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Old 09-30-2010, 01:13 PM   #21
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

Has anyone proposed using interstate highway medians as a ROW whenever possible? I-84 from I-90 to the start of the HOV lane outside Hartford for example...
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:19 PM   #22
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

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Has anyone proposed using interstate highway medians as a ROW whenever possible? I-84 from I-90 to the start of the HOV lane outside Hartford for example...
That is part of this proposal. Just imagine flying past the Sturbridge tolls at 200 miles per hour and waving at the cars in the back-up! Although, I don't know exactly which sections of highway ROW they plan to use, so my illustration may be inaccurate. Somewhere in the document it says that the route will follow a combination of existing RR and highway ROWs, newly built tunnels, and newly acquired ROW.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:48 PM   #23
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

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Just imagine flying past the Sturbridge tolls at 200 miles per hour and waving at the cars in the back-up!
Quite seriously, the rhetoric of that image will do a lot to get people behind mass transit. You just have to have that experience of watching the train speed by while you're in a traffic jam a couple times for it to make a big psychological impact.
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:37 PM   #24
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

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Where are Providence, Worcester and New Haven in the plan? Seems like they should be connected, no?
The fact that these places "have to be connected" and have lobbies to argue as such is one of the reasons the current Acela isn't as effective as it could be. They could probably shave an hour just by eliminating all these intermediate stops on a super-express of some kind. Boston (South Station only)-New York-Philadelphia (maybe)-Washington only.
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:32 PM   #25
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

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I would think that with Providence and Worcester part of the MBTA Commuter Rail, they're relatively connected to Boston, and if you go to New Haven you have to deal with the crazy sailboaters who create such a bottleneck to cross the Connecticut River that you can kiss a <90 min trip to NYC goodbye.
I think this study also considered the double tracking of the New Haven to Springfield alignment and trains, service levels, added. I like how this connects to the Metro North spokes of Waterbury and Danbury.

I agree with the comments on Woonsocket/Providence and the MBTA. Extend the Franklin Branch one or two more stops and it reaches Woonsocket, so it connects to this plan. The Providence and Worcester freight line could become a passenger rail shuttle between Providence and Woonsocket. In some cases, it makes sense to make people come to HSR and not bring HSR to every city. Besides, Providence will continue to be served by Acela the plan says.
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:49 PM   #26
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

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Has anyone proposed using interstate highway medians as a ROW whenever possible? I-84 from I-90 to the start of the HOV lane outside Hartford for example...
If these trains are operating at average speeds on the northern portion (New York to Boston) at 147 mph, there is no way trains can follow 84 or 90. They would follow too many tight curves and would have to slow down, thus making the travel time more.
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Old 09-30-2010, 07:00 PM   #27
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

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The fact that these places "have to be connected" and have lobbies to argue as such is one of the reasons the current Acela isn't as effective as it could be. They could probably shave an hour just by eliminating all these intermediate stops on a super-express of some kind. Boston (South Station only)-New York-Philadelphia (maybe)-Washington only.
Can't shave an hour between Boston and New York, curves between New Haven and Kingston aside, because MetroNorth restricts Acela speed between New Haven and New Rochelle as the tilt mechanism can't be used on that stretch. Slowest speed is on that section currently, and won't get much better.

Can't go higher speeds between New York and Washington until all the catenary is replaced with constant tension wire.
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Old 09-30-2010, 07:09 PM   #28
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

Below is a link to a photographic record of the building of a high-speed line between Amsterdam and Brussels. Each thumb to a gallery opens into dozens of pictures. But it gives you an idea of what it took to build a high-speed line near existing rights of way for railroads and highways.

http://www.open.ou.nl/hon/bijzond.htm
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:01 PM   #29
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

Politically, the route should include both Hartford and Providence, and maybe Long Island.

Also, if we are talking about spending $100 billion or so, the North-South rail link should be thrown in so HSR can extent to the Anderson Transportation Center in Woburn and maybe to New Hampshire or Maine.
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Old 10-02-2010, 12:36 AM   #30
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

Long Island? Why and how?
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:29 AM   #31
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

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Long Island? Why and how?
You didn't read the original Amtrak proposal, did you ?

Try here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/38345039/A...heast-Corridor

There are five sets of alignments from NYP to Boston mentioned in Section 3.0:
1. Hudson
2. Highway
3. "Air line"
4. Shorline
5. Long Island

But in any event, I just mentioned Long Island because it is a major population center, currently connected to the rest of the Northeast Corridor only through Penn Station. A tunnel route from Long Island to New Haven would be "interesting", but that doesn't mean I am sold on the idea.
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:13 AM   #32
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

Instead of spending billions on new ROWs and tunnels, which will face cost overruns, court cases, environmental review, and other assorted delays, why can't existing highway ROWs be used? Simply build an elevated rail bed using the same prefab elevated concrete structures used to connect to the Big Dig in the center medians of existing highways. The project would be 10x faster and cheaper for the same, if not better, result.
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:43 AM   #33
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

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Instead of spending billions on new ROWs and tunnels, which will face cost overruns, court cases, environmental review, and other assorted delays, why can't existing highway ROWs be used? Simply build an elevated rail bed using the same prefab elevated concrete structures used to connect to the Big Dig in the center medians of existing highways. The project would be 10x faster and cheaper for the same, if not better, result.
Because there isn't enough space on existing highway ROWs (in urban areas). Elevated rail would have to contend with overpasses so it wouldn't be that simple. Also highways are not designed with high speed trains in mind so their curves in places would be too much.

A new, dedicated ROW is the proven way to do this.
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:57 AM   #34
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

Right. Curves designed for cars at 65 or 75 mph are not adequate for HSR moving at 200+ mph.

And for that matter, the Connecticut Turnpike (I-95) is just about as curvy as the existing New Haven railroad alignment.

(This doesn't mean that a highway alignment couldn't be taken advantage of in some instances.)
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Old 10-02-2010, 09:16 PM   #35
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

Space isn't an issue supports can shift from center span to transverse rather easily as required. Look at the highway ramps connecting to tunnels and Zakim Bridge. They shift in this manner to clear all kinds obstacles underneath.

As far as interchanges, the elevated structure simply climbs higher and maintains the grade change if need be for multiple interchanges spaced closely together.

HSR trains automatically tilt to make tight turns. An elevated structure would allow for the track bed to be banked like a race track to further take advantage of this and provide tighter curves than would be normally be possible on conventional track beds.
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Old 10-02-2010, 09:39 PM   #36
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

Not only are our high speed trains non existent as of now in this country, but think of this. Currently, Amtrak has a few lines up here in NE. But when it comes to regular trains running, example the MBTA commuter rail, it stops at the states borders rather than continuing past providence and it literally stops at the NH border. While other countries have trains that run regularly between countries that hate each other.

Pretty sad.

However, new transportation has popped up within the as 10 years and many new talk about concepts. I think within a total of 20 years, our environmental impact, transportation, city development and the standard way of living will have drastically changed for the better abse don the way we seem to be moving.
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:25 AM   #37
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

MBTA commuter rail is being extended to Warwick RI (and I think beyond, eventually). They'll be happy to run into New Hampshire too if that state will kick in a little subsidy for a change. NJ Transit, SEPTA, Maryland commuter rail, and I think some other transit agencies (St. Louis? Portland OR?) cross into neighboring states.
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:46 AM   #38
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

Logistically this would be tough, but would it make sense to create some type of large rail system that ran between Manchester to the north, Boston, Providence, Hartford, Springfield, and Worcester? It would certainly connect a large portion of southern New England.

Obviously with the state of the MBTA and other neighboring transit agencies, I'm not by any means suggesting this will happen, but it's just a concept. Imagine if the states of Rhode Island, MA, Conn, and NH all chipped in? Just a thought I had.
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:48 AM   #39
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

Since these agencies are all state-run, they tend not to operate across state lines. SEPTA doesn't run into New Jersey; the NJ suburbs of Philadelphia are served by NJ Transit. NJ Transit doesn't run into PA or NY; the Port Jervis line of Metro North (on the western bank of the Hudson) uses NJ Transit track to get from Manhattan to that part of NY state via New Jersey, but doesn't stop there. Metro North trains from Grand Central to Connecticut are actually run by that state's DOT. Maryland's MARC serves DC, but doesn't extend into VA, which has its own commuter rail network.

The bottom line is that, while some state agencies run trains into other states, they do so on the basis of their own state population's needs (CT commuters need to get to NY) or form contracts to use each others' trackage like the rail systems of different countries in Europe would.
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:30 AM   #40
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Re: Amtrak's $117 Billion Plan For High Speed Travel

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Since these agencies are all state-run, they tend not to operate across state lines. SEPTA doesn't run into New Jersey; the NJ suburbs of Philadelphia are served by NJ Transit. NJ Transit doesn't run into PA or NY; the Port Jervis line of Metro North (on the western bank of the Hudson) uses NJ Transit track to get from Manhattan to that part of NY state via New Jersey, but doesn't stop there. Metro North trains from Grand Central to Connecticut are actually run by that state's DOT. Maryland's MARC serves DC, but doesn't extend into VA, which has its own commuter rail network.
SEPTA does run to Trenton and West Trenton, as well as DE. MARC doesn't go to VA but it does go to WV. They tend not to go too far over the border, but there is a lot of multi-state cooperation in commuter rail.

Last edited by TMcLaughlin; 10-04-2010 at 03:31 AM. Reason: removing duplicate words
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