Weekend Links

» This week’s big news. Open thread in the comments.

Follow my Twitter account (@ttpolitic) to get news in real time.

On The Transport Politic:

Trying Something New

  • New York, San Francisco, and Chicago each have massive waterfront development projects in planning. But are they too far from transit to work in an urban space?
  • Honolulu, which has been plotting its heavy rail transit line for some time now, had its FEIS accepted by the Federal Transit Administration. Now reluctant Governor Linda Lingle must approve it.
  • Lagos announces that its first light rail line will open in 2011. The massive city is in desperate need of traffic relief.
  • Connecticut’s DOT is moving increasingly towards transit and away from highways, with several major projects planned. One of them is the Hartford-New Britain Busway, which will evidently include stations outside of which men drink champagne (image above).

Trying Something Old

High-Speed Rail

  • The U.S. Conference of Mayors introduces a study in which it claims huge economic benefits for virtually every city that invests in high-speed rail. New York State wants to reduce travel times from 2h30 to one hour between New York City and Albany, claiming economic benefit. Ontario and Québec get together to ask the Canadian government to speed trains between Québec City, Montréal, Toronto, and Windsor. The problem is that no one has the money to actually make the commitment.

Image above: View of Proposed Flatbush Avenue BRT Station along Hartford-New Britain Busway, from Connecticut DOT

14 Comments | Leave a Reply »
  • The New York-Albany HSR idea is a bait-and-switch. Smith is advertising one-hour trips, corresponding to an average speed of 140 mph, but then talks about incremental improvements, existing tracks, and 110 mph top speeds.

    • Adirondacker12800

      especially since some of the track is already good for 125. Unfortunately Amtrak doesn’t have any diesels capable of 125.

      • Danny

        As in some of the track is rated as class 7 track? Or just straight enough for 125?

        • Adirondacker12800

          No idea, it’s 125 on maps derived from employee timetables. The state has slowly but surely chipping away at making the line faster. It’s been fast track for while, the Turboliners made in 2:10. A fast diesel and clear track should be able to make 2:10 or better.

          • This assume 4″ cant and 3″ cant deficiency, right? If so, how long do you think it will take with electric 200 km/h tilting trains, with 12″ cant deficiency and a cant of 8″ on passenger-dedicated sections?

          • Adirondacker12800

            No idea if the track is canted or not. I’m just dredging up bits and pieces. The map is the Rich Green map for Metro North, it extends to Albany. The 2:10 comes from old Amtrak schedules online. No idea what would happen south of Poughkeepsie or Croton if Metro North could move faster than 90. No idea what the current tracks could do either. Third rail doesn’t do well over 90 and starts to hit limits for current above 100… so electric service above that would mean re-electrifying the Hudson Line north of Sputyen Duyvil. That wouldn’t’ be cheap. They’d probably go for 125MPH diesels first to see what the market would be. 1:45 between Albany and NYC is doable and relatively cheap if I’m remembering stuff from the NYC-Montreal DOT study correctly – the four hour trip time assumed modest upgrades south of Albany to get it down to 1:45….. and you have to find a 150MPH diesel that can run on electricity into Penn Station, to do it.

          • Or you can just electrify, which at the bloated NEC costs would be about $500 million for NY-Albany. Much cheaper than looking for high-acceleration, high-cant deficiency 125 mph diesel trains.

          • Adirondacker12800

            The NYSDOT I-87 intermodal study proposed 4 billion for Albany to Montreal and a billion to electrify it. I forget if that was the cost to the border or if that was the cost to get all the way to Central Station. Probably be about the same for Albany to NYC, four tracks between Croton and Manhattan would be pricey. And it would buy faster service on Metro North. All speculation because except for Louise Slaughter upstate politicians tend to take a dim view of things that make it easier for Noo Yawkers to get Upstate. Expect the money to be allocated in ’14 or ’15… of the 23rd century…

          • Woody

            I’d expect any NY State politician to scream if they have to come up with 20% or so like the other states. They’ll be looking to get it all ‘free’ from the Feds somehow. But after the next redistricting, depending perhaps on how many Members of the State Senate are in jail where they belong by then, the Upstaters may lose their veto power. It should only require tipping two or three districts to give the downstate ‘city and suburban caucus’ real control of the Senate.

            Meanwhile, some Upstaters could come to their senses. Their cities complain all the time about poor air service, of companies refusing to invest because “you can’t get there from anywhere.” HSR thru the Mohawk Valley could be such a boon for the old Erie Canal cities, by tying them to the NEC, they may come to support HSR NYC-Albany too.

  • John W

    They could probably pick up some InterCity 125s from Britain for fairly cheap – they’re only about 30 years old.

  • Hey, why is light rail filed under “new” and BRT under “old”? Depending on how you define it, BRT was arguably invented more recently!

    have a good weekend

  • David L

    John W is right – those 125’s are diesel – they started on the Cardiff /London line – (original broad track ) with the right curvature. I don’t think that line has Cant /tilt – without that types of train running on it.

    Why not get those, and alter the grade crossings along the way.
    .

    The problem on the West Coast (electrified) (UK) line are ‘too tight curves’ -which is why the line limit with NEW Pendolino trains is 125 –

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