• Washington to Baltimore: maglev or hyperloop?

  • 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 STrRedWolf
electricron wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 8:33 am Yet we never see the poor riding Acela trains either - because there are cheaper alternatives - both on and off rails.

Here's a line the other CEO stated.
"The 40-mile superconducting magnetic levitation train system” is planned as the first leg of a system that would carry passengers between Washington and New York in an hour. The D.C.-to-Baltimore trip would take 15 minutes at speeds up to 311 mph."

DC to NYC in less than an hour!
FYI. Acela usually takes almost 3 hours, on the one daily non-stop takes slightly more than 2.5 hours - in both cases plus or minus 3 to 5 minutes.
And with proper investment, Acela can go down to below 2 hours.
Of course it will be expensive, there is nothing new there. But upgrading the existing NEC is expensive too, which the Amtrak CEO played down. Amtrak in the past has stated the NEC has over $28 Billion of work needed just to get it into a state of good repair. That was Amtrak's share of the costs, that sum does not include what Amtrak expects the States to pitch in. Just as examples, Amtrak does not expect to pay all the costs associated with the Gateway or Baltimore tunnels nor replacing the Portal Bridge.
The cost being $10-$12 billion, which will double no matter what. Meanwhile the B&P replacement is $5 billion and Gateway is slated to be just as much.
FYI #2. Texas Central projects to spend less money to build a brand new HSR line between Dallas and Houston than Amtrak needs to fix the NEC. Think about that one a little bit, no, think about that a lot!
Which there is all fine and good, namely because it's not being tunneled, it's mainly going to be bridged (which is cheaper in the long run), and it's over mainly flat land anyway. Much of the cost savings is due to the environment.

Meanwhile, Amtrak inherited legacy track and tunnels that has to be repaired or replaced.
Which would be cheaper for the US taxpayer, spending $28 Billion+ to fix the NEC or spend "zero" for private enterprise to build a maglev line? Well, to be honest I do not expect the final contribution of taxpayers wallets to be zero with Maglev, or with HSR projects elsewhere either, none of them have stated they would refuse FRA or FTA grants that may arise. I'm so much skeptical with future government expenditures.
Oh, it won't be zero. The maglev effort is a public/private partnership. It's only currently funded at $5 billion from Japan Railways. Maryland and the Feds would have to stump up another $5 billion.

$5 billion for replacing a Civil-War era set of tunnels that have a max speed of 30 MPH and requires a few track interlocks to get a daily workout, saving a ton more in maintenance in that area alone plus shave some time off... or a new maglev that few will take because it's damned expensive, and is still in testing back over in Japan, plus having to still replace that Civil War era tunnel that could collapse again at any moment?

I bet an argument can be had that we can get those tunnels bored and built faster than the maglev can, namely because you're not going 40+ miles under ground. That's a long wait for something shiny and expensive.