Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Building the future

Posted in America, High Speed, Infrastructure by Chairman Pip on 21 August 2010

When looking at the upcoming high speed rail in the US, the smart money is probably on Florida getting started first, with the first planned line between Tampa and Orlando expected to open by 2014. However, it appears to be California that has the most developed proposals. In addition to the major project run by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, which is the public corporation set up by the State of California, there is a further private proposal called DesertXpress intended to link the town of Victorville in Southern California to Las Vegas in Nevada, which would reinstate passenger services that were withdrawn when Amtrak withdrew the Desert Wind in 1997. Given the size and importance of Las Vegas, restoring a passenger rail service is important, especially considering the number of people that travel there from Southern California, all of whom travel on the road. Getting a significant proportion of those cars off the road by putting Las Vegas 90 minutes away is precisely the idea of high speed rail in the US in the first place. Although initially a self-contained line, DesertXpress plan an extension to Palmdale where the route would connect with the CHSRA main routes to Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento, at a stroke linking Las Vegas into the California network, making it the kind of genuine high speed network that is needed to get people out of their cars and aeroplanes, rather than the high speed corridors that, while a good start, are just that, a start.

The Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, at a recent event to unveil new locomotives for BNSF, said this:

I think that California is also known for believing in infrastructure, because you can do all you want with technology when it comes to transportation but if you have congested freeways then you create a lot of pollution. And this is why it’s very important also that we pay attention to mass transit systems, to build more mass transit, to build the high-speed rail and also to build our freeways and bridges and onramps and offramps, to make the traffic flow freely.

This shows why California is looking to build a network for high speed rail – not only is it a way of reducing pollution, but reducing congestion as well. So, to see the beginning of work on the high speed network, with the groundbreaking of San Francisco’s new Transbay Terminal, that will be the city’s high speed terminus, is (hopefully), the start of something good.

“Historic Groundbreaking of First New High-Speed Rail Station in United States”

The planned California High Speed Network

The planned California High Speed Network - the four branches plus the DesertXpress make it a genuine network


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  1. […] High Speed by Chairman Pip on August 22, 2010 Something else to consider about how well prepared California’s high speed proposals are is the siting of the planned stops. Virtually every major stop on the proposed route […]

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