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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

 

George, this is where you and I part company. There is no way fixing up an existing railroad to 90/110 standards would cost as much as starting from scratch and building a whole new infrastructure in an Interstate median for a true 200mph HSR. I live here and I have traveled over the old B-RI row around Singleton many times and it's 132lb welded rail. What they have north of there I do not know but I would assume it's the same. The biggest cost would be grade crossing eliminations entering Houston and Dallas. I have not studied the Texas HSR proposal, if there really is a plan, but they could use the MP(UP) row through Conroe as far as Phelps and into Huntsville, then use the I45 median as far as Corsicana and then either the SP(UP) or the B-RI row to get into Dallas. That is probably feasible, but for true HSR they would need a completely new track structure of course regardless. The only reason for the slow speeds on the B-RI track is BNSF only uses the B-RI tracks for overflow and slow grain extras to keep them off the spine between Ft Worth and Houston. Some of the tracks entering and leaving Dallas are now used by DART, but the B-RI line appears to be intact.

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My statement concerning the rail in the BRI comes from looking at the track charts. Admittedly the ones I have are about 10 years old, so they may have done a major rail relay, but I would be surprised. It is a mish-mash of rails, so I know there is some larger rail all the way up to 132, I just don't remember how much, but not as much as 90 if I recall correctly. All that is there is so far as I know, except probably some of the old 90 lb is in its second position, so it had quite a bit of wear when it was put in.

 

My comment on track is in reference to track only. Alignment is another story. To go to 200 mph would require something in the 30% to 50% line changes if based on the current BRI line. Elimination of grade crossings into urban areas would be about the same either way, 110 or 200.

 

Terrain makes a huge difference. The proposed HSR alignment between Fresno and Bakersfield has more curves than the ex ATSF alignment it in general follows. Of course these curves are significantly larger in radius than those in the ATSF. Either way, a new railroad line between Fresno and Bakersfield will cost little more if built for 220 mph or 250 mph than it would if built for 125 mph. However, going over the mountain between Bakersfield and Los Angeles is another story altogether. The existing railroad lines are almost continuous small radius curves Bakersfield to Tehachapi and Palmdale to Bakersfield. If you want to be straighter you have to be steeper. No other way, and for this if you want curves for 220 mph you will be moving a lot more dirt, building a lot more bridges and tunnels than you would if your target speed is 125 mph.

 

The terrain issue is why I say that a 220 mph railroad between Dallas and Houston will not be that more expensive than a 125 mph railroad. However, m main point is that TRACK built for 220 mph costs very little more to build than TRACK built for 125 mph. The maintenance cost will be somewhat higher, yes, but not the initial construction cost. In fact, for ease of maintenance, any track that is intended to carry trains at 220 mph should be built on concrete, not ties and ballast. Track on concrete for this purpose will cost somewhere between 10% and 20% more than track on ballast. My personal view is that given open rural terrain and application of some of the techniques used in concrete pavement construction that the difference could be made to be under 10%.

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George, you seem to be talking about making the B-RI route 125mph territory. I am not even considering that. Looking back at my collection of Official Guides, the timing on the route was from 4hrs to 4hrs15min depending on direction and which train and that was with three stops at Teague, Corsicana and Waxahachie. Later on the Sam Houston Zephyr added a stop at North Zulch for College Station passengers. The Twin Star Rocket never did stop there. This was with jointed rail and a 79mph speed limit, hand thrown switches for meets at sidings and they did that every day and were almost always on time. So increasing the speed to say 90mph or even 100/110 with modern signaling and dispatching does not take a huge investment in infrastructure and given that you eliminated some grade crossings to make entry into the Houston and Dallas metroplexs faster I would think 3-3 1/2 hours would be easily achievable. And certainly, if the trip was non-stop, it would be achievable or better. And the cost would be a fraction of building a whole new row and infrastructure, much of it elevated, for 220mph trains. And it wouldn't take 20 years to achieve. In other words, an AAB approach is much less expensive, much more practical, and makes a lot more sense. But, hey if you plan to be here traveling between Houston and Dallas in 2040 or 2050 then go for it. I won't be around. lol. The Burlington managed to run at an average speed of over 70mph between Chicago and MSP for years on jointed rail/conventional track. A 70+mph average on this route would put you in the 3hr range.

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George, you seem to be talking about making the B-RI route 125mph territory. I am not even considering that. Looking back at my collection of Official Guides, the timing on the route was from 4hrs to 4hrs15min depending on direction and which train and that was with three stops at Teague, Corsicana and Waxahachie. Later on the Sam Houston Zephyr added a stop at North Zulch for College Station passengers. The Twin Star Rocket never did stop there. This was with jointed rail and a 79mph speed limit, hand thrown switches for meets at sidings and they did that every day and were almost always on time. So increasing the speed to say 90mph or even 100/110 with modern signaling and dispatching does not take a huge investment in infrastructure and given that you eliminated some grade crossings to make entry into the Houston and Dallas metroplexs faster I would think 3-3 1/2 hours would be easily achievable. And certainly, if the trip was non-stop, it would be achievable or better. And the cost would be a fraction of building a whole new row and infrastructure, much of it elevated, for 220mph trains. And it wouldn't take 20 years to achieve. In other words, an AAB approach is much less expensive, much more practical, and makes a lot more sense. But, hey if you plan to be here traveling between Houston and Dallas in 2040 or 2050 then go for it. I won't be around. lol. The Burlington managed to run at an average speed of over 70mph between Chicago and MSP for years on jointed rail/conventional track. A 70+mph average on this route would put you in the 3hr range.

Henry:

 

I think that you are missing my main point, which is:

 

 

The terrain issue is why I say that a 220 mph railroad between Dallas and Houston will not be that more expensive than a 125 mph railroad. However, my main point is that TRACK built for 220 mph costs very little more to build than TRACK built for 125 mph. The maintenance cost will be somewhat higher, yes, but not the initial construction cost. In fact, for ease of maintenance, any track that is intended to carry trains at 220 mph should be built on concrete, not ties and ballast. Track on concrete for this purpose will cost somewhere between 10% and 20% more than track on ballast. My personal view is that given open rural terrain and application of some of the techniques used in concrete pavement construction that the difference could be made to be under 10%.

Track, think track.

 

Much as I like the idea of a fully elevated alignment, if there is any place where it would be reasonable to not do it, it is here. On a straight and near level alignment, a TRACK built for 110 or 125 mph would be very little lower in cost than a TRACK built for 220 mph. Given that the BRI line is very straight with widely spaced large radius curves, and in relatively thinly settled and fairly level terrain, for the Corsicana to say 30 miles north of Houston, by the time you got the railroad good for 110 mph, you should be, excluding electrificatiion and extra faciness in the signals be roughly 90% of the way to what it would take to have it good enough for 220 mph.

 

Building down the middle of I-45 will cause you far more trouble than you would initially imagine. There are multiple sound reasons that you do not see high speed railroads plopped into major highway medians. You will find that the curves on the highway are all too small in radius. Every overpass will have to be rebuilt. It will be too low to clear the trains and the electrification, and will have a pier just where you do not want it. This rebuilding will cause rebuilding of the approaching roadway and any interchanges where involved. The work will interfere with highway traffic and highway traffic will interfere with the work. There are others, but by the time you get through these three you have alread more than overbalanced any real or imaginary advantage to the concept.

 

The Burlington and Rock Island managed to acheve the schedules they did because the rule book speed limits were taken as suggestions if following them interfered with making the schedule. If you were to rebuild the line completely and operate it with a speed limit of 90 mph, given today's realities it is highly doubtful that you could better the 4 hour time of a half century ago. You might not even be able to meet it.

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From nextcity.org, The Bullet Train That Could Change Everything

 

From the article:


For years, the Japanese company behind the world’s first and busiest high-speed rail system has been itching to enter the U.S. high-speed rail market, hoping to sell one of the world’s ripest passenger rail markets on its breathtakingly fast Shinkansen bullet trains.

But with Central Japan Railway’s efforts to sell high-speed trains on the U.S. coasts going nowhere, Texas has emerged as the company’s best hope for introducing its wildly successful technology to the American market.

It also may turn out to be a transformative event in the history of the nation’s transportation system.

 

Lets hope so!

 

This is a lengthy article, so grab a cold beverage, find a comfortable spot, and indulge in some cool summer reading...

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Ahhh... I knew I was missing something. :rolleyes: It didn't seem to be a different edit compared to at Next City, and I couldn't figure out what was up. I checked the link to nextcity and it seemed to be working, so I was confused. (easily done :lol: )

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Seth Moulton defeated Rep. John Tierney in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Massachusetts.

 

What in the heck does that have to do with the Texas Central? :blink:

 

According to his biography, this former Marine, after serving in Iraq,:

earned an MPA from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Pursuing his interest in transportation and infrastructure, Seth served as managing director of Texas Central Railway, a company building a high-speed rail line between Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston. After supervising preliminary engineering and planning of the 240-mile railroad, Seth returned home to the North Shore of Massachusetts to start his own business. [emphasis added]

 

That's what. -_-

Edited by The Davy Crockett

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Well, I see he made sure he checked all the boxes for modern day liberalism. Seems a little puffed up. Guess we hadn't noticed the "building" part for Texas Central down here in Texas (yes, I am in Texas right now) If this piece of campaign literature came across my desk as a resume, I would be checking the details and asking for confirmation with greater than the usual amount of thoroughness.

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I think this whole thing would be better if:

 

1) They build all new ROW - but George's principle of upgrading existing track, if suitable for HSR - is fine...so long as the ROW can be OWNED by TC. Whatever happens needs to ensure a DEDICATED ROW.

 

2) Plan on Stage 2 from Dallas to SAS

 

3) Plan on Stage 3 from SAS to HOU

 

* These would actually BENEFIT Amtrak rather than take away from them.

 

4) Add feeders from Amarillo/Lubbock, and any other college towns that could be done.

 

The biggest difference between TC and AAF is that AAF is doing this on their own property with their own money. I still don't like the idea that AAF is connecting airports - seems to be self defeating. You need to connect to LOCAL services & transit.

 

Frankly, being a former Texan, I don't see this happening by 2025. However, the expansion of DART, TRE, A-TRAIN, and the Houston what-ever-its-called, is extremely encouraging.

Edited by VentureForth

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AAF is connecting to an airport only at the Orlando end mainly because it provides a ready made transportation hub that already does and will do so even more - connect to local transportation. Sunrail will connect to the Airport station to complete the connectivity. At the Miami end the AAF station is nowhere near the airport.

 

Also, the Cocoa to Orlando alignment is not on FEC or AAF owned land, but on leased easement owned mostly by the folks who operate the Beach Line Highway

Edited by jis

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