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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
Yes 249 89.57%
No 29 10.43%
Voters: 278. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 30th, 2014, 12:37 PM   #4681
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From Railway Gazette:

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http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/n...y-project.html

Governor launches Indiana Gateway project
30 May 2014





USA: Indiana governor Mike Pence joined FRA Deputy Administrator Karen Hedlund, Amtrak's Chief of State Contracts Michael Franke and Norfolk Southern Assistant Vice-President Jeff Harris at Hammond on May 29 to mark the start of work on the US$71·4m Indiana Gateway project. This is intended to relieve congestion and accelerate train movements through the northwest of the state.

Announced in January 2010 as part of the government’s high speed rail programme, and funded under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, the two-year project includes reconfiguration of the track layout at Porter, where Amtrak’s Chicago – Detroit trains diverge from Norfolk Southern’s former New York Central main line between Chicago and Cleveland. According to Indiana Department of Transportation, the junction is used by 14 passenger and 90 freight trains a day, leading to many pathing conflicts.

Following negotiations between INDOT and the railroads, a revised track layout was agreed in September 2012, requiring work at seven locations. As well as a new passing track for Amtrak at Porter, there will be a third freight track for NS and five sets of high speed crossovers, along with new signalling. INDOT anticipates that the remodelling will be completed by early 2016.

The Indiana Gateway scheme forms a key element in the programme to upgrade Amtrak’s Chicago – Detroit service, which currently takes 6½ h to cover the 450 km route. In 2012 Amtrak began running at 177 km/h on the 155 km between Porter and Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is fitted with GE Transportation’s Incremental Train Control System. With federal assistance, Michigan DoT purchased from NS the 216 km between Kalamazoo and Dearborn, which is now being upgraded for faster running and partially double-tracked. The whole package is expected to cut the journey times by around 30 min.

As part of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, the enhanced Chicago – Detroit service is expected to be operated by new double-deck trainsets ordered from Sumitomo and Nippon Sharyo by a consortium of Illinois, California, Michigan, Washington and Missouri. These will be powered by 200 km/h ‘Charger’ diesel locomotives ordered from Siemens in December
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 01:28 AM   #4682
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Old June 14th, 2014, 03:31 AM   #4683
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Lawmakers and Gov. Brown agreed to spend $250 million on the (California) high speed rail and dedicate 25 percent of future cap and trade funds toward the $68 billion project.

Under cap and trade, California began collecting the new revenue in 2012 by auctioning "carbon credits" that essentially permit businesses to exceed the cap on carbon dioxide emissions. Credit holders who do not emit carbon dioxide beyond a cap set by the state can sell them to businesses that are exceeding the cap . . . .
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/articl...402.php#page-2

This, presumably, is in addition to the $10B worth of bonds previously authorized.
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Old June 15th, 2014, 10:33 PM   #4684
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High-speed deal: As part of the overall state budget deal, Democratic lawmakers have agreed to use $250 million in cap-and-trade revenue to help build the $68 billion high-speed rail project.

The deal means 25 percent of the money the state gets from selling carbon emission rights - including the expected 10- to 20-cent-per-gallon bump at the pump starting next year - will go to high-speed rail.

"This could be a tipping point," said Dan Richard, chairman of the High Speed Rail Authority.

"It provides an ongoing revenue stream," Richard said. "It allows for better financing, and it's already started to accelerate interest from private investors."
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier...re-5553081.php
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Old June 16th, 2014, 01:32 PM   #4685
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Will CAHSR be able to issue bonds against this revenue to speed up construction? The most expensive way to build HSR is to do it on a very piecemeal manner.
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Old June 16th, 2014, 03:36 PM   #4686
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Will CAHSR be able to issue bonds against this revenue to speed up construction? The most expensive way to build HSR is to do it on a very piecemeal manner.
That's the plan.

The contention has been the court ruling that the original business plan was planning to use the Prop 1A funds to build out the IOS, and use revenue from once it's in operation and bonds taken out against those revenues (among other funding sources) to build the Bay and Basin at either end of the IOS.

The court said they couldn't use the Prop 1A bonds in that manner, as the law states it must be used to financed the "entire system."

