Posts Tagged ‘high-speed passenger trains’

Virgin’s Las Vegas Station Plans Revealed

February 22, 2020

Virgin Trains USA has submitted plans for its Las Vegas station.

Documents submitted to the Clark County Commissioners office indicate the Las Vegas terminal will be built on 110 acres on South Las Vegas Boulevard across from the South Premium Outlets.

The 273,300 square-foot station would be a 15 minute drive from the Las Vegas strip. Plans also call for a parking garage adjacent to the station.

Virgin has proposed establishing a high-speed rail service between Las Vegas and Southern California that would eventually serve Los Angeles.

The documents submitted for Virgin indicated that construction of the route is expected to begin later this year with service getting underway in 2023.

The Las Vegas terminal will contain a departure lobby, space for retail businesses and a baggage claim area.

VIA Hires Firms for Engineering Work

February 3, 2020

VIA Rail Canada has hired a joint venture of AECOM and Arup as the engineer to analyze a proposed high-frequency rail service in the Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto corridor.

The joint venture will provide technical and engineering matters during the pre-procurement phase of the project.

Engineering and technical analysis is required for the project to receive final recommendation. The project also involves conducting an environmental assessment and undertaking site investigation studies, including geotechnical studies.

The Canadian Infrastructure Bank has committed CA$55 million in funding for planning and pre-procurement work for the project while the Canadian government added CA$16.1 million in funding for Transport Canada and VIA Rail to support the project.

Texas Central Expects 2019 Groundbreaking

December 5, 2018

A Texas intercity rail firm expects to break ground late in 2019 for a route between Dallas and Houston.

Texas Central said the equipment to be used on the route is likely be an N700I model train, which is a modified version of the N700 bullet train that Central Japan Railways operates.

The letter T in the model designation denotes international use and intention for export.

The N700I is thought to be similar to the recently-released N700S, which is lighter and more efficient than the original N700.

However, the Texas trains will be eight cars rather than 16.

Texas Central plans to seek funding once its proposal has been approved by the Federal Railroad Administration.

It has said it already has plans to acquire a third of the property it needs and is in negotiations to obtain the remaining land that it needs.

Texas Central Secures $300M Loan

September 17, 2018

The developers of a Texas high-speed rail passenger system have secured a $300 million loan.

Texas Central Partners will use the money to work toward getting permits for the rail line as well as engineering work.

A Dallas newspaper said the loan is being backed by financiers in Japan.

The 240-mile rail line would link Dallas and Houston and become the first privately owned high-speed train in the United States.

Texas Central has said it plans to use Japanese Shinkansen technology for the train.

“This is a loan to be paid back with interest,” the company said in a statement. “It does not change the train’s majority-Texan ownership.”

Texas Central has also received funding from investors living in Texas. The project is expected to cost between $12 billion to $15 billion.

Money Pledged to Washington State High-Speed Rail Study

July 30, 2018

Three entities have pledged $750,000 toward paying for a study of high-speed rail service between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.

They are the province of British Columbia, the Oregon Department of Transportation and Microsoft Corporation.

That funding would be in addition to $750,000 that the Washington State Department of Transportation is providing for the study, which seeks to expand upon a 2017 preliminary analysis of prospects for a 250 mph high-speed rail system in the Pacific Northwest.

The newest study will be an “in-depth business case evaluation that WSDOT will undertake over the next year,” the department officials said in a news release.

The goal of the service would be to provide one-hour trips between Seattle and Vancouver as well as promote economic growth in the region and encourage “greater collaboration, deeper economic ties and balanced growth for years to come.”

MHSRA Seeks Phased Network Approach

September 12, 2017

The Midwest High Speed Rail Association is calling for a “phased network approach” to implementing high-speed rail service in the United States, including the Midwest.

In a 50-page white paper, the group said a combination of high-speed trunk lines and upgraded feeder rail routes coupled with dedicated bus services can increase mobility.

Rather than focusing on a point-to-point fast train systems between major cities, the MHSRA plan would provide a blueprint for systems that serve multiple markets and as many constituencies as possible.

The report cited such existing networks in France, Germany and Japan that provide multiple connections from their main stems.

One example would be Chicago-Cincinnati corridor. The report said a combination of upgraded Metra Electric tracks from O’Hare International Airport through Chicago, a high-speed trunk connecting the Windy City with Indianapolis, and conventional feeders to other communities could reduce Chicago-Indianapolis rail travel times from five hours, ten minutes to 90 minutes.

Upgrading existing track to Cincinnati once used by New York Central’s James Whitcomb Riley could result in a three-hour Chicago-Cincinnati overall travel times.

The running time of the current Amtrak Cardinal is eight hours, thirty minutes.

“The core point is that rather than only trying to keep projects affordable, we should be figuring out how to put more people on trains,” said MHSRA Executive Director Rick Harnish. “We need a new ridership and revenue model that combines commuter, feeder, and intercity trips in a way suited to the geography and demographics to the Midwest.”

FRA Wants Guidance on High-Speed Rail Rules

June 2, 2017

The Federal Railroad Administration is seeking guidance from the White House before it issues standards for high-speed rail lines.

The FRA has been working on the new rules for several months but has held them back because of a Trump administration requirement that agencies eliminate two regulations for every new regulation that they issue.

A news report this past week published The Bureau of National Affairs, a division of Bloomberg, quoted the FRA’s chief safety officer, Robert Lauby, as saying that the high-speed regulations are “complete or ready to be issued,” but the agency lacks an appointed administrator or deputy administrator.

“We want to get some new leadership. We want to get some consistency and have some more direction,” Lauby said. “There’s more questions that need to be answered before we will have a firm way forward.”

The proposed high-speed rail rules were released last November and are designed to create a new tier of safety standards that allow passenger rail service at speeds up to 220 mph along lines shared with commuter and other rail.

At the present, the fastest train in America is Amtrak’s Acela Express, which hits 150 mph in some places in the Northeast Corridor.

Lauby said the rail industry wants the regulations released, calling them “well-liked” because they will provide cost-savings and were developed in coordination with rail and affected industries.

“Rather than have a big question mark, this provides predictability,” Lauby said. “They know exactly what they need to build. They can do accurate costs estimates, and they can have good proposals, and they can compete with each other.”

FRA Updates Progress on High-Speed Train Rules

November 27, 2016

The Federal Railroad Administration this week issued an update on its proposed safety standards for high-speed passenger trains.

FRAThe regulations have been the subject of nearly 10 years of work by the agency’s passenger-rail division.

The FRA is expected to establish a new category of passenger equipment — Tier III — for trains traveling up to 220 mph.

The updated standards would offer an alternative method for evaluating how well passengers and crews are protected in an accident, often called crashworthiness.

The public, railroad industry, railroad labor, manufacturers and other stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide feedback and comment on the proposed rule during the next 60 days.

Under the proposed rules, crashworthiness would be evaluated based on equipment meeting an equivalent level of safety achieved through crash energy management technology or other innovative engineering methods.

Although Tier III trains will be required to have exclusive track to operate at speeds above 125 mph, the new standards will allow Tier III trains to safely share track with current Tier I and Tier II commuter, intercity and Acela trains.

Compatibility between equipment types is a key strategy to allow trains to share existing corridors to reach downtown stations, FRA officials said in a news release.