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I think we need to define some terminology here.
High Speed Rail (HSR) according to the Department of Transportation is any rail service, freight or passenger that runs in excess of the current maximum ruling speed of 79 mph. The section of the North east corridor between D.C. and New York is such an example.
In Europe, HSR refers to passenger rail travel above 135 mph.
I agree with “oldhack“ that U.S. style HSR is well achievable here with a limited investment in the current infrastructure. There is no need for massive injections of new technology, magnetic levitation, or rocket engines. This was the flawed approach of British Rail in the 1960’s and it was a stuffing disaster. However, while millions were wasted on ultra light weight, tiling cars and marginal electrification schemes, a small band of locomotive engineers came up with the simple idea of running the diesel multiple units with power cars at each end that have sustained rail service recovery and constant growth in Britain for over 40yrs. Today, Britain is importing its tilting car technology from Italy!
“Sleepy’s” comment on local DMU service is a good one. Once a core corridor service at reasonable speeds (say 2.5 hrs for Portland to Seattle) is in place, the demand for local connecting services grows and can be financed. In Britain for example, the association of rail operating companies (not the government) is proposing to open 103 new stations this year. Town and City authorities plead to be on the list and offer to give land for the construction of facilities. The companies are taking this action because it increases revenues, not because they are public spirited.
(However, lets not get into a side controversy over the WES DMUs. A subject best left buried.)
posted 2 years, 3 months ago
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