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I don't understand how what you are saying is different from what I proposed, so I don't follow the sense of what kind of changes you are proposing:

It is clear what the minimum acceptable bid for provision of electrical infrastructure would be: maintenance of the existing heavy rail capacity, and provision of additional Rapid Rail capacity, in a way that allows for reliable, on-schedule deliveries of freight carried on the Rapid Rail system.

The minimum requirement is retention of existing capacity and provision of new Rapid Rail paths. Given the overlap between existing Amtrak routes and STRACNET, that would basically be all of current regional Amtrak routes either running in the new Rapid Rail network, or replaced by expanded Rapid Rail regional corridor like the Midwest Hub / Ohio Hub / Empire Corridor / Keystone Corridor / Southeast Corridor / Gulf South Corridor / T-Bone Corridor / Cascades Corridor (see maps in part 2).

And of course, the Rapid Rail system would offer opportunities for passenger rail services more similar to European regional trains, so that there would be substantially more opportunity to expand true HSR on the cheese-eating surrender-monkey model of building out HSR corridors in stages, with HSR routes spilling outside of the dedicated HSR corridors, albeit at regular Express speeds.

So rather than two seperate networks, it would be two and a half separate networks, with true HSR systems spilling into the Rapid Rail system.

The significant advantage of this approach is that we have such a substantial stockpile of grossly inefficient interstate freight traffic to mine in support of the system, establishing the Rapid Rail network in the existing rail rights of way adjacent to mainline heavy freight lines.

Indeed, electrifying heavy freight lines can give on the order of 15% increase in capacity, due to the reduction in capital expense of providing electric locomotives with improved accel/deaccel.

And few US rights of way are built out. Many were originally allocated four wide and never built four wide, and the wave of single-tracking has reduced track footprint within rights of way. However, the corridor rights is often such a tangled mix of perpetual leases, freehold tenure and transport easements that outside the cities, it is rarely worthwhile to work through the line abandonment process to shave off part of the rail right of way for disposal.

So we have already existing right of way to be put to use ... that is the only reason that the project could proceed through to full electrification of STRACNET in six to eight years, if pursued at maximum commercial urgency.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Dec 13th, 2008 at 01:00:58 PM EST
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