Major Study Advocates 220 Mph Operation on Chicago-St. Louis Run

Midwest High Speed Rail Association envisions a less than two-hour express trip between the cities.

Today, the Midwest High Speed Rail Association released a major report studying 220 mph train service between Chicago and St. Louis. Though the project has yet to be endorsed by any government officials, the Association’s study will stimulate further discussion about the level of investment necessary for the link between the two cities. More importantly, the study’s conclusions indicate that Illinois’ existing plans for 110 mph, four-hour service between the metro regions are out of date and under-scaled to meet travel needs in the Midwest.

The study, completed by consultant Tran Systems, was commissioned by the Association to determine costs and other elements of a potential very-fast service across the state of Illinois. The main challenge of the report was to compare the existing Amtrak corridor, which runs almost directly from Chicago to

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Paris Shows How to Automate a Subway

Conversion of Line 1 to automatic operation will occur without shutting down service.

Paris’ Métro Line 1 carries 725,000 passengers a day and has been the city’s most heavily trafficked line since it opened in 1900. Yet continual ridership increases have made congestion a mounting problem, so the city is working on automating the line to augment capacity. Some trains will run without drivers beginning next year, and full conversion will be complete in 2012. The city’s process to convert the line provides an example to other cities with old systems needing to substantially improve operations.

The conversion process began in 2007 with the commencement of work to redo platforms to assure that trains line up correctly. Last March, Bérault station was equipped with automatic platform doors six feet tall that open and close with the arrival and departure of trainsets. These doors, which align with train doors, are standard on new

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Toronto Secures Streetcar Contract — After Exaggerated Fight With Ottawa

New Bombardier trains will be delivered beginning in 2012.

At an emergency meeting last week, Toronto’s city council approved a major new financial commitment to an April contract designed to replace the city’s fleet of aging streetcars. The deal, which comes after the federal government announced that it wouldn’t help pay for the vehicles, requires Toronto to delay several planned capital improvements.

Unlike the United States, which has standard formulas established by the FTA to ensure transit systems nationwide adequate funds for capital maintenance and replacement, Canada’s municipalities must negotiate with Ottawa whenever they need major aid to improve public transportation. Toronto has recently benefited from a major infusion of national and province-level funds for new light rail and subway lines. These projects will make the city one of the most transit-oriented in North America.

But when Toronto Mayor David Miller agreed in April to a C$1.2 billion deal with Bombardier

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Senator Boxer is Right: There is No Consensus in Congress on Funding

An 18-month extension on the transportation bill looks like the only solution for now.

Today at a hearing on the reauthorization of the transportation bill, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) made it quite clear that Congressman James Oberstar’s (D-MN) proposed legislation won’t make it through the Senate over the next few months. Ms. Boxer’s testimony indicated that she’d push for a no-changes “clean” extension of SAFETEA-LU over the next 18 months, as proposed by Secretary of Transportation of Ray LaHood. More serious reforms will have to wait. This means fewer than hoped for funds for transit and high-speed rail, as well as no substantive improvements in the manner in which federal dollars are distributed.

Congress’ problems are two fold: it has too many other projects on the near horizon and it has no consensus, even along partisan lines, on how to fund a major expansion in transportation funding. Today’s fuel tax, which

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L.A. Breaks Ground on Orange Line Extension

Busway will head up Canoga Ave from current western terminus.

Los Angeles’ Orange Line busway will be extended north to Chatsworth by 2012, providing commuters further enhancements to an already popular transit alternative in the San Fernando Valley. The $215 million project will extend the bus rapid transit service from Canoga, near Warner Center, to a Metrolink commuter rail station four miles north in Chatsworth. At the other end of the existing line is the North Hollywood Metro station, where people can ride quickly downtown.

Ground breaking on the extension was held yesterday. The project will also include adjacent bike and pedestrian paths that will improve circulation for people not driving in this distinctively automobile-oriented section of the city.

The line will be built to standards that will allow future conversion to light rail operation if necessary. That’s good news because the Orange Line is already at capacity, having vastly

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The Site / The Fight

by Yonah Freemark

yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com

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