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CAHSR Project Update

October 28, 2016

The California High Speed Rail Authority is the first agency developing the process for making high-speed rail a reality in the U.S. They are modifying their plans as they go along and leaving a blueprint for how future high-speed rail projects can be accomplished. The most recent modification is a decision regarding the number of cars on their high-speed train sets.

While train sets will have 10 cars they are still required to have a seating capacity of no less than 450. The typical plane flying between Los Angeles and San Francisco is a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737, which has seating for 143 passengers. Between Los Angeles and San Jose the rail authority could operate as many as 12 trains an hour carrying 5,400 passengers, spaced five minutes apart. The tracks between San Francisco and San Jose will have the capacity for about four bullet trains carrying 1,800 passengers an hour at peak times because those tracks are shared with commuter trains.

This shows that while capacity is reduced by switching to the smaller train sets, there would still need to be at least 12 round-trip 737 flights an hour between L.A. and San Francisco to come close to reaching the high-speed rail system’s capacity. Meanwhile the smaller train sets will reduce the cost of the project significantly.

With shorter train sets the station platforms will be reduced from 1,410 feet to 800 feet. The refuge tracks, which a train can pull into if there is a technical malfunction or for scheduling reasons, will be reduced by about 600 feet. As a result the stations will be about 1,200 feet shorter than previously proposed. This change means it should be easier to find land for stations and the property acquisition cost will be cheaper.

Overall these changes will reduce the costs of the project while still providing the capacity needed to run enough bullet trains to meet the demand. We continue to be encouraged by the rail authority’s ability to make the tough decisions that are necessary to move this project forward.


Dylan Hayward
Program Manager

Upcoming Public Meetings on Passenger Rail Planning:

Indiana Rail Plan

The Indiana Department of Transportation is in the process of developing a state rail plan. They are asking the public to share their vision for the future of freight and passenger rail. You can fill out a brief online survey here and attend one of three public meetings.

Brief Presentations will begin at 5:30 and 6:30p.m. local time at the dates and locations listed below.

Thursday, Nov. 10
INDOT Vincennes District, 3650 South U.S. Highway 41, Vincennes, IN 47591

Tuesday, Nov. 15
INDOT LaPorte District, 315 E. Boyd Boulevard, LaPorte, IN 46352

Thursday, Nov. 17
INDOT Indianapolis Sub-District, 7105 Brookville Road, Indianapolis IN 46239

Metra 2017 Preliminary Budget Public Hearings

Do you have ideas for station improvements, new rolling stock or an expansion of Metra service? Now is your chance to tell Metra what they could be doing differently.

CHI-MIL Hiawatha Service Expansion Public Meetings

The Wisconsin and Illinois Departments of Transportation have released a Draft Environmental Assement on the expansion of Chicago-Milwaukee service from seven to ten daily round-trips. They will be hosting public meetings that partially overlap with the Metra 2017 Prelimary Budget Hearings.

Articles We Enjoyed:

High-Speed Rail Route to L.A. Coming Into View
"The California High-Speed Rail Authority will likely next build out the northern stretch—to Silicon Valley and San Francisco—but its narrowing in on how to get to Los Angeles and what that route will look like."

DART Light-Rail Stations Generate $7 Billion in TOD
"Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light-rail stations have attracted more than $7 billion worth of new or planned development within a quarter mile of the stations,"

Amtrak adds Chicago to Michigan Trains for Thanksgiving Travel
"In addition to its normal daily trains between the Windy City and the Great Lakes State, Amtrak will offer additional trains in anticipation of one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. Amtrak added the extra holiday service for the first time in 2014 and experienced a large spike in travelers."

Input Sought on Milwaukee-Chicago Rail Upgrades
"After nearly four years of studying and talking about increasing passenger rail service between Chicago and Milwaukee, Amtrak and the Wisconsin and Illinois transportation departments are ready to hear from the public."

Upcoming Events:

Thoughts on a Chicago-Detroit-Toronto High-Speed Line
This will be a brown bag lunch with Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Senior Designer, Robert Bracken. Mr. Bracken has been teaching a class at the Illinois Institute of Technology where they have been exploring the possibilities of a high-speed line from Toronto-Detroit-Chicago. This class will be sharing what they have learned with us in what should be a fun and interesting presentation.

When: November 9, 11:30AM - 1:00PM

Where: DePaul University, 14 East Jackson Blvd, 16th Floor - Dublin Room, Chicago, IL

Register for this free event today!

Dylan Hayward
Program Manager
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625