It was just an odd technicality. For now, it seems this will provide a backstop, as they also have to match the Federal Grants they were awarded.

It's all rather confusing...
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Old June 18th, 2014, 08:10 PM   #4687
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From Railway Gazette:

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http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/s...programme.html

‘Cap-and-trade’ revenues to support Californian high speed programme
18 Jun 2014



USA: The California state budget for 2014-15 includes a commitment to provide a further $250m for the planned San Francisco – Los Angeles high speed rail project.

The contribution would be provided using revenues accrued by the state’s emissions trading scheme. More significantly, the budget, backed by Governor Jerry Brown and approved by the state Congress on June 16, also includes a long-term funding commitment which would allocate 25% of these ‘cap-and-trade’ revenues for use by the Californian High Speed Rail Authority on an ongoing basis. It is thought that this funding could provide between $3bn and $5bn per annum for the project, enabling CHSRA to raise funds by borrowing against the future revenue stream.

CHSRA is currently undertaking local consultation in northern Los Angeles County, amid suggestions that work on a section near Burbank could be brought forward under the new funding stream.

With the prospect of further federal government funding apparently unlikely in the medium term, CHSRA has been seeking alternative funding options to move the project forward. Last year, a series of judicial rulings placed a temporary halt on planned bond sales under the so-called ‘Proposition 1A’.

The Proposition 1A bond sales were approved by a referendum in November 2008 and would unlock a further $9·95bn towards the $31bn cost of the 480 km Initial Operating Section. This would provide a ‘one seat ride’ between San Francisco and Los Angeles by 2027, with high speed services sharing tracks at either end of the route with Caltrain and LA Metrolink
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Old June 20th, 2014, 01:27 PM   #4688
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It's kind of ironic that Prop 1A, thought to be such a positive sign about the CAHSR project, has ended up being a bit of a stumbling block because of all the asterisks involved. Still, I was afraid that the whole thing was a bit too slowly-moving to actually bear fruit, but good on the California politicos still working diligently to get it going.
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Old June 20th, 2014, 02:14 PM   #4689
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Prop 1A has some good elements, like the mandated maximum travel time between SF and LA. Without it, we'd have seen the project "downgraded" from a 2h40 target time to a 4h target time, under some lame excuse of "this actually servers betters the Californians" or "the train will be so comfortable 1h20 extra won't be noticed because people will be able to use super fast internet on board'.
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Old June 20th, 2014, 04:46 PM   #4690
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post
It's kind of ironic that Prop 1A, thought to be such a positive sign about the CAHSR project, has ended up being a bit of a stumbling block because of all the asterisks involved. Still, I was afraid that the whole thing was a bit too slowly-moving to actually bear fruit, but good on the California politicos still working diligently to get it going.
Opponents have just been willing to exploit any loophole they could find (having a sympathetic judge didn't hurt). The fact of the matter, is the only thing that has held up the CAHSR is the decision that using Prop 1A funds to build the IOS rather than financing a full build, was not what voters had approved.

Of course, knowing how such projects are built everywhere in the world, the financing plan was actually always fine. However, they have had to explicitly go back and state where the funds to finance the rest of the system will come from. That's where the Cap & Trade deal comes in...
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Old June 21st, 2014, 04:13 AM   #4691
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If there is an Elon Musk-like personality in the US's high speed rail endeavors, maybe things would proceed a little faster.
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Old June 22nd, 2014, 05:18 PM   #4692
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If there is an Elon Musk-like personality in the US's high speed rail endeavors, maybe things would proceed a little faster.
No they wouldn't, because there would still be interests trying to stop it at all costs.
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Old June 22nd, 2014, 05:52 PM   #4693
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Joint rolling stock procurement plan axed

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Amtrak and California have ended their effort to jointly buy high-speed trains for the West Coast and the Northeast Corridor.

A meeting with train manufacturers in Philadelphia this month convinced officials that the needs of the Northeast and California - including top speeds and route configurations - were just too different.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is planning to operate 220 m.p.h. trains on a newly built corridor between San Francisco and Los Angeles by 2029.

Amtrak wants 160 m.p.h. trains to replace aging Acela Express equipment on the century-old Northeast Corridor - right now.

