Sunday Open Thread
A beautiful day here in Monterey – hope it is for you as well, wherever you might be in California (or elsewhere in the world). Some HSR links:
- Modesto Bee editorializes in favor of Merced’s Castle Airport for the HSR maintenance hub, pointing out that the site has the space to accommodate the trains and would pose a minimal impact to neighbors.
- Chinese airlines are beginning to abandon service on routes served by HSR, including Zhengzhou to Xian. This is in spite of the fact that HSR ticket prices in China are significantly more expensive than the slower trains they replaced, suggesting strong latent demand for high speed passenger rail service that is now being met.
- Seattle Transit Blog takes a look at HSR plans for the Pacific Northwest corridor from Eugene to Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Ben Schiendelman argues, correctly I believe, that new local rail services in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver will boost HSR practically and politically. In the meanwhile, the $500 million in stimulus funds for the PNW corridor will help the Amtrak Cascades, which use Talgo trainsets, deal with some persistent bottlenecks, including the single-track Tacoma waterfront tunnel.
- A Colorado DOT study pegs the cost of regional HSR at $22 billion, to serve the I-25 Front Range corridor (Denver metro to Colorado Springs) and the I-70 corridor from Vail to Denver International Airport. Most of the cost is for dedicated HSR tracks, as the study’s authors recognize sharing with freight ROW is not ideal from a service or revenue perspective, as well as the fact that Colorado’s freight rail corridors generally do not serve the key destinations in the state.