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  #521  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2011, 8:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Jenner View Post
I doubt that such a train would travel 220 in Illinois, given that it would still be using freight lines (which I think the Federal government has restricted to 150mph max), as well as many at grade crossings.
...
Jenner: No offense, but contrary to what you just said, the study for 220mph rail would be for new, dedicated tracks. It would not use existing rail. It would have zero at-grade crossings. It would be a study of how to do 220mph rail, not a study of how to put faster rail onto exist tracks, which has already been studied. The study would also include estimates on ridership.

I, for one, would visit St. Louis if I could get to central St. Louis from central Chicago in under 2 1/2 hours. Currently, I can't. Even flying is barely competitive with that, and much more delay-prone than dedicated tracks would be. 2 1/2 hours Loop to central St. Louis would own the business market, and take a big chunk of the leisure market, too, since Chicagoans familiar with transit would be content using transit in St. Louis (it does exist, after all).

220mph rail to Minneapolis is almost a no-brainer, since Minneapolis and St. Paul have decent downtowns and decent transit, and it would also pass through Milwaukee, Madison and probably also Rochester, all markets with a likely high rate of use due to density. For that route, Chicago could make use of the tracks for a high-speed Loop-O'Hare train, too.
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  #522  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2011, 6:03 PM
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^^ It's been put forth that the downtown-O'Hare link would be built as part of the first phase to St. Louis, along with a station at McCormick Place.
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  #523  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2011, 9:43 PM
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And the link for that study is here. Basically, they think that HSR could even attract people who would normally fly out of St. Louis and change flights at O’Hare, so it’s pretty damn competitive. I hope we don’t even bother with a second 110-mph track to St. Louis and plunge ahead with true HSR. A couple years ago there was talk about a Chicago-St. Louis line being built before any of the California segments, as a demonstration piece for 220-mph HSR in the US. Although I think that window of opportunity’s passed, it would have been a nice alternate reality to having chosen the Florida-Tampa route as the quick-and-inexpensive HSR showcase.

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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
I, for one, would visit St. Louis if I could get to central St. Louis from central Chicago in under 2 1/2 hours. Currently, I can't. Even flying is barely competitive with that, and much more delay-prone than dedicated tracks would be. 2 1/2 hours Loop to central St. Louis would own the business market, and take a big chunk of the leisure market, too, since Chicagoans familiar with transit would be content using transit in St. Louis (it does exist, after all).

220mph rail to Minneapolis is almost a no-brainer, since Minneapolis and St. Paul have decent downtowns and decent transit, and it would also pass through Milwaukee, Madison and probably also Rochester, all markets with a likely high rate of use due to density. For that route, Chicago could make use of the tracks for a high-speed Loop-O'Hare train, too.
SNCF looked at this, though they proposed putting the O’Hare link on a Chicago suburban bypass following CN and the Inner Harbor Belt that would also hit La Grange and Midway rather than the main line in Chicago, though I think there was a mention in passing of having a “spoke” from downtown to O’Hare. Although getting to O’Hare from Chicago’s definitely possible (if likely kind of expensive, due to the density of industry along the CN line), from O’Hare north is kind of tricky, given that it would require an elevated high speed line through affluent suburbs, which can be a kiss of death to any major infrastructure project (and the only unbuilt Shinkansen line was to Narita Airport…).
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  #524  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2011, 4:58 PM
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...
SNCF looked at this, though they proposed putting the O’Hare link on a Chicago suburban bypass following CN and the Inner Harbor Belt that would also hit La Grange and Midway rather than the main line in Chicago, though I think there was a mention in passing of having a “spoke” from downtown to O’Hare. Although getting to O’Hare from Chicago’s definitely possible (if likely kind of expensive, due to the density of industry along the CN line), from O’Hare north is kind of tricky, given that it would require an elevated high speed line through affluent suburbs, which can be a kiss of death to any major infrastructure project (and the only unbuilt Shinkansen line was to Narita Airport…).
Expense or not, I think it's kinda dumb not to serve the core of Chicago with HSR directly from other places. There at over half a million jobs down here, and most of the tourist things are down here. Forcing people to transfer at O'Hare just seems wasteful. Ideally, I guess, I think there should be stops at both downtown and O'Hare, but I guess very few get exactly what they want on large infrastructure projects.
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  #525  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2011, 8:24 PM
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New announcement from Sen. Durbin & Gov. Quinn about Spring, 2011 work on the Chicago to St. Louis railway. By 2014, the only non-upgraded (110 mph) segment of this trip will be the 80-mile leg from Chicago to Dwight, IL.

