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California High-Speed Rail Progress Report

February 25, 2016

This blog is out of date. Please click here for current info.

This past week the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) released their 2016 Draft Business Plan that demonstrates the path forward for California’s high-speed rail network.    

The new plan marks a change in strategy for the initial operating segment. An ongoing commitment of cap and trade funds has allowed CHSRA to accelerate the construction on the segment between the Silicon Valley and Central Valley, commencing operation by 2025. The new initial operating segment would stretch from Bakersfield to San Jose.

Planning and construction of the Bakersfield to Burbank segment will continue at its existing pace. The new funding stream also allows them to accelerate investments in the Burbank - Los Angeles - Anaheim segment. The segment is part of Amtrak's second busiest corridor and will be an essential link in the statewide system. CHSRA has laid out a phased plan, which will increase corridor capacity, eliminate grade crossings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This plan will provide immediate benefits to riders and set the stage for future high-speed rail service.

It is exciting to know that high-speed rail service could begin operating even sooner than previously expected. The project is setting a standard for high-speed rail development in the United States by establishing steps that other states can follow. Our hope is that success in California will help ignite a nationwide revolution in new passenger rail projects.


Dylan Hayward
Manager of Communications

This blog is out of date. Please click here for current info.

Last Week at MHSRA:

Executive Director Richard Harnish was a guest on Outside the Loop Podcast to speak about the potential express train to O’Hare. Skip to minute 6:54 for the start of the interview.

Shira Orlowek will be leaving MHSRA for a new position at CLEAResult, an energy efficiency company. Shira began working here in January of 2013 and has been vital to the success of our organization. We will sorely miss her energy and passion and would like to wish her the best of luck moving forward.

Articles We Enjoyed:

Study: 110 mph Detroit-to-Holland Rail Would Make Money
“A 110-mph passenger rail route between Detroit and Holland would cost up to $540 million but spur $14 million annually in profit, according to a new study.”

Outside The Loop Podcast: Express Train to O’Hare
“Mike Stephen talks with Midwest High Speed Rail Association executive director Richard Harnish about a potential express train to O’Hare and beyond.” Skip to minute 6:54 for the start of the interview.

7 Reasons You Should Support American High-Speed Rail
“High-speed rail (HSR), a 20th century marvel used around the world, is finally getting past planning stages in several states.”

A Look at Union Station’s Ambitious Restoration and Redevelopment Plans
"On Tuesday the Metropolitan Planning Council hosted a roundtable discussion regarding the future of Chicago's Union Station…The presentation not only focused on efforts to bolster passenger capacity, widen platforms, and improve pedestrian flow, it also highlighted a master plan for transforming the historic 1925 station into a mixed-use destination for both travelers and non-travelers alike."

California Bullet Train Headed First to San Jose — a Big Bay Area Win
"In a huge win for the Bay Area, the state will build the first 250 miles of bullet train track between San Jose and the Bakersfield area and now aims to offer service on the line in less than a decade"

Metra Buying Old Trains, Squandering Opportunity to Change Ancient Service
"Metra wants to lock in its 66-year-old train car design for another 30 years."

Upcoming Events:

2016 Annual Spring Meeting

When: Saturday April 2, 2016 - 9:00am to 2:00pm. 
Check in will start at 8:15am.

Where: IBEW Local 134
600 W. Washington Blvd.
 Chicago, IL 60661

Cost: Single Ticket $40.00
 Student Ticket: $20.00  
*Cost includes lunch
Click Here to Register

Japan High-Speed Rail Tour

We are planning the tour for October of 2016. This trip will give everyone an opportunity to enjoy the rich history of train travel the country offers. We are creating an itinerary that includes riding the first high-speed rail line, visiting at least one railroad museum and meetings with experts in the field. We have already begun making contacts to arrange technical visits and train tours. Once we have received 10 fully-refundable deposits we will finalize the details of the trip.

Please click here if you would like to learn more about the trip

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