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jice

High Speed Rail Corridors

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Been doing a little research tonight on high speed rail in the US... after all the talk of potential funding from the Stimulus package, and thanks to the poll that was put up today.

Maybe many of you already knew this.. but it was new to me.

The US Dept of Transportation has a Federal Rail Administration.. which has put together various high-speed rail corridors around the country. Many of these corridors have apparently been planning out high-speed rail for many years already.. and are in good positions to recieve funding in the near future, if it becomes available.

Check out the map on this website:

http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/203

By looking at the map.. it seems apparent that many of the cities and states surrounding Nashville and TN are already light years ahead on high speed rail planning.

Here are a few of the websites for nearby high speed rail corridors:

http://www.midwesthsr.org/

http://www.sehsr.org/

http://www.southcentralrailcorridor.org/

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I am familiar with that map. It should be noted that is a Clinton era map that has been around for a while. What happened is that in 2001, Bush killed 99.9% funding for all high speed rail projects and the plans on that map are pretty much dead. I would say those corridors will be irrelevant for what will happen in the future.

It should be noted there are not any active projects for HSR in the United States except for the one on the SEHSR link that you posted above. (other than some plans) The reason that one has been moving forward is because the NCDOT and VADOT are funding it. There has been no federal funding or plans to move this project forward. They are investing in it because there is a NC funded passenger rail train line that currently runs daily trains between Charlotte and Raleigh, with service to NYC that is actually operating with a profit. Because of that, the states felt it was important to keep working on speed increases for this line even though federal funding disappeared. There is an active long term UrbanPlanet Topic that covers a lot of this in detail.

The reason the SEHSR isn't doing anything between Charlotte and Atlanta is because SC and GA have not expressed any interest in it. Both states have voted in legislators and governors who are mostly anti-rail. California did recently vote in state funding for HSR so you may see some work begin there. So I would say that for now, and despite the money the Obama money, if any projects take place in Tennessee, it will have to be with significant involvement from the Tennessee DOT. The state might want to figure out how to connect Memphis to Nashville first, maybe with conventional train service similar to what NC did, and then from there find a route to the eastern rail routes. Nashville to Charlotte would be a great route, but there is the disadvantage of having to cross the mountains. The problem with going to GA is the GADOT and once you get to Atlanta, you are stuck with Amtrak for any other plans.

Finally a couple of weeks ago, I did a topic on a historical event related to high speed rail. You might want to have a look at this topic.

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Thanks for the info.

I dont know if this is truly part of the HSR projects, or if this is more of just Amtrack improvements.. but apparently there have been upgrades in IL recently on tracks running from Chicago to Springfield.. and additional improvements could provide for a HSR link from St Louis to Chicago.. this one, IMO, seems likely to recieve stimulus funding.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2009/ma...-high-speedrail

Also.. i found this article about this and other projects that could get funding:

http://www.kiplinger.com/businessresource/...ost_090320.html

I remember just after the stimulus funds were announced.. hearing about the maglev project from Las Vegas to Disneyland.. apparently that was actually false reporting?

The talk here in TN is actually of a route going from Nashville to Chattanooga to Atlanta. Memphis would be left out.. sadly.. although that would be nice to have.

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There is very little need, nor hope, for high-speed rail service in any of the southeast urban regions mentioned. The population base does not exist to support long-distance train service and people will always prefer private cars.

What is needed is more commuter rail service to/from the fast-growing suburban regions of Metro Nashville and Middle TN.

Additional "Music City Star" commuter rail routes along a southeast corridor to Antioch/LaVergne/Smyrna/Murfreesboro; and along a northwest corridor to Clarksville/Ft Campbell, would be most beneficial to the region.

I am familiar with that map. It should be noted that is a Clinton era map that has been around for a while. What happened is that in 2001, Bush killed 99.9% funding for all high speed rail projects and the plans on that map are pretty much dead. I would say those corridors will be irrelevant for what will happen in the future.

It should be noted there are not any active projects for HSR in the United States except for the one on the SEHSR link that you posted above. (other than some plans) The reason that one has been moving forward is because the NCDOT and VADOT are funding it. There has been no federal funding or plans to move this project forward. They are investing in it because there is a NC funded passenger rail train line that currently runs daily trains between Charlotte and Raleigh, with service to NYC that is actually operating with a profit. Because of that, the states felt it was important to keep working on speed increases for this line even though federal funding disappeared. There is an active long term UrbanPlanet Topic that covers a lot of this in detail.

The reason the SEHSR isn't doing anything between Charlotte and Atlanta is because SC and GA have not expressed any interest in it. Both states have voted in legislators and governors who are mostly anti-rail. California did recently vote in state funding for HSR so you may see some work begin there. So I would say that for now, and despite the money the Obama money, if any projects take place in Tennessee, it will have to be with significant involvement from the Tennessee DOT. The state might want to figure out how to connect Memphis to Nashville first, maybe with conventional train service similar to what NC did, and then from there find a route to the eastern rail routes. Nashville to Charlotte would be a great route, but there is the disadvantage of having to cross the mountains. The problem with going to GA is the GADOT and once you get to Atlanta, you are stuck with Amtrak for any other plans.

Finally a couple of weeks ago, I did a topic on a historical event related to high speed rail. You might want to have a look at this topic.

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There is very little need, nor hope, for high-speed rail service in any of the southeast urban regions mentioned. The population base does not exist to support long-distance train service and people will always prefer private cars.
Yet there is at train that leaves Charlotte to head across the state then to DC and NYC that is pretty much always packed. I know plenty of people who would rather ride on decent train service over driving that route. There are almost 16 million people living in NC and VA so I would say that train service is warranted.

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I agree that MCS commuter rail extensions are needed. But honestly, the same argument for HSR exists for commuter rail here in Middle TN. The people have to be willing to actually use it.. for it to be successful.

I think in the future, though, both HSR and commuter rail will be necessary and eventually even preferred methods of travel.

Personally, i would love to be able to ride a train to Atlanta or St Louis or Chicago or maybe even NYC. I'm sure there are others who feel the same way in this area.

What bothers me, though.. is looking at the map posted above.. and all the planning that has already taken place in other regions.. and seeing how far behind TN really is at this point. Not only with HSR, but rail in general.

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^^^hey nice find on the article, and thanks for posting it.

but.....

haven't we heard this same song and dance before? I thought a "study grant" was issued several years ago. Ami wrong?

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Based on the fact that the news article mention this eventually expanding to Louisville and up to Chicago.. it looks like (by just looking at a map) that would mean the rail line would follow I-24 to Nashville then head up I-65 through Louisville, Indianapolis, and then Chicago.

Are there any plans to connect Nashville and St Louis?

Apparently, there is an old rail line that was popular years ago already in place.. the NC&StL.. has there been any talk of restoring this service someday?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nashville,_Chattanooga_and_St._Louis_Railway

http://www.ncstl.com/

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it would be great if this happened before im retired. Since i'm about 40 years from that, i might be lucky.

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