I've said elsewhere and will repeat here, that I think this will go no where, because again, it's too grand of a plan.
In the past there was talk of building the Albany/NYC route along the NY Thruway. This of course was a non-starter for multiple reasons, and I hope they're not proposing it again.
What NYS needs to do is to take a slow but steady approach and start with the following:
- Get NYP-ALB trains running on a 2:00 running time (I've been on trains that ran it in 2:10 with a 10 minute hold at Poughkeepsie, so it can be done, it's a matter of signally, upgraded track, and working with Metro-North).
- Add two trains a day to extend beyond Albany to Buffalo. No additional speed needed at this time.
- Add bus feeder routes into the "backbone" of the Water-Level route. Make sure they're timely and scheduled well. Get cities that are close to the Water-Level route to start thinking of the train as an option.
Once this is done, then start on the longer term, more expensive items:
- electrification as far as Albany. This will become an issue as the state and others try to cut emissions. It also ultimately permits running through NYP.
- Buy additional land along Hudson to straighten ROW for higher speeds and work to increase speeds to 135 mph, especially north of Poughkeepsie
- Adding a 3rd track west of Albany and make this one higher speed (110mph)
- Replace some of the more popular bus feeder routes with actual trains. This includes service to Pittsfield (and possibly towards Boston) and eventually Binghamton
Look, high speed is great. I love high speed. I'd love to get to NYC in 90 minutes. But, let's get higher speed and more frequencies first.
And too any of Cuomo's men reading this looking for board members, I'm up for it.
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