• SEHSR Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by gokeefe
I'm impressed that they're actually acquiring Right of Way (S-line). That's a new step for Virginia.
  by Bob Roberts
The US Treasury just released a report which creates cost-benefit rankings for the Top 40 'mega infrastructure projects' (road, rail and water). Much to my surprise SEHSR ranks as the 10 highest returning project in the "planning and implementation underway' category (its expected to return 2-4 times its $4.6 billion cost). SEHSR ranked just one spot lower than NEC updating. Also on the list was the Long Bridge replacement project. It ranked 26th in the "planning underway" category with an expected ROI of 2-4 times its $575 million investment. [California HSR was the 3rd ranked project with an expected ROI of 4-7 times investment]

https://www.enotrans.org/article/treasu ... aprojects/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Overall this is surprisingly positive fiscal news for SEHSR.
  by gokeefe
That's perfect timing for the new infrastructure spending that is likely to be happening very soon.
  by Arlington
I'm worried we're just going to get a $trillion worth of toll roads...only things that an infrastructure bank will lend to. I don't see NC, NCRR, or Virginia and an infrastructure bank being able to reach a deal on SEHSR.
  by gokeefe
I do if the feasibility studies indicate that the line would achieve an operating profit in the same manner as Acela. If there's a government guarantee backing the loans (which means exceptionally low interest rates) then I think it will be doable.
  by electricron
110 mph services in Illinois are NOT expecting to earn a profit, what makes you think 90-110 mph services to North Carolina will? The only reason the few services to Virginia squeeze by with little to no subsidies is because they are extensions of corridor trains, not stand alone trains on their own merits.
  by gokeefe
Since this is SEHSR I'm not speaking in terms of 90 MPH service. Probably more like 160 MPH.
  by electricron
You're ignoring all the SEHSR proposals environmental studies have maxed out at 110 mph.
Any faster speeds trains in this corridor are pure fantasy. :)
Per http://www.sehsr.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
All plans to date recommend improving the existing corridors, not building a brand new rail corridor capable of 150 mph speeds.
  by Arlington
110 mph SEHSR will do *way* better than Illinois, mostly because they are NEC corridor extensions. SEHSR is bigger at both ends: NEC>CHI and NCRR > St Louis.
  by electricron
Yes, but with a locomotive change in D.C. Because all the SEHSR tracks will lack electrification.
Capital costs for Illinois Lincoln service speed increases $1.5 Billion, not including any work between Dwight and Chicago which could easily cost another Billion.
Projected capital costs for SEHSR (higher) speed increases, approaching $2.6 Billion. A new corridor dedicated for real high speed rail is projected to cost over $32 Billion, from D.C. to Charolette. In the last few years, North Carolina has already spent or allocated over $570 Million on the NCRR segment between Raleigh and Charolette.
  by Arlington
The locomotive change at WAS hasn't kept all the Amtrak Virginia trains from making money (partly because WAS is such a big endpoint in its own right, as it would be for SEHSR, and partly because even with a 40 minute hold it is a reasonable wait for a 125mph train onward). And they are lucky to do 79mph out in the countryside.

I am assuming that the big payback that caused it to place at #9 nationally is that as a $3b dedicated 110mph Diesel connection between Richmond and Raleigh, it pays back in connecting two huge megaregions:
-Big benefits by speeding ground trips (vs car)
-Big benefit in decongesting/relieving I-95 & 85
-Big benefits as a cheaper alternative to air travel

So the benefits to society and the economy of NC & VA make it a highly desirable public investment.

The problem is how to make everyone who benefits pay back a little in fares, fees, or taxes?

Infrastructure banks work great with toll roads because road users are really good at paying tolls (and not, at that moment, thinking that they're burning taxed gas and expensive capital equipment (their car)). Car trips are a mix of subsidized by property and general taxes, and disregard for the cost of equipment and insurance, so tolls look cheap to people, but are highly lucrative and predictable, just like banks like.

In passenger rail it is very hard to directly ensure that the people benefitting pay--passengers are fare-averse(because air and car are kept cheap-,looking) and beyond that the benefits are so dispersed that only a broad based tax (income, property, or sales) is fair, but politically impossible.

The net result is that private companies do great ripping folks off as if toll roads were risky, and are a favorite of infrastructure banks (so are airports given their PFCs and parking prices), but passenger rail can never quite identify a "bondable" source of revenue.

That CAHSR has such huge payback (vs highway, air, congestion, environment and general economic stimulus) and yet has not identified a bondable source of Revenue to capture all the benefits that delivers is what makes me equally pessimistic for North Carolina and Virginia ever finding a bondable source / system for capturing all the benefits of High-Speed Rail to pay back and infrastructure bank loan.
  by Sylvain727
Balerion wrote:There's some NIMBY opposition to the proposed addition of a third track in Fredericksburg and in Ashland.

The politicians must don't listen to the NIMBY's about this project in the upper Virginia State. It's a waste of time.
Let's make the project even if they don't want. The futur high speed track must be built bypassing Fredericksburg and Ashland for that trains run
at 187 mph (300 km/h) from Washington, DC to Jacksonville bypassing through Richmond, VA and go through the city of Petersburg, VA to Raleigh, NC, Columbia, SC and Savannah, GA to Jax,FL.

The second part of the Southeast Corridor will begins from Raleigh, NC to Charlotte, NC through Durham and Greensboro,NC to Greenville, SC to Atlanta and Macon, GA to Jacksonville, FL which trains will run at 187 mph completely separate from freight trains tracks and reserved for high speed passenger trains on all the Southeast Corridor. :wink:
  by Arlington
As noted above, SEHSR is planned as 110mph diesel service. You might get a hearing on aspiring to future-proof some stretches to allow 125mph ~ 150mph electrics.

But there's no business or public policy case for 186mph or going to Florida in this round. For now, picture Corridor trains no farther than ATL and SAV from NYP.

Get Richmond - Raleigh built, Charlotte-Atlanta in FEIR phase 2 and then we can talk about greenfield bypasses TGV style
  by Literalman
The Fredericksburg bypass is dead, if I understand correctly. It would have been curvy, not suited to high-speed trains, and, obviously would have bypassed Fredericksburg. I think it would have been mostly for freights and maybe Auto-Train. The current plan, I believe, is a third track on the existing alignment through Fredericksburg. Either alternative would require a new bridge over the Rappahannock River, but at least there's already some room in the present right-of-way, and an existing new third track begins in Fredericksburg and goes about 5 miles south to the Spotsylvania VRE station.
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