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The_sandlapper

SC high speed rail routes

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This is indeed good news, but there are two things:

1- They need a Greenville/Spartanburg to Charleston via Columbia line.

2- The rail lines need to actually be high speed. I can't see how I will get to where I want to go faster by taking a train that is only going to go 60 mph. I drive all of 80 where speed limits allow (on interstates of course). If the trains went 80 to 90 mph then they would be much more effective.

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Yeah it will kinda defeats the purpose of high speed rail if it travels only at 60mph. But I believe they said they can not allow the trains to go faster in SC b/c the rail lines have too many twist and turns in the state. And it does make sense for a line to run from Greenville to C-lum, to Charleston. There are plans to build a coastal line that's supposed to effect Charleston, and Myrtle Beach, not sure where it begins and though?

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Is this supposed to be MagLev, or just electric?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The answer to your question is: neither, at least in this incarnation. More details on that later. But first...

I suspect that when you see the words "High Speed Rail" you think of the TGV or Shinkansen, but when you're talking about HSR in the USA it just ain't so. The present high speed rail network being contemplated through the southeast means minimizing curves in the freight tracks, adding more capacity, and improving the signalling. The end result will be maximum speeds of 110 mph, and averages in the 80-90mph range. I would say that this isn't really "high speed rail;" "highER speed rail" would be more appropriate. But although speed certainly is what draws the most attention, it's really not the most important part of the project. The most important advancement will be to turn the inefficient, always-late, "one-train-per-day" amtrak service into an effective, modern passenger rail network. In addition to higher speeds, this will mean more destinations, better on-time performance, and (most importantly) more frequent trains.

The argument that it's worthless because it'd lose in a race to the TGV is a non-starter. The French government excercized its enormous powers of eminent domain to sieze property on the cheap for their LGV lines - powers which do not exist in the US. The only reason the freight railroads in the US exist right now is because they've been there for a century or more. Besides, trains do not have to move at 200mph to be worthwhile. There are a lot of people out there (myself included) who HATE driving long distances and HATE being herded around and managed like cattle by the airlines. Every experience on Amtrak I've had has been pleasant and comfortable, and Amtrak trains (even with their once-a-day and always-late schedule) often run surprisingly near capacity; If the trains were frequent and reliable, I'd bet money that people fed up with the highways and crappy airlines would flock to the rails in droves, even if the trains are no faster than a car.

Now, back to your question:

The advantages of electrification are not enormous, but they are significant, and worthy of consideration. But given the huge costs involved (multiple billons of dollars) it just isn't on the table at this time. The trains used will be a new generation diesel-powered tilting trainsets, like the Talgo XXI. However, as ridership increases and further services are added, electrification will be considered. In the engineering phase of the initial SEHSR network, careful attention will be paid to clearances and such, in order to leave enough space for future installation of catenary wire.

Don't even get into maglev. At this point, attempting to build a long-range maglev network before most people even know how to get from here to there on a train is absurd. China abandoned the extension of their maglev project, and Japan - a country of enormous density and extremely high train ridership - says that their maglev line between Tokyo and Osaka is still a long way off. The truth of the matter is, it's experimental technology, would be way too expensive (tens of billions) and would be a lightning rod for criticism doomed to failure before the first passenger ever got on the train.

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I am confused. The NCDOT already runs trains on this route. Basically twice daily service between Raleigh and Charlotte with stops at a number of cities in between. These trains run upwards of 75 mph with gradual improvements being made to cut the travel time between Charlotte & Raleigh to about 2.5 hours. But this is not the HSR project. That will also run basically along this same route but will mostly likely involve something closer to Acela. (though I am not sure)

NCDOT Trains are the Carolinian & Piedmont, rest are Amtrak

allmap.jpg

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...But this is not the HSR project.  That will also run basically along this same route but will mostly likely involve something closer to Acela.  (though I am not sure)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yep. SEHSR will be a lot like a diesel powered Acela, with as many as 8~10 trains in each direction per day. Starting from Charlotte, the trains will follow the same route and make the same stops as the Piedmont. Half the trains will terminate in Raleigh, and the other half will continue north towards Washington DC on a new route - the restored CSX "S" line through Henderson, Petersburg and Richmond. Passengers will be able to transfer quickly and efficiently to the Acela and other northeast corridor services at Union Station in Washington.

The current daily "Carolinian" will probably be kept as well, since it provides service to Rocky Mount, Wilson, and Selma.

NCDOT Trains are the Carolinian & Piedmont,  rest are Amtrak

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The Carolinian is just like any other Amtrak train, except that the part between Raleigh and Charlotte is subsidized by the state. Without NC's subsidy, the train probably wouldn't exist, or at the very least, the fare would be higher. The Piedmont is a little different, since the equipment is owned exclusively by NCDOT. However, the crews are still 100% Amtrak. Tickets and scheduling are handled by Amtrak as well.

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