Newsletter: 2/9/24

Wisconsin Legislative Day

Alliance staff and volunteers shared information about proposed train service with a bipartisan group of Wisconsin lawmakers and staffers who represent about one-quarter of the districts in the state. The presentations and discussion were part of a Legislative Day at the Wisconsin Capitol on February 1. The Alliance worked with All Aboard Wisconsin and WisARP to plan the event, which also included briefings from state transportation officials on Wisconsin’s plans for expanded passenger service.

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A map of existing and potential passenger rail routes in Illinois.
A GO Train is waiting to load passengers at Toronto Union Station.

GO Transit: A Case Study In North American Regional Rail


The GO Transit system, serving the Toronto Metropolitan region, is one of the largest and most successful modern commuter rail systems in North America. Having commenced services in 1967, it was also one of the first systems to become part of a regional transit authority. Today, three of its seven lines provide consistent, all-day service on much of their routes. However, this is changing.

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Attention, Michigan: Start Building the Coast to Coast Line Now

There’s a great little regional rail corridor just waiting for development in booming Lower Michigan.

Consider the elements that make a passenger-train corridor work: thriving industries, a state capital, two huge universities, a mammoth world-class medical center and teaching hospital and a major tourist attraction.  Link them together with just under 200 miles of rebuilt, well-maintained railroad, and you’ve got a recipe for America’s latest passenger-train success.  All it takes is the will to fund it and the right people to run it.

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Michigan Coast To Coast Map

HSRA Staff Update

Our executive director Rick Harnish traveled to DC last week to attend a meeting held by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. This is a public meeting attended by Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration, and state transportation officials, where they discuss policy issues, infrastructure projects, federal funding, and other issues related to maintaining and expanding our national rail network. 

The mood at the conference has become increasingly optimistic, as the amount of federal funding available for rail projects has continued to grow. There were positive discussions about the next federal reauthorization, which sets federal spending levels and priorities for transportation. Rick continued those conversations as he met with elected officials and transportation experts, stressing the importance of building on the momentum for trains that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) created.

We are very encouraged by the positivity about the future of rail we witnessed in DC. With your support we can continue making progress towards fast, frequent and affordable trains throughout the country.

Viaduct Construction for High-Speed Lines

When: Friday, 2/16 at 12pm CT

With its large and growing network, China leads the world in building high-speed rail. One key to Chinese success has been ambitious use of viaducts. Elevating high speed lines helps to keep tracks straight and manage uneven terrain, and provides a smaller overall footprint. In this webinar, we’ll hear from the leaders in two companies with expertise in building long stretches of viaducts for high-speed lines.

Register Here


Free Transit Activism Training: how to Make Your Transit Fantasies a Reality

When: Wednesday, 2/21 at 7:30pm CT

Hosted by Carter Lavin

An American high-speed rail network; robust regional rail service throughout your state; reliable, abundant transit options in your town. They might feel like fantasies but all of these are possible. You can help make your transit fantasies a reality when you politically organize and fight for them.

Register Here

Beyond the Tracks: High-Speed Rail Station Access and Development. Friday, January 26, 2024 11:00a.m.-12:00p.m.

What We Are Reading

Beyond the Tracks: High-Speed Rail Station Access and Development (Video)

This webinar was created for planners, policymakers, transit managers, and others passionate about shaping the future of High-speed rail and station areas. 

Amtrak Pledges to Double Riders by 2040 with Expansion Plans

The “ambitious” goal would see the company work toward serving 66 million riders per year, as the Biden administration makes massive investments into rail infrastructure. 

Bullet Train to Las Vegas Would Speed Change In Rancho Cucamonga (Daily Bulletin)

“To get a firmer grasp on what might be a monumental project for Rancho Cucamonga and the Inland Empire, I met at City Hall with Burris and his boss, John Gillison, the city manager, to hear how Brightline West looks from their perspective.”

Ohio 3C+D Economic Impact Study

A detailed and conservative economic impact study of starting up passenger rail service between Ohio’s four largest metro areas will contribute $106 million to $107 million to gross state product.

High-Speed Rail Is Coming to the Central Valley. Residents See a New Life in the Fast Lane

California’s high-speed rail may still be a matter of carping debate in some political circles, but it’s fast becoming a reality for residents of the Central Valley.

Transit Experts Weigh In On Proposed Madison Amtrak Station

City officials plan to recommend one or more station sites later this year. If rail lines are added or extended to Madison, the service would not start to run until 2027 at the earliest, according to the study.

Amtrak California Passengers are Starving for New Trains

A review of California’s new Venture cars, which are essentially the same as the Amtrak Venture equipment being rolled out in the Midwest.

The Latest from HSRA

Our Latest Blog Posts

Check out the latest news, updates, and high speed rail insights from our blog!

New Plans for Virginia’s Passenger Rail Expansion

New Plans for Virginia’s Passenger Rail Expansion

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) has begun preliminary discussions with Northeast freight operator Norfolk Southern Railways (NS) about alternative ways to expand Virginia’s passenger rail service. Earlier this year, plans were drafted to extend the N-Line...