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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Urban landscape, that is.

In the early 90's, Chicago, Wisconsin, and Minnesota did a study to see the feasability of building a Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison-Minneapolis Maglev line. I'm not sure what the results were, but the final stretch of the line (Madison-Minneapolis) was well over half the cost at some 250 miles, compared to the 140ish miles from Chicago to Milwaukee to Madison.

Anyway, Maglev trains can go up to 300+ mph. If going 300 mph, a trip from Chicago to Milwaukee would take roughly 15 minutes! With no Chicago highway stress.

I'm guessing General Mitchell airport would see rapid expansion (can it even handle it?) due to O'Hares insane overcrowdedness. Furthermore, I think it's reasonable to say Milwaukee's skyline would boom. Chicago businessmen and others would probably buy luxury lakefront condos in Milwaukee and take the train to work everyday. Milwaukee could improve economically due to it's increased connectedness with Chicago.

Madison could have the same effects. More people might go to Madison to "get away" from the city, whether it be Chicago or Milwaukee.

These three cities are more connected than most realize, and I think a line like this would benefit the whole region.

From what I read, it would cost an estimated 1.5 billionish dollars to build the Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison line, with Minneapolis adding another 2 billion.
 

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I think a line down to Indy and Cinncy makes sense as well. Do I ever expect to see it happen? Not a chance in hell unfortunatly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The world is in need of a transportational revolution. This is as close as it gets.. Not only is it quieter than a car, it uses 30% of the gas/energy. It's fast as hell, too. Highways are getting ridiculous. The estimate for one way (for Chicago-Milwaukee) for instance is like $15-20 dollars. That is easily what you spend on the trip from Milwaukee to Chicago, while you burn gas going about a mile per hour for an hour 1/2
 

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After 9/11 I'm not so sure I want to give terrorists such an easy target. Hundreds of miles of impossible to guard track and a train going 300 miles per hour with hundreds of passengers.
 

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Badgers77 said:
Highways are getting ridiculous. The estimate for one way (for Chicago-Milwaukee) for instance is like $15-20 dollars. That is easily what you spend on the trip from Milwaukee to Chicago, while you burn gas going about a mile per hour for an hour 1/2
But when you get there you still have a car to get to all the places you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There haven't been any troubles with our current train tracks; nor have their been problems in Germany or Japan. Furthermore, from what I hear it would probably be built on a highway median. If it was going from Chicago to Milwaukee, there would really be no countryside either...
 

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VanillaVille said:
After 9/11 I'm not so sure I want to give terrorists such an easy target. Hundreds of miles of impossible to guard track and a train going 300 miles per hour with hundreds of passengers.
You/we need to move on from this sort of mentality. Quit living in fear... We have plenty of "easy targets" in this country. That doesn't mean that we should tear them all down, never build anything new, and hide in bunkers for the rest of our lives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
MilwaukeeMark said:
You/we need to move on from this sort of mentality. Quit living in fear... We have plenty of "easy targets" in this country. That doesn't mean that we should tear them all down, never build anything new, and hide in bunkers for the rest of our lives.
Yeah, exactly. If we live like this, the terrorists have won.... or at least Bush has because he wants us to be all scared.
 

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unusualfire said:
^Highway median? I doubt it. They go so fast i bet it needs a mile of track to make 1 curve. And none of the highways are straight.
from my knowledge, well for the post part, the highway between milwaukee- madison (94) 100% straight shot.
 

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that would be so ridiculously cool that I can't even contemplate it. What would it be, an hour and a half between Minneapolis and Chicago? :eek2:
 

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I love this idea. Milwaukee to Chicago in only 15 or so minutes?! That would be awesome. Not only that, but I could do some shopping at the Mall of America whenever I wanted too.

It would also be cool (never will happen though) to see a "Chunnel" that connects MSP/MAD/MKE/CHI to Grand Rapids/Lansing/Detroit underneath Lake Michigan....that would travel to Toronto.

This all seems a bit too good to happen though. The best I can hope for is high speed (100 mph +) to Madison and Chicago.
 

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My guess is that it would most likely change the landscape by littering it with multitudes of dead oil executives, airline executives, rubber executives, auto executives, highway construction company executives and the "bought and paid for" politicians that love them who would all have heart attacks rushing to kill any sensible and economically feasible high-speed rail for this country. Not to mention every podunk chamber of commerce (and their local state and federal representatives) that would demand that the trains stop in Shitsville to pick up Zeke and Ethel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Politicans and companies have actually looked into the possibility of a Maglev between Milwaukee and Chicago (most notably), also including St. Louis, The Twin Cities, and Madison. It's estimated to be about 15 million dollars per mile, so you figure Milwaukee to Chicago is the only feasible idea right now... that would run about a clean billion dollars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here is the old article:

High-Speed Rail and Magnetic Levitation

Studies show that people are reluctant to abandon automobile use for trips of less than 100 miles, while planes are most efficient at trips of over 500 or 600 miles. The trips in between these distances are those that will be best served by high-speed rail or magnetic levitation (mag-lev) transportation systems. By replacing short, inefficient commuter flights between cities, high-speed or mag-lev trains might eventually link sections of the country, ease traffic congestion on the highways and help alleviate overcrowding at airports. Aside from its transportation benefits, a high-speed rail or mag-lev system will create jobs for a wide range of industries.

