Newsletter 5/6/24: Brightline West Selects High-Speed Train Manufacturer

Brightline West Selects Siemens to Manufacture High-Speed Trainsets

Last week, Brightline West announced that it has chosen Siemens to build its fleet of ten “American Pioneer 220” trainsets, which will operate between Las Vegas and Southern California. This announcement comes right after Brightline West’s April 22 groundbreaking on the high-speed rail project, and shows their commitment to initiating service in 2028. 

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Two construction workers a working in a railroad tunnel.

Getting More Bang for Buck In U.S. Railway Projects

The costs of passenger-rail and transit projects in the U.S. are shockingly out of line with those in peer countries. In a recent Alliance webinar, Paul Lewis—a principal at DB E.C.O. North America—talked about the cause of this issue and offered strategies for bringing costs down. 

Check out our blog that summarizes the ten steps that America can take to address high construction costs.

You can also see the full discussion from our webinar with Paul Lewis.

New Twin CitiesChicago Round Trip

Amtrak is adding a second daily round-trip train from the Twin Cities to Chicago. The new train should have a more convenient schedule for most travelers, whether it’s travel to a morning meeting or a dinner with family.

This is a positive step, but we need to aim for a much higher level of service. 

In a 2021 