6 comments posted · 1 followers · following 0
If the purpose is to provide travel options that are able to ride out a $5/gallon oil price shock, the 110mph corridors offer more bang for the buck, quicker.
Its like the comparison between an Interstate Highway and a city street ... they each serve different needs, and neither can replace the other.
Also, a well chosen HSR corridor will cover its operating expenses, including ongoing maintenance, out of fare revenues with a surplus ... a conventional rail service normally needs a subsidy. So that is part of the reason for focusing first on the Midwest and Ohio Hub routes first .. Chicago/Cleveland via Northern Indiana, Chicago/Cincinnati/Columbus via Indianapolis ... once they are up and running, a North/South route that connects to both will have a stronger foundation and likely require less subsidy.
But just like driving and air travel, conventional rail tends to require operating subsidies. Its high speed rail, with the increase in population density per hour of train travel, and the lower running cost per passenger-mile, that is more likely to stand on its own feet.
A very important part of a successful 110mph HSR corridor is reliable on-time service. The Fort Wayne alignment for the Midwest Hub, and junction with the Ohio Hub, is in part because the Amtrak alignment through South Bend has so much freight traffic, while the Fort Wayne alignment has plenty of room for passenger-only track.