IOW, it will be about 75% done.

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/artic...peed-rail-deal
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  #526  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2011, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ChiPsy View Post
New announcement from Sen. Durbin & Gov. Quinn about Spring, 2011 work on the Chicago to St. Louis railway. By 2014, the only non-upgraded (110 mph) segment of this trip will be the 80-mile leg from Chicago to Dwight, IL.

IOW, it will be about 75% done.
Here is the official press release from Illinois on the agreement: http://www.illinois.gov/PressRelease...=1&RecNum=9293. The slow 30 to 60 mph part that was not part of the previously announced project work which people had pointed out was St. Louis to Alton, IL which is 2 tracks owned by different freight companies, IIRC. There is a brief reference to improvements on most of that segment in the announcement: "between Alton and the Mississippi River". Without specifics and an EIS, they may just be fixing that section with signaling and some track work to 79 mph class IV track. Good to see the stimulus HSIPR funding put to work soon.

There was also good news from NC today that they finally reached an agreement with NS which will release $461 million to begin track work soon on the Raleigh to Charlotte NC corridor. News article at http://www.charlotteobserver.com/201...-for-fast.html.
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  #527  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2011, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
Expense or not, I think it's kinda dumb not to serve the core of Chicago with HSR directly from other places. There at over half a million jobs down here, and most of the tourist things are down here. Forcing people to transfer at O'Hare just seems wasteful. Ideally, I guess, I think there should be stops at both downtown and O'Hare, but I guess very few get exactly what they want on large infrastructure projects.
Huh? No, the SNCF proposal included three lines into downtown along with the radial bypass (one from the north via MD-N, one from the southwest via CN/Heritage Corridor, and one from the southeast via Norfolk Southern).

Since SNCF proposed the Chicago-St. Louis link as a later phase, the southwest line does not show on their maps, but they do mention it in the text of the report.

The maps they provided only show the first phase, but even that is pretty clear on the point that there are two parallel routes through Chicago. In fact, the center-city alignment is the same color as the rural segments, indicating that the bypass is secondary.
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  #528  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2011, 6:26 AM
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SNCF was definitely thinking along the lines of the LGV Interconnexion Est, which allows for trains to go across France without passing through Paris, although that mainly exists because actually getting a TGV through Paris would be near-impossible. It’s relatively simple to build a West Loop Transportation Center, though, so I’m not exactly sure why they decided to have two through-Chicago lines. My best guesses are:

1. Concern that running west to O’Hare before heading back east to the MD-N line would add too much time to the journey, making Chicago-Minnesota trips less competitive with air travel. SNCF really prioritizes getting between the largest destinations as quickly as possible, even if it means potentially sacrificing other destinations—the original LGV didn’t go through Dijon, for instance, and in their midwest plan SNCF saves around ten minutes by going northwest through Eau Claire rather than La Crosse and Rochester, despite the fact that the latter would likely generate higher ridership than its size suggests. Personally, I think this is the biggest factor in considering whether or not to include O’Hare (and places like Rochester) on the northbound mainline—will these destinations draw enough people to make up for the shorter travel time? In the case of Chicago-Minneapolis, I’m not sure it does (caution: pure guesswork!), which is why I see an O’Hare link, if not done independently, a more natural fit for a southbound HSR route; trips from St. Louis and Indianapolis will also be shorter and might be more competitive with connecting flights to O’Hare than ones from Minneapolis.