"It was a unanimous decision by staff of both [railroad agencies] to recommend to our managements that it was best . . . to solicit the equipment separately," Mark Yachmetz, chief of Amtrak's Strategic Fleet Rail Initiatives, said Friday.
http://articles.philly.com/2014-06-2...-acela-express
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Old June 23rd, 2014, 01:38 AM   #4694
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That seemed way too obvious. I don't frankly know what they expected to happen. I could maybe see purchasing two different types of train in a joint agreement, but it seems really, really unlikely that they'd be able to have the same train be cost-efficient in both services.
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Old June 24th, 2014, 05:12 AM   #4695
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On the upside, more types of high speed train sets in the US!!!!
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Old June 24th, 2014, 08:03 AM   #4696
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Originally Posted by Innsertnamehere View Post
I love how they stuck the big ugly beasts in front of the sleek trains for "safety"..
I love big EMD locomotives like that, I don't think they're ugly at all.

I would definitely feel safe behind one too considering it would utterly obliterate anything in it's path.
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Old June 24th, 2014, 09:31 AM   #4697
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I would definitely feel safe behind one too considering it would utterly obliterate anything in it's path.
Would there be any difference between an ACS64 with a string of carriages and a freight train hitting something at a railroad crossing? Not really. Both will be substancially heavier then anything they are likely to hit. And it's not the weight, but the front shape that really makes the difference: If you make sure nothing can come underneath your train, it's very unlikely to derail from a collision with any kind of road traffic.

The only time the freight train has a safety advantage over the passenger train is when they hit each other. But they shouldn't be able to be on the same track in the first place. Using heavier then necesary construction for this reason is also saying we do not trust our employees and systems to do a good job in keeping enough seperation. The widespread introduction of PTC is a good example of a system that is suposed to guarantee that seperation.
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Old June 25th, 2014, 01:36 AM   #4698
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Because it's "so awful" compared to what we use for transport currently.
http://www.timesheraldonline.com/new...il-air-quality
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Old June 25th, 2014, 04:57 PM   #4699
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Because it's "so awful" compared to what we use for transport currently.
http://www.timesheraldonline.com/new...il-air-quality
Wow...maybe they think this train will run on burning coal or wood. Funny that the train won't even be going to San Rafael.

[IMG]http://i60.************/23igmfl.jpg[/IMG]
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Old June 26th, 2014, 06:15 AM   #4700
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Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail review set to begin following feds’ OK today

http://transportationblog.dallasnews...ok-today.html/

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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.

The public notice comes as no surprise: Back in January U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx gave his blessing to the project, which has been around since the 1980s — when Southwest Airlines crashed a proposal from what was then known as Texas TGV. But this line’s looking more and more like … well, if not a reality, then something less pipe-dreamy.

From the FRA’s notice today, which announces a public-comment period, a little background for those who dismissed this as never-gonna-happen:

TCR is a Texas-based company formed in 2009 to bring HSR to Texas as a private-sector venture. Working closely with Central Japan Railway Company (JRC), TCR is proposing the deployment of JRC’s N700-I Bullet System based on the world’s safest, most reliable, lowest emission, electric-powered, HSR systems, the Tokaido Shinkansen System. Developed and operated by JRC and the former Japan National Railways, the Tokaido Shinkansen has operated safely for almost 50 years and carries over 400,000 daily passengers. The most current generation Shinkansen train, the Series N700, runs at speeds up to 186 miles per hour.

In other words, Dallas may not have a great deli. But it won’t take forever to get to Houston’s any more.

TCR reps were in D.C. just last week drumming up bipartisan support for high-speed rail. Richard Lawless, chairman and CEO of Texas Central Railway, says today’s announcement “marks another step forward for the transformational high-speed rail project that will span the 240 miles between Dallas and Houston.”

Tom Schieffer, the former Texas Rangers president-turned-U.S. ambassador working with TCR as a senior advisor, says in a statement sent to The Dallas Morning News that “transforming the way Texans move around the state starts with bringing our infrastructure into the 21st century. Texas can blaze the trail for a new America by being the first to demonstrate the value of letting the private sector lead the way on high-speed rail.”

We’re awaiting comment from the FRA.
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