Tuesday, December 09, 2008

trains on the brain

so one of my projects at work currently is a feasibility study for high speed rail in colorado. pretty fun stuff, and i get to geek out on the evaluation of some pretty crazy technology for our unique application(s) - including the german made ice trains as well as some in-development maglev applications. ultimately the goal is to have hsr lines all up and down the front range (i-25 corridor) as well as from dia out to somewhere near gj in the i-70 corridor. getting a train from dia to points west will be a huge engineering (its the mountains!) and political (its the mountains!) challenge, but i think we can figure it out.

in the end it'll look something like what they recently approved in california. oh purdy good.


-kw said...

That's like the one that goes between Lincoln and Omaha, right?
I love that thing.

sda said...

yeah, like that one.

fob said...

High speed has a cool factor, but how about the basics first? I like James Kunstler take in one of his recent Clusterfuck Nation posts (www.kunstler.com):
"I know that California just voted to create a high-speed rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It's an optimistic sign, but it shows more than a little techno-grandiose over-reach. High speed rail would require a mega-expensive re-do of the tracks. We need to scale our ambitions for this more realistically. California (and every other region of America) would benefit much more from normal-speed trains running every hour on the hour on tracks that already exist than from a mega-expensive, grandiose sci-fi program that might not get built for ten years. The dregs of the Big Three automakers can and should be reorganized to produce the rolling stock for a revived railroad system."

Blogstyle said...

Wait, is there really one that goes between Omaha and Lincoln?

Anonymous said...

fob...just what i was thinking.

I hope that some planner is at his or her desk this morning drawing up plans for a system.

how cool would that be?

sda said...

i agree too fella's. i didn't commission the study but was called on to help out. we are looking at lower speed options as well - the website i linked has doc.s that talk about the tech. breakdowns we are analyzing.

for me, the sweet spot is something that is a)affordable to build, operate and maintain (prolly not maglev, in all reality), b)meaningful (ie. you can get where you need to go), and c)provides better travel times than the freeway.

those are the factors that will make rail more competitive with the auto.

the ultra-high speed corridors are more likely to compete with regional air travel and oftentimes are designed to do so. that is a different market from the day-to-day commute that most folks deal with regularly.