CZ, Cascade, Eagle, Cardinal, Meteor, Acela plus many excursions.  Latest, Alaska Railroad and White Pass & Yukon.

#55 George Harris

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 03:59 PM

This project continues to be a multi billion dollar boondoggle as it is currently structured.  The point is, if they did an All Aboard Florida style set up, the BNSF track is already there and the distance is about the same. AAF plans to run hourly service between Miami and Orlando on a three hour schedule and the track is 79mph and 110mph most of the way. Only the 46 miles from Cocoa to Orlando is 125mph. If you fixed up the BNSF track, which would cost just a fraction of the Texas HSR project you could easily match that three or so hours as it's only 249 miles. And you could probably have trains running in a year, vs 20 years on the HSR boondoggle(and it won't be a 90 minute trip, that's just fiction). I am not against passenger trains in Texas, just saying if they used a little common sense it would be so much easier and quicker to complete and a lot less money.

The cost and work it would take to get the BNSF track up to a 90 or 110 mph limit throughout would get you will over half way - if not further! - toward what it would take to get a 200 to 220 mph railroad, discounting electrification.  The current track has lots of 90 lb rail and is generally maintained for a nominal 40 mph freight operation and has an ABS signal system just sufficient to get by the requirements of the 1947 ICC order.  You would need a near complete track rebuild and a complete signal system replacement for starts. 

 

It would have to be upgraded to 110 mph to get a reliable 3 hour schedule.  Additionally, to achieve this 3 hours you would also need faster and less congested entries into both Dallas and Houston.

 

A 90 minute run time would be acheivable with a 200 mph speed limit railroad, provided you could keep the entries into the cities above 60 mph, or better 80 mph.



#56 Anderson

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 06:29 PM

I'd need to look at modeling, but would you save much by going from 110MPH to 125MPH?  Unlike in most other cases, there aren't many random slowdowns and you should be able to massage the curves to avoid much breaking.  I know that acceleration slows as you get closer to top speed (and indeed the EMD-125 order may have been aimed in that direction more than anything), but this is one of the few cases where even with that in mind you might well come out ahead.


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#57 Paulus

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 08:42 PM

I'd need to look at modeling, but would you save much by going from 110MPH to 125MPH?  Unlike in most other cases, there aren't many random slowdowns and you should be able to massage the curves to avoid much breaking.  I know that acceleration slows as you get closer to top speed (and indeed the EMD-125 order may have been aimed in that direction more than anything), but this is one of the few cases where even with that in mind you might well come out ahead.


Diesel push-pull is pretty terrible above 110mph. With the EMD F125, using their own numbers, you could brake down to zero and accelerate back to 110mph (which is a terribly slow process to begin with) in less time than it takes to go from 110mph to 125mph. It also takes 15-30 miles of running to reach said speeds, depending on HEP. That said, the IC125 does significantly better (142 seconds and 0.3 miles) so eh.

#58 Anderson

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 11:15 PM

Oh, the British models from the 70s?  Impressive...that sounds almost like they're electric.  Though I wouldn't want to use the originals, I do wonder if the plans could be used again (I'm thinking Florida here)?


Edited by Anderson, 27 June 2014 - 11:15 PM.

Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#59 Paulus

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 12:52 AM

Oh, the British models from the 70s?  Impressive...that sounds almost like they're electric.  Though I wouldn't want to use the originals, I do wonder if the plans could be used again (I'm thinking Florida here)?


Even if you could, it wouldn't be FRA compliant (and the plans almost certainly are not sufficiently intact). And actually I goofed on that acceleration distance (I knew it seemed off), it should be 4.84 miles of acceleration between 110 and 125 mph. You could try recreating it with a 1+8 F125/Amfleet mix though: that would get the same power to weight as the HST (assuming 53 tons for the Amfleet). Gearing or something else might be an issue however.

Going back to the original question of time savings: You save 3.9 seconds per mile at 125mph compared to 110mph. To save five minutes, you'd need better than 80 miles of uninterrupted 125mph running. It's almost certainly not worth the upgrade.

#60 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 07:10 AM

Amfleets are roughly 60 tons.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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