• Foreign High Speed Rail Companies in the U.S.

  • General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by daybeers
electricron wrote: Tue Nov 10, 2020 10:31 pm
daybeers wrote: Tue Nov 10, 2020 3:23 pm While high speeds are flashy and give politicians the PR and grand ribbon-cuttings they so dearly enjoy because it's a tangible showing of their commitment to their constituents, it's really not what we should be focusing on first. Average speed is the real measure, and to increase that, you need to spend less time not moving or going slow. All-door, level boarding, superelevating curves, double/triple/quad tracking, passing sidings, replacing bridges & tunnels. Reduced travel time lets you run more frequencies with the same amount of equipment, thereby increasing ridership, which means more revenue to fund higher speeds in the future. These are not new ideas; frankly they're the opposite. We've known where the answers are all along, they're just not flashy and sometimes don't get a project to the criteria needed for certain grants/bonds/commitments from both government & the public. Replacing a tunnel that's crumbling to increase the speed through it by 15-20 mph isn't sexy, but if you present it as an increase in reliability and decrease in delays & travel time and pair it with other similar small improvements along the line, that is where you get interest.
It is difficult to criticize freight railroad companies for not adding more tracks when Amtrak has not done so on every track they own.
The problem the freight railroad companies have with adding more tracks to any corridor to accommodate more passenger trains is the cost to maintain the extra tracks. Even if the government pitches in the entire costs to add the tracks, will they pitch in more funds to maintain those tracks? I do not think the government will.
Brightline in Florida has added tracks to the FEC mainline, willing to pay to build and maintain them. Ideally, I believe it would have been better for Illinois to have paid to build the second track to the line between St. Louis and Chicago, instead of paying to rebuild the single track line. But Illinois was not willing to pay to maintain the tracks, leaving that cost to the UPRR. So, the UPRR replaced the tracks in the existing single track line and upgrading the signaling.

In Europe and other countries around the world, the rail corridors are owned by the government. Not true for most of the USA, the freight railroads own the tracks, pays the entire costs to maintain them, and also pays taxes to the government for the equipment on their property. They are competitive with their competitors on price. Anything that increases their costs makes them less competitive. Adding more tracks increases their costs. Maintaining their tracks to a higher standard required by passenger trains increases their costs. Paying more property taxes for the additional value of their property increases their costs. That is why adding tracks to the existing corridors has not happen!
The problem with freight railroad companies adding capacity or maintaining their infrastructure to any sort of reasonable amount is because of their shareholders. I agree that the solution is the government owning the tracks, but they have backed themselves into a corner: on some corridors, freight traffic has decreased and the government/Amtrak needs access more than the freight companies do, and they know it, so they jack up the price to a ridiculous degree. Or, if there still is traffic, they say the cost of state of good repair or adding tracks is so astronomically high that Amtrak/the government throws their hands up and says "well, we tried but we can't afford it!" Whether or not that money could very well come from reallocating funding from other sectors of the government is a different conversation, but I for one think it's ridiculous the government isn't prioritizing it for the most part. Infrastructure is just going to crumble even more.
  by Pensyfan19
As another example of a foreign rail company helping the U.S. possibly build HSR, Deutsche Bahn (DB) has now joined the United States High Speed Rail Association.

https://www.globalrailwayreview.com/new ... sociation/
With the new incoming Biden administration, the U.S. is set to rapidly expand high-speed rail.

Biden has promised to expand America’s rail network to make it the “cleanest, safest, and fastest rail system in the world“. And with nationwide investment, he plans to “spark the second great railroad revolution” and build new high-speed rail projects all across America as part of a major jobs stimulus.

US High Speed Rail Association (USHSR) President, Andy Kunz, said: “We’re proud to welcome DB to USHSR. DB has proven to be one of the world’s leading high-speed rail operators, and has decades of experience with providing world-class service. We welcome DB’s expertise and participation in the U.S. high-speed rail market, especially now that it’s about to take off.”
  by Pensyfan19
Alstom now joined the club. Looks like more foreign high speed rail companies are joining the USHSRA since Biden is pro-high speed rail and will likely be funding high speed projects in the U.S.

https://railway-news.com/alstom-latest- ... sociation/
By joining the association, Alstom is signalling its support for high-speed rail in America. The hope is that the incoming Biden administration will be good for the US rail sector as the president-elect is an avid Amtrak user and has spoken positively about the railways many times, saying he would make it the “cleanest, safest, and fastest rail system in the world”.

The US High Speed Rail Association and rail industry suppliers wish to capitalise on this momentum to push ahead with their high-speed rail agenda. Biden intends to make federal funds available for a “second great railroad revolution”. This effort to build up a new high-speed rail network is part of a bigger job stimulus plan.
  by ConstanceR46
We don't need high speed rail.

Hear me out for a second. Why should we be spending billions on flashy HSR when most of our cities don't even have reliable intercity trains? You can't put the cart before the horse, here. What we need is a robust system of regional and intercity rail before even thinking of HSR.

Of course, that itself is just one part of the problem. The famed HSR networks of Europe and Japan have led dozens of lower-cost routes to be axed, which forces people who can't afford the tickets onto regional jets, thus continuing the problem.

I also question the wisdom of having several companies bidding on what is supposed to be a universal system. The standards for many of these companies differ vastly. If we choose to let it be assembled piecemeal - like, seemingly, people are suggesting, we'll end up with 20 different standards that are incompatable.

Of course, one can draw a parallel to China's HSR - but that was built primarily by CR to it's own standard, and wasn't to the whims of whatever multinational companies the european union decides to spawn.
  by electricron
All these foreign railroads wishing to take part in new railroad projects are only looking at their self interests, selling more train locomotives and cars. None of them actually wish to run trains here on their own money at free market risks.
Selling rolling stock is not the same as running the trains.
  by ConstanceR46
Usually the deal will be - correct me if i'm wrong - you get the line constructed, rolling stock, signalling, and staffing