RRspatch wrote: ↑Sat Aug 21, 2021 11:51 pm
Well here's an idea that might please everyone ....
Build CSXT a new line on the two vacant trackways on the north side. Construct it to the old Southern Railway setup of 10/10 ... that is 10 miles single/10 mile double or what ever configuration CSXT desires. Once construction is complete CSXT gets the NEW trackage at a LOWER tax rate with NO Amtrak trains to contend with. Amtrak gets the current two main track line on the south side to run as many trains as New York state wants. Done. It will cost a lot of $$ but will be cheaper and quicker than building at new high speed line Albany to Buffalo as the ROW is already there.
Looks like CSX is getting a raw deal, giving up an existing double track line for a single track with passing siding line. Why should CSX feel good about that?
Who is going to pay and then maintain the signals for the additional new track, and who is going to pay and then maintain the signals for the existing track allowing higher speeds? When you get to the bottom line, CSX will. New York State, Amtrak, or the FRA will pony up half the money - maybe - but guess who is left paying the remaining half? CSX.
It is a no deal arrangement.
A better solution would be for New York State to dig deep and spend more money on a true, 200 mph HSR line. Buffalo to Albany is 293 miles. New York City to Albany is 152 miles. The total would be 445 miles.
Here's how long it would take to travel that far at various average speeds.
445 / 50 mph = 8.9 hours
445 / 70 mph = 6.4 hours
445 / 90 mph = 4.9 hours
445 / 110 mph = 4 hours
445 / 130 mph = 3.4 hours
445 / 150 mph = 3 hours
293 / 50 mph = 5.9 hours
293 / 70 mph = 4.2 hours
293 / 90 mph = 3.3 hours
293 / 110 mph = 2.7 hours
293 / 130 mph = 2.3 hours
293 / 150 mph= 1.9 hours
I'll let you do the math for the New York City to Albany elapse times.
And, just for the record, the internet reports realistic driving times of 4.6 hours between Albany and Buffalo.
Keeping the discussion to Albany to Buffalo times, a train would have to average 100 mph to make the trip in 3 hours. Which means maximum train speeds of at least 150 mph. You are not going to get there within the existing CSX owned railroad corridor. While maximum speeds of 90 mph may seem like a huge improvement, is it really worth all the costs you propose for around an hour in time savings. Golly, we are not talking about a 30 mile single track line, we are talking about 300 miles of double track.
Take a closer look at the calculations above. A distance of 300 miles or so is just a little bit too far to meet the 3 hours sweet spot for 125 mph maximum speed trains. A distancer of 450 miles or so meets the sweet spot for true 200+ mph HSR trains. Albany to Buffalo travelers would be happy with 125 mph maximum speed trains, New York City to Buffalo would not. Yet you are proposing 90 mph maximum speed trains? Which passenger does New York State wish to run the trains for? Passengers crossing the entire state? Passengers wishing to travel distances shorter than 100 miles? Only then can you choose which type of train service to invest $Billions on.
Too often in the USA politicians fund infrastructure projects that only meet minimal aspirations, which almost immediately requires them to find more funding improving upon it. We can always add more whatever to make some projects better later
; more lanes, more floors, more wings, more structures, more of everything! You can make trains better later by adding more trains, but you can not make the trains go any faster than designed. To make the trains go faster you will need to build a new railroad corridor designed for those faster train speeds.
Where should New York State build the new railroad corridor on? Within I-90 right-of-way, within CSX right-of-way, or in a brand new right-of-way? A brand new right-of-way would distribute cash to far more people than either of the other options, it would also allow true HSR trains saving consumers the most time and maximizing the economic benefits for intercity travel within the State. A new railroad corridor would also affect more landowners nearby negatively, but I believe the positives should outweigh the negatives. Avoiding negatives impacts at all costs is why people keep proposing using the inadequate existing corridors. Duh?