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Tucson to Phoenix by Train?


colin

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definitely enough traffic between the cities, but, as the article points out, rail transit between car towns has a tendency to strand one once one steps off the train. in-town transit has to be there for someone without a car in a place like phoenix.

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Yeah, I think a more more public bus or shuttle might be a good start. The Denver area has this already for the outlying areas.

Another issue is that, to my knowledge, there is not a rail line that goes directly from Phoenix to Tucson. I think putting it through the East Valley before going into Downtown would help ridership. I mean, how cool would it be to step on the train in Downtown Tucson and step off in Downtown Tempe?

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Makes sense: strengthen the bonds. They're such different places though, that I don't know if it would work. And I also don't know that anyone in Tucson wants any sense of stakeholder-ship in the Phoenix area. I see it as a lost cause.

This whole train thing is just one of those pipe (or rail) dreams. I think every state has their little "high speed rail study" at some point. It happened several years ago in Texas and there's still a big push to incorporate it, but, at least there, it was pretty infeasible. And, here, I can't see a 200 mph train barrelling through Eloy. I just thought it was especially interesting that they were actually looking at the RailRunner in New Mexico for ideas. That's going to be the real litmus test for inter-urban heavy rail in the Southwest.

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Wow, that was fast! Way to go Janet!

UP (the other UP) pointed out something important: "Unlike other Western states, there is much less redundant track here." The Tucson to Casa Grande line is one of the busier in the state, as evidenced by the ever-present freight train at one of Tucson's many at-grade crossings, and traffic is only supposed to increase. There was talk about a year ago of a railroad bypass, but like all transportation bypasses of Tucson (including the current I-10 bypass study), the big question is where to put it that won't create too much of a negative environmental impact. I don't believe it will ever happen. They'll probably just end up adding tracks and building more underpasses for the crossings.

But it's good to see Steve Farley in the news. I campaigned on his ultimately unsuccessful city council bid in 2004 (Nina Trasoff beat him in the primaries), so I was happy to see him get elected to something this past cycle. He was also the main proponent in the unsuccessful light rail bond in 2002, and a major force in the 2005 Regional Transportation Authority bond, which has added the "modern streetcar" (when can we start calling it light rail?) to Tucson's eventual transportation plans.

So, is it happening? As stated, the inevitable widening of I-10 to 3 lanes all the way between the two metros will not solve the issue: we need an alternative. One thing that would certainly help this is if there was a direct connection to Sky Harbor, which would be possible when Phoenix's East Valley light rail segment is completed. Wasn't that supposed to be around 2010?

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One thing that would certainly help this is if there was a direct connection to Sky Harbor, which would be possible when Phoenix's East Valley light rail segment is completed. Wasn't that supposed to be around 2010?
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^ Hope they build one of those. Its really handy. Theres one at DTW Airport in Detroit, but its only a mile long, and is indoors(goes from one end of the terminal to the other), but its pretty much the same thing. Underground sounds cool, but man, tats expensive!

800px-DTW_Edward_H._McNamara_Terminal.jpg

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Yeah, I'll have to reiterate my point about mass transit in the Southwest: underground does not work because people like being outdoors.

Why the flip are they building this thing in a tunnel anyway?? I realize that there's not a great amount of room on the boulevard, but surely it would be more cost-effective to build above ground.

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  • 5 months later...

Commuter rail between Phoenix, Tucson gaining support

An organization called the "Commuter Rail Stakeholders Group" held a meeting this week to discuss commuter rail between Tucson and Phoenix. They feel that the light rail currently being built in Phoenix will test the public's acceptance of rail. The first goal of this group is to have an implementation strategy developed by January.

Here's an interesting quote:

And commuter rail could be more economical than building a new freeway because commuter rail generates revenue after it is built.
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Yes, Tucson still has Amtrak. You can get to hotspots like El Paso and Yuma. And in only twice the time and the same cost of driving!!

I actually took it back from Houston a Christmas or so ago, and it was long (like 24 hours), but I very much enjoyed it, although I had the seat to myself. The last Amtrak I took, from Chicago to Cleveland, was full, and it kinda sucked. But it still beats the crap out of flying.

That line also goes to LA eventually, and it's only like $40. I've thought about doing that a couple of times, especially since LA has a reasonable rail network of its own now.

Amtrak actually also stops in Maricopa, which is about 30 miles south of Phoenix. For whatever reason, there's not even a bus that goes there from Phoenix right now. Theoretically, you could just link a new line to the station in Maricopa and *POOF* inter-urban rail. But I don't think this would work because people wouldn't want to transfer, and it's at least $20 one-way to go to Maricopa from Tucson on Amtrak.

These "committees" and "friends" things always pop up with these rail ideas. When Texas was looking into a massive inter-urban high-speed rail network in the late 90's, one of these popped up that I'm pretty sure still exists today, even though most of the politicos there will now pretend that they've never heard of it.. Can't remember the name though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I would really like to take a train between cities. But when it takes 12 hours on the train between San Francisco and L.A. and you can drive it in half the time or fly for the same price as the train (about $130 roundtrip), it just isn't worth it.

It doesn't make sense that the train averages 30 mph between those two cities. Caltrain's Baby Bullet can go as fast as 79 mph. Extend that service south all the way into Los Angeles, and I think a lot more people would use it, provided that it's cost-competitive with flying or provides more amenities. Or build that high speed rail line, and I would take it even if it's more expensive than flying.

But Amtrak just isn't worth it, unless your time is worth nothing.

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So Cal has the Coaster that goes from San Diego up to, I think, SLO (maybe further). You could always take that. Or, you've got Caltrain in the Bay Area that you can take from SF to San Jose.

But, unfortunately, in Arizona, Amtrak is a little useless and the only viable passenger rail service are our two tourist railroads at the Grand Canyon and in Verde Canyon.

I still find it hard to accept that high-speed rail can work in this country. I just don't think we're ready for it, and I would imagine some sort of high-speed boat (maybe like the hydrofoil in Hong Kong that goes to Macau) would be more viable in coastal states.

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colin, you make a good point. I would like to see high speed rail, but I think density is an issue with any forums of transit. What this country has to do is get off of the auto dependent mindset, reconfigure the way we grow (smart growth) and reinvest in our city centers and older parts of town. Arizona first need to get used to light rail, than commuter rail and move upward in transit.

Like other western cities that thought light rail would fail have seen a huge success in it. Denver, Salt Lake City, Dallas are all expanding there services and looking at or have commuter rail that connect with light rail lines.

Phoenix is so spread out that we need to get light rail going and being a success and develop commuter rail on the existing rail lines.

I personally would love to take a train to LA in about the same time it takes me to drive.

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  • 2 weeks later...

WTF?

$1!!! How do they make any money on that?? I mean, the gas alone costs at least $50 one-way let alone paying the driver for 7 hours. And then vehicle maintenance.

They mainly need a road-alternative between the two AZ metros. I don't know that many regularly travel between Tucson and LA.

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