High-speed rail is in commercial use in Japan (the "bullet trainf") and in France (the "Train a Grande Vitesse" (TGV) - very fast train) where trains run at 165 miles per hour and 186 miles per hour, respectively. There have been no fatalities in the Japanese system in 25 years. The French system runs 60 trains a day between Paris and Lyon. Germany and Spain are also developing systems.

According to Joseph Vranich, Washington director of the High-Speed Rail Association, the TGV lines between Paris and Lyon, France, use so little fuel that the first 16 passengers on each trip pay for it. The TGV system uses less land than the Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris. Advocates have used fuel efficiency and the relatively small amounts of land needed for rights-of-way to argue that the trains are better suited to handle increased passenger loads than airports and highways. "In general, two tracks of a high-speed system, which by its nature is a high-volume system, can carry as many travellers as 10 lanes of an interstate highway", former Amtrack president Paul H. Reistrup testified on behalf of the proposed Texas high-speed system. "In summary, high-speed rail systems both pollute less and conserve land to a greater degree than other competing forms of inter-city transportation."

A high-speed rail system is very similar to conventional rail travel, just faster. High-speed rail uses an electrified rail line and conventional steel wheel on steel rail technology. Amtrack's Metroliner service between Washington and New York is an early example of high-speed trains. It runs about 125 mph, taking 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete the trip. Amtrack has built up its Los Angeles-to-San Diego line to carry trains at high speeds. It has also increased speeds on other popular routes, including the New York City-to-Albany line and the Northeast Corridor between Washington, New York and New Haven, Connecticut, and plans to increase speeds on the New Haven-to-Boston line. Although Amtrack does not want to build a high-speed rail or mag-lev project, it would operate a line for a company or jurisdiction that built it.

Magnetic levitation uses magnetic waves to suspend and propel vehicles along a guideway. It is an American technology created in the mid-1970s and being developed by the Japanese and Germans, who have built short mag-lev lines, but is still primarily a laboratory experiment and has never been used commercially. The mag-lev system has an estimated maximum speed of 300 mph and would require only 40% as much fuel per passenger mile as an average automobile, and only 33% as much as the average airplane. A mag-lev train is quieter than a car, airplane or train. It can be built along-side or even in the median strips of existing highways. Mag-lev requires its own road-bed and cannot be used on existing rail lines, but it requires far less room than either regular train tracks or highways, and it can be elevated above the ground. The trains would run on electricity.

Dr. Richard Gran, Director of Advanced Concepts for the Grumman Corporation, says that an early mag-lev system between New York and Washington, D.C. could be built for $10 million to $15 million per mile. He claims that the system would pay for itself in 15 years from passenger fares that will be competitive with airline fares. Fare revenues will equal 30 cents per passenger mile over an 8 cent operating cost. Transportation experts estimate that a demonstration line between Baltimore and Washington would cost between $600 million and $1 billion.

Richard Thornton, an engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, contends that the price of mag-lev lines is currently $30 million a mile, but could become comparable to the roughly $10 million a mile cost of conventional railroad lines.

A Washington-Baltimore trip would take about 10 minutes and cost the rider about $12. A single line would carry about 2,000 passengers an hour. Mag-lev technology would reduce the trip between Washington and New York to less than an hour.

A new report by the National Research Council's Transportation Research Board (TRB) found high-speed rail to be feasible for the near-term. High-speed rail would cost approximately $10 million per mile in open, straight spaces, as compared to mag-lev's $15 million per mile. This makes high-speed rail more attractive in the open areas of the midwest. Mag-lev is thought to be more cost efficient in urban areas.

State Action

Several states, including Florida, Texas and California, are planning new high-speed surface transit systems to help solve energy, environmental and transportation problems.

A $2.1 billion, 256 mile project in Texas has awarded its first engineering contracts. The project is the first step in a planned $5.7 billion, 620 mile state-wide system. The high-speed rail system is financed by public and private funds, including tax-exempt bonds. The system, which will transport people from Dallas to Houston in an hour and a half, is expected to be completed in 1998 and to serve two-thirds of the state's population.

One private $500 million mag-lev project has already begun in Florida, but the commercial viability of the 10-mile route from the Orlando Airport to Disney World is still unknown. Officials expect the system to open in 1996.

In New York, AB 7606-A creates the New York State High-Speed Surface Transit Commission. The Commission is to draft a proposal, select a private sector contractor, and work with the contractor to develop an inter-city high-speed system. The legislation calls for the system to travel at speeds of at least 150 mph by either high-speed rail or mag-lev technology. The New York Assembly feels that New York state is uniquely able to research, finance and construct these networks.

The states of Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin plan to develop a feasibility study for a high-speed rail system that would link Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis and St. Paul. The states will lobby for federal funding for most of the $1 million cost of the study. They hope to complete the study in early 1993 and will focus on upgrading existing "steel wheel" technology and the use of a mag-lev system. They estimate now that a high-speed rail system would cost about $3 billion to build, and another $100 million per year to operate. Approximately 7.5 million passengers would use the system, generating about $336 million in annual revenues. A mag-lev system would cost $5.4 billion to construct and $123 million per year to operate. It would attract 8.5 million passengers with $409 million in revenues per year.

The group Mag-Lev USA, which includes among others, Grumman Aerospace, CSX Transportation, Martin Marietta, Hughes Aircraft and Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, wants to build a mag-lev line between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. This region is being considered for federal funding for both political and strategic reasons. The line would serve as the basis of a Washington-New York-Boston system. The Maryland House of Delegates passed a resolution (HJR 15) urging Congress to fund their demonstration project. Most of the cost would be borne by the federal government, but the state might have to pay as much as $100 million for the project.

Governor L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia wants Congress to study the feasibility of a high-speed link between Richmond and Washington, D.C. Virginia officials want the Baltimore-Washington corridor to be extended to Richmond and Hampton Roads. Wilder suggested that the system could be built on the Interstate 95 median so that the state would not have to purchase the right-of-way.

A publicly funded high-speed rail project is being considered in Florida. Originally conceived to carry passengers between Tampa, Orlando and Miami, project officials have cut Miami from the plan due to lack of financing.

Washington state is considering a bill to authorize a $1 million study on high-speed rail, to be completed by the fall of 1992. A Seattle-Tacoma route is being considered for federal funding because, like the Washington-Baltimore route, it could serve as the first leg of a larger West Coast route.

Buffalo-to-New York City and Springfield-to-Boston routes are also being considered. In the West, high-speed officials are looking closely at a 250-mile long Las Vegas-to-Anaheim route. A mag-lev line could make the trip in 70 minutes, but private funding for the $5.1 billion project fell through. Proponents of the route must wait and see if public funding will become available.

According to Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), his state of Pennsylvania is "a perfect candidate" for a high-speed system because its two large cities, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, are 300 miles apart. The Pittsburgh mag-lev project is working to develop a regional system to extend out of Pittsburgh to the Midwest and the East Coast. The group includes private enterprise, industry and local government working with Carnegie Mellon University. Their immediate goal is to build a demonstration project between the Pittsburgh International Airport and downtown Pittsburgh.

The Federal Initiative

In November, 1991, Congress passed the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (PL 240), authorizing $725 million to research high-speed rail systems, including magnetic levitation. In addition, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) has introduced legislation to develop high-speed rail. Specter's bill would give a 10% investment tax credit to develop high-speed, inter-city rail facilities. To qualify for the credit, a facility must be new, domestically produced and be part of a system that does not directly burn fossil fuels to propel or lift it.

U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev) has introduced a bill that would allow the federal government to guarantee $5 billion in public pension fund investments in mag-lev train projects. The proposed bill would also permit states to donate federal land to such projects at no cost.

Among other pending federal legislation is a House bill (HR 1087), approved in November 1991 by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, that would authorize loan guarantees of up to $1 billion annually for high-speed rail construction projects during a 10-year period.

The Transportation Research Board report says that high-speed rail systems are technically feasible but will probably never be able to attract enough passengers to cover capital and operating costs. The report, commissioned by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), suggested that policy-makers derive public subsidies from existing highway and aviation trust funds to finance research and demonstration projects.

The TRB report concluded that if the United States expects to follow the lead of Japan and Germany in the area of high-speed rail, it must provide federal funding as those countries have. Japan and Germany have each spent more than $1 billion in developing mag-lev technology alone. High-speed rail benefits those who do not use the system by reducing air pollution and highway traffic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'd love to see a Maglev from Chicago to Milwaukee with no Kenosha, etc stops in between. It would be nice if the downtowns were connected, although that is probably unlikely. More than likely it would be near the airports. Milwaukee would then probably pick up a lot of O'Hare flights, and many people would probably even fly into Milwaukee if they wanted to go to Chicago. It would totally connect the two areas, and rich businessmen (like I said) would possibly live in Milwaukee and work in Chicago- or maybe they wouldn't have to. Maybe Milwaukee would slowly get a lot more service-based economy due to their increased connectivity with Chicago. This is all assuming it's a Maglev. In my view, 150mph is just not fast enough to get people to start taking it seriously. 300mph- definitely.

If it's 5.4 billion from Chicago to Milwaukee to Madison to Minneapolis, you figure a Chicago-Milwaukee is roughly around a billion. It's only 80 miles...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
The biggest problem I see with this (for Milwaukee) is that they don't have a good local transportation system. When people arrive in Milwaukee on their Maglev, they won't want to rent a car, take a bus... they'll want to take public transportation like a subway or light rail- or maybe a cab but that would probably be too expensive. This would be less of a problem with Minneapolis, but Minneapolis is so detached it might be too far away for a feasible Maglev connection
 
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