rail

Finally, A Vegas Train That Makes Sense

Las Vegas Railway Express has signed an agreement with the Union Pacific Railroad to operate a conventional speed train from Fullerton, in Orange County to downtown Las Vegas, according to a story by Michelle Rindells of the Associated Press.  read more »

The Future of Passenger Rail in America

On October 19, an Amtrak passenger train hit 111 mph in a test run on a 15-mile stretch of track between Dwight and Pontiac, Illinois. It was the first tangible return from a three-year $1.5 billion program of improvements funded under the Administration's high-speed rail initiative. The program hopes to shave about an hour off the 5 ½ hour rail trip between Chicago and St. Louis. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn who were aboard, called it a "historic" event.  read more »

The Moonbeam Express

Seldom has public opinion and expert judgment been more unified than in its opposition to  the California high-speed rail project.    The project has been criticized by its own Peer Review Group, the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO), the California State Auditor,  the State Treasurer and a group of independent  experts  (Enthoven, Grindley, Warren et al.).  In addition, the bullet train has come under severe criticism by influential state legislators and  by members of the state's congressional delegation.  read more »

California's Bullet Train in the Court of Public Opinion

A business plan released on November 1 by the the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), has placed the price tag for the LA-SF bullet train project at $98 billion--- trippling the $33 billion estimate provided in 2008 in the voter-approved Proposition 1A. At the same time, the date of project completion has been pushed back by 13 years -- from 2020 to 2033.  read more »

Placing Amtrak Records in Context

The state of Michigan recently announced record ridership on three routes supported by Michigan taxpayers. Records mean little when the numbers are insignificant.  read more »

Major Texas Metro Areas Are Confirming Failures in Rail Transit

Despite the success of the Main St. line, I've been concerned for a long time now that the next set of rail lines will essentially bankrupt Metro while providing minimal benefit (except for possibly the Universities line, which has moderate benefits, but may not get built anytime soon because of the money drain of the other lines being built first).  Now the Coalition On Sustainable Transportation (COST) has come out with the numbers from other cities (especially Dallas) that don't bode well for Houston at all.  read more »

Report: China to Suspend High Speed Rail Development

Railway Age reports that Premier Wen of China "has told the state media that the government will suspend approvals of new rail while it conducts safety checks to address concerns rising from the high speed train collision last month that killed 40 people."  read more »

Exaggerating in Orlando: Sunrail

For decades taxpayers have paid billions to finance major transportation project cost overruns far exceeding the routinely low-ball forecasts available at approval time.  read more »

Giving the "New Houston Metro" Credit Where it's Due

Tuesday, the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) held a blogger luncheon with senior Metro people (Chairman, CEO, board members, managers) at the Rail Operations Center south of Reliant.  It was an informative event with a lot of good two-way Q&A.  And it included an impressive tour of the facility, which, btw, is not air conditioned in the main maintenance bay.  Let's just say it was the right time of year for a tour and I'm really glad I don't work there in the summer.  read more »

California High Speed Rail Costs Escalate 50 Percent in 2 Years

The highly respected Californians for Responsible Rail Design (CARRD) has released a new cost estimate for the phase 1 Los Angeles to San Francisco high-speed rail line. Based upon an analysis of California high-speed rail Authority documentation, including stimulus grant applications and other internal sources, CARRD estimates that the line will now cost $65 billion, rather than the current estimate of $43 billion.

The CARRD release indicated:  read more »