• Washington to Baltimore: maglev or hyperloop?

  • General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail 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.
  by kitchin
Maglev Disrailed https://foxbaltimore.com/news/local/op- ... glev-train
The Balto City Council voted against it a few weeks ago. This article is a good enough summary of the pros and cons.

If Baltimore won't support it, there's little hope? Baltimore needs it more the Washington.

Also, Prince George's County takes it personally: https://www.marylandmatters.org/2021/06 ... peed-rail/
  by gprimr1
Good. Now if we can derail that stupid 270 monorail project, we'll be on track to actually have some decent solutions, like Metro to Frederick with peak directional express between Shady Grove and Frederick, or building the 3rd track to run more MARC trains.
  by scratchyX1
gprimr1 wrote: Fri Jul 16, 2021 11:05 am Good. Now if we can derail that stupid 270 monorail project, we'll be on track to actually have some decent solutions, like Metro to Frederick with peak directional express between Shady Grove and Frederick, or building the 3rd track to run more MARC trains.
What would make more sense, Metro to Frederick (along 270), or upgraded Marc service, along the same route?
  by Literalman
That would be a Metro extension of more than 20 miles, I believe. More than 30 miles one-way to Washington, I guess. That's an awfully long way for a rapid transit line to go. and there may not be the riders to support rapid transit frequencies. (I know, we have, or someday should have, the silver line to Dulles, but that's an unusually long transit line too.)
  by ExCon90
Trains of (8-10 cars?) at Red Line frequencies seems a bit over the top for a starting effort particularly if it's going to mean an all-stops local from central Washington to Shady Grove on Metro seating. Some extra MARC trips outside the peaks might be a better way to test the market, starting with at least one midday trip and at least two post-rush-hour trips into the late evening. It would be worthwhile to add at least two evening trips for at least six months and see whether there is a significant increase in am and pm rush-hour ridership irrespective of passenger count on the evening trips.
  by STrRedWolf
At the risk of derailing the topic of the thread...

If you're going to add trains you need to add capacity to that CSX line the Brunswick line runs on, as well as the portion the Old Main Subdivision CSX has that Fredrick branch trains go on before getting on MARC track... and to be honest, you don't have a lot of room to add a third track from Rockville down south to Union Station. Which means you have to free up track capacity, and the only way to do that is by finding out freight train patterns -- namely what's using the QN tower-F tower track to go back up to Baltimore or hit up Anacostia -- and then build a train bypass for CSX to use...

Which, to be honest, we could just use the median of MD 200 for, if we can connect the ends and grade separate it.

But that's an idea for the MARC section.
  by STrRedWolf
Some news on the DC-Baltmore Maglev... and it's not going great for it:

Judge dismisses attempts to use eninent domain to grab land: A judge found that the maglev group, Baltimore Washington Rapid Rail (BWRR), did not have eminent domain powers when it bought the Washington-Baltimore and Annapolis Electric Rail Road (the WB&A Electric). They're appealing.

FRA pushes pause on the review of BWRR's DEIS. There's many issues with it.

Add to the fact that Baltimore City doesn't approve of the whole thing on multiple grounds (some legacy), and the entire setup is contingent on that approval... it doesn't look good for maglev.
  by mmi16
There are only so many geographical routes between Baltimore and Washington. A most all of them are already built up with either highways or railways.
  by Jeff Smith
New proposal: Baltimore Banner
Proposed Maryland Maglev tunnel could be one of the longest passenger rail tunnels in the US
Phase 1 of construction for the rail line, which developers say would use superconducting, energy-efficient magnets to reach speeds of up to 311 mph, would follow one of two plans, according to project documents available on the project’s website. Each plan would connect Baltimore and Washington, D.C., with slight variations in track location.

One alignment would run 27 miles, or 75%, underground, with the rest on elevated track. The second alignment would require just shy of 26 miles worth of tunneling, with the rest elevated. Each alignment would run fully underground from Baltimore to a point south of Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, and then again from Greenbelt to Washington, D.C. Upon completion, each tunneled section alone would be among the largest passenger rail tunnels in the United States.
The estimated cost of the future Maryland Maglev project is around $10 billion, but costs only go up as timelines extend. A 2021 analysis from the Eno Center for Transportation estimated that $323 million would be required to build one mile of tunneled passenger rail for the percentage of tunneling proposed by the Maryland Maglev project, a higher price than other countries around the world due to issues like permitting and high labor costs. No construction money has been allocated and a funding plan has not been put forward.
  by lpetrich
It's about 40 mi / 60 km between DC and Balto. At 200 mph / 320 km/h, the travel time would be 11 minutes. By comparison:
  • Amtrak: 30 - 40 min
  • MARC: 40 - 60 min
So I think that it would be hard to justify such a maglev line.

The Hyperloop is essentially a maglev vactrain, and that's even worse.
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