2. Going straight through Chicago would take longer, since SNCF assumes shared trackage with Metra (much like the TGV uses non-high speed track when going to entering or exiting major cities or off the LGV); a circumferential route would have to be constructed anew and could be conceivably be quicker for through-travelers than going through the city. However, Chicago really does serve as the midwest’s center of gravity, so at least in the short-to-medium-term (however long that is in HSR-years) I don’t see a fast circumferential route as really necessary

3. They felt that Midway was worth its own station—maybe, but Midway really is more of a local airport than O’Hare and I’d be surprised if it drew a sizable number of people from outside of northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana.
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  #529  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2011, 6:31 AM
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BTW, here is SNCF's Midwest proposal (PDF file):

Midwest
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  #530  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2011, 3:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markitect View Post
BTW, here is SNCF's Midwest proposal (PDF file):

Midwest
Interesting report. I just want to make a point that I believe many overlook. While SCNF has a history of building and operating High Speed Trains so their estimates and projections are probably as accurate as can be found at this initial conception phase, it's still a "best" scenario projection. Meaning rosy ridership projections based upon rosy fares, rosy capital costs or rosy construction costs based upon building the cheapest (mostly at-grade) solutions. Let's face some reality, with 60% or more of the capital costs coming from government accounts, politics will enter and cause an escalation of construction costs because the mostly at grade corridor will turn into either below grade open-pits or above grade aerial tracks.

And those political changes will completely change all the values of the corridor.
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  #531  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2011, 5:19 PM
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Although, in France at least, SNCF has a reputation of low-balling ridership estimates and not taking induced demand into account. I definitely agree with you on capital costs, though for things like ridership I’d expect them to be more accurate than most American-generated estimates, which are done by groups that don’t have any actual HSR experience.
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  #532  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2011, 8:33 PM
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I'm a newbie here. Why didn't the SNCF plan happen? Why all these plans if all we are getting is 110mph joke service?
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  #533  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2011, 12:02 AM
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My favorite Durbin quote in bold.





http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,1965169.story

Ill. officials tout high-speed rail construction

By DEANNA BELLANDI


Associated Press

6:10 PM CDT, March 22, 2011

CHICAGO


The next phase of construction on a high-speed rail route between Chicago and St. Louis will begin next month, a high-stakes transportation project similar to those that other states have rebuffed, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin announced Tuesday.

"Illinois has always been a strong railroad state and we always will be," Quinn said at an Amtrak rail yard near downtown Chicago.

Quinn and Durbin took swipes at other states for turning back money for high-speed rail, including Florida, which rejected $2.4 billion that had been earmarked for rail projects in that state because new Republican Gov. Rick Scott was worried taxpayers could get socked with the bill for any overruns and operating subsidies. Illinois has said it will try to get a part any money that other states return.

"The governors of these other states that have given up their money can stand by and wave :wave: at our trains when they go by. We're going to move people, we're going to freight, we're going to set a standard for America. It starts right here in Chicago," Durbin said.

...

Illinois' other senator, Republican U.S. Mark Kirk, supports high speed rail including federal funding and believes it should be a private-public partnership so that trains move with the speed and reliability to serve consumers who would otherwise would fly, Kirk spokesman Lance Trover said.

...

Illinois has been awarded $1.2 billion in federal money to expand passenger rail and the state has promised to kick in another $42 million. Last year, Quinn and Durbin debuted the first $98 million in upgrades to a 90-mile stretch of track from Alton, just northeast of St. Louis, to Lincoln for the high-speed route.

The latest $685 million section of the construction project is scheduled to start April 5 and includes building new rail track using concrete ties between Dwight and Lincoln and between Alton and the Mississippi River. A modernized signal system will also be installed between Dwight and Alton, Quinn's office said.

Officials estimate the work would create more than 6,000 direct and indirect jobs, such as construction and manufacturing work....

...
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  #534  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2011, 12:35 AM
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I'm a newbie here. Why didn't the SNCF plan happen? Why all these plans if all we are getting is 110mph joke service?
Under the Bush administration, the US Department of Transportation put out a request for proposals to foreign rail builders, hoping that someone might offer a self-sustaining business model that would pay for construction and operation without any government money involved.

It didn't go very far because all of the proposals that were submitted called for a significant level of Federal money to pay for the initial construction.

SNCF was particularly interested by the idea of building lines in the US, especially after French companies had become involved in the Texas TGV project in the early 90s. SNCF developed detailed plans to build HSR in Florida, Texas, the Midwest, and California.

SNCF has not started work on any rail lines because they still need major Federal funding to pay for construction - total costs for the initial phase are estimated at $68 billion in 2009 dollars and much of that would need to come from the Federal/state/local governments.
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  #535  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2011, 12:46 AM
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Wow, typical republicans thinking that the private sector will do it all without government spending.

$68 billion for one phase? Nuts, no wonder it went nowhere. That's more than the CAHSR project!
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  #536  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2011, 12:58 AM
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$68 billion for one phase? Nuts, no wonder it went nowhere. That's more than the CAHSR project!
Yeah, but it includes more mileage. The first phase includes four lines from Chicago to Minneapolis, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Detroit/Cleveland (one line that splits at Toledo).

For comparison, SNCF estimated their California plan would cost $24.5 billion.
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  #537  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2011, 2:26 AM
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They should have proposed 1 line, this is the United States for God's sake, not China. Pick 1 line for HSR, the most important one, not 5 lines.
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  #538  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2011, 3:25 AM
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The FRA defines high-speed rail corridors, and the original Bush-era RFP asked for proposals on those corridors. The "Midwest Hub Corridor" is in reality a network of several corridors, so SNCF had to project the costs for building all of those corridors out to 220mph - and the cost was massive.

Providing high-speed service on any one of the Midwest corridors will generate lower ridership than a similar line in California, because the California line has more population along it. California as a mega-region has its cities pretty much in a straight line, so you can link them all with a single high-speed rail project. (exception: to avoid a costly tunnel under SF Bay the CHSRA will put Sacramento on a spur).
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  #539  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2011, 8:37 AM
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Wow, typical republicans thinking that the private sector will do it all without government spending.

$68 billion for one phase? Nuts, no wonder it went nowhere. That's more than the CAHSR project!
Yeah about 1/2 a season worth of Afghanistan
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  #540  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2011, 8:41 AM
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Jenner: No offense, but contrary to what you just said, the study for 220mph rail would be for new, dedicated tracks. It would not use existing rail. It would have zero at-grade crossings. It would be a study of how to do 220mph rail, not a study of how to put faster rail onto exist tracks, which has already been studied. The study would also include estimates on ridership.

I, for one, would visit St. Louis if I could get to central St. Louis from central Chicago in under 2 1/2 hours. Currently, I can't. Even flying is barely competitive with that, and much more delay-prone than dedicated tracks would be. 2 1/2 hours Loop to central St. Louis would own the business market, and take a big chunk of the leisure market, too, since Chicagoans familiar with transit would be content using transit in St. Louis (it does exist, after all).

220mph rail to Minneapolis is almost a no-brainer, since Minneapolis and St. Paul have decent downtowns and decent transit, and it would also pass through Milwaukee, Madison and probably also Rochester, all markets with a likely high rate of use due to density. For that route, Chicago could make use of the tracks for a high-speed Loop-O'Hare train, too.
I know my wife and I and many of our friends would do the same. We have discussed this over dinner. Would you go to St Louis if you could get there in about 2hours or so on the train. Yep. 5 hour drive Nope.

40 minutes to Milwaukee is a no-brainer.

I have never been to Minny but if could do it in 3 hours or so via train....hell I might just go for dinner.

It would be a game changer in so many ways
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