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... institutional arrangements where the Federal government provides heavy capital subsidy for new interstate transport works and little or no subsidy for operating expenses of anything except airlines (obviously the airlines cannot survive on their own, poor dears, they keep going bankrupt even with heavy operating subsidies).

Note that "HSR" here is the Congressional legislative language, which lumps true HSR together with Rapid Rail. And while we can get all techno-dweeb about the differences between the two, they do have one thing in common ... when connecting city pairs of sufficient population sufficiently close together in terms of travel time, they can generate surpluses of passenger revenues over operating costs.

So the Federal government paying all (Stimulus Bill) or 50%-80% (regular HSR funding formula) of the capital cost of an HSR line can set up a scenario where there is no need to fight for ongoing operating subsidies against the constant efforts of the Conservative Movement to sabotage the US economy.

The entire Ohio Hub for instance (blue, below), a 110mph Rapid Rail network that quite effectively expands the route matrix of the Midwest Hub, New York Empire Corridor, and Pennsylvania Keystone Corridor, would cost $5b in 2002$, so certainly under $10b in current dollars.

And for the Ohio Hub, the financial hurdle is the 110mph tier of operating speeds ... the Ohio Rail Development Commission's analysis showed operating recovery of 80% to 90% when a 79mph Ohio Hub is added to the 110mph Midwest Hub, and 120% and better operating recovery when a 110mph Ohio Hub is added.

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 Tue Feb 17th, 2009 at 10:31:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the Chicago to Carbondale route justified because there is existing alignment, because of possible future extension down the Mississippi to New Orleans or what?  It seems anomalous considering that an extension from St. Louis, of the same length, could extend through Memphis to Little Rock or through Memphis to Vicksberg.  Who represents Carbondale?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 17th, 2009 at 05:25:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]

The Chi-Carbondale rte. is sep from the Chi-St. Louis rte.  It is a rte. that serves both University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University, so, yeah, there is a justification for its existence.

by poemless on Tue Feb 17th, 2009 at 05:38:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 17th, 2009 at 05:43:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are all on existing rail corridors, sometimes corridors in use, sometimes corridors not in use (or not in much use) but not yet formally abandoned.

Remember that these are 110mph Rapid Rail routes, not bullet train routes ... the capital cost is much lower, so the travel market required to justify them is not the same size.

But with respect to the question, that is in general the route of the current City of New Orleans, Chicago/Memphis/NOLA, so the Carbondale leg of the Midwest Hub would also provide a substantial improvement in reliability of performance for that part of the current skeleton of a national route matrix.


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 Tue Feb 17th, 2009 at 07:44:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And of course it is Obama himself who represented Carbondale, as its former Senator.  As one who grew up and lived his life in the west I do not expect the density of mid-sized towns along these three routes.  Will there be service for all?  I can certainly see how tying Chicago to Urbana to Carbondale with rapid rail could facilitate sharing of human resources amongst Illinois universities, although I don't know how many daily passenger miles that would generate.  Density certainly favors mass transit.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 17th, 2009 at 08:48:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They certainly are not rival routes ... they don't really need density of population along the route that mass transit would require, they just need adequate population centers and transport hubs ...

... and, indeed, 180kph (110mph) trains can operate successfully at population densities that 130kph (80mph) trains simply cannot, because the intervening distance between population centers makes for slower trips at 130kph.

More than sharing human resource among Universities, Carbondale and Urbana will have a steady stream of trips to Chicago, for business travel as well as student and staff.

And the establishment of a Rapid Rail path also means that it is much easier to put in place a regional stopping train which will leave one main station after one Rapid and arrive at another main station in advance of the next Rapid ... that is the most normal way of putting the smaller towns on the route matrix.

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 Tue Feb 17th, 2009 at 09:46:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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