Category Archives: High-Speed Rail

Difficult Transit

Many people have heard that certain regions are well-suited for these projects, for example the Northeast Corridor is unusually good for HSR because it links four major cities and several medium-size ones on a single line. By implication, there has … Continue reading

Posted in High-Speed Rail, New York, Providence, Regional Rail, Sweden, Transportation, Urban Transit, Vancouver | 63 Comments

California HSR Should Not Have Been Funded This Way

Last month, California made a budget deal for the formula that would be used to distribute its cap-and-trade revenues. The state’s cap-and-trade bill does not deed the money to the general budget but to a separate account, to be distributed … Continue reading

Posted in Environmental Issues, High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, Politics and Society, Transportation | 35 Comments

Empire High-Speed Rail

At the beginning of the month, New York State released its draft environmental impact statement for high-speed rail from New York to the Upstate cities. The costs of HSR as proposed by the state are excessive, and as a result … Continue reading

Posted in Construction Costs, High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, New York, Shoddy Studies, Studies, Transportation | 90 Comments

Metro-North-Everything Compatibility

The Regional Plan Association has a new study warning that Metro-North’s infrastructure is falling apart, and demands $3.6 billion in immediate spending on state of good repair. In general, my line on deferred maintenance is “you mean the agency deferred … Continue reading

Posted in Construction Costs, Good/Interesting Studies, High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, New York, Regional Rail, Shoddy Studies, Studies, Transportation | 40 Comments

Sometimes, Half a Line is as Good as No Line

The perfect is not the enemy of the good when it comes to rail projects. The half-done job is. In a trivial sense it’s obvious that half a tunnel across a mountain is useless. But even partial lines that have … Continue reading

Posted in High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, Transportation | 35 Comments

Is Low-Cost Intercity Rail Possible?

Update: see corrected Shinkansen staffing numbers below The last few decades have seen the growth of airlines and bus operators that reduce operating costs using a variety of lean-production ideas, chiefly using the equipment for more hours per day to … Continue reading

Posted in Amtrak, High-Speed Rail, Transportation | 56 Comments

Loopy Ideas Are Fine, If You’re an Entrepreneur

There is a belief within American media that a successful person can succeed at anything. He (and it’s invariably he) is omnicompetent, and people who question him and laugh at his outlandish ideas will invariably fail and end up working … Continue reading

Posted in High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, Politics and Society, Transportation | 563 Comments

Can HSR Connect Hartford and Providence?

If new high-speed rail construction has to largely follow Interstate corridors, then a new line from New Haven to Boston can serve either Providence on I-95 or Hartford on I-91/84/90, but not both. However, there’s still the possibility of building … Continue reading

Posted in High-Speed Rail, Providence, Transportation | 108 Comments

Infrastructure and Democracy

Two stories, one recent and one older, have made me think about the undemocratic way the US builds infrastructure. The older story is California HSR’s cost overrun coming from scope creep; the biggest overruns were in the Bay Area, where … Continue reading

Posted in High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, New York, Politics and Society, Regional Rail, Transportation | 50 Comments

UN and Rail Operators Propose International Vacuum Train Network

The UN Development Programme, the UIC, the governments of Japan and the EU, and the Japan Railways group have issued a joint release calling for the development of an international network of vacuum tubes in which trains will travel at … Continue reading

Posted in High-Speed Rail, Transportation | 17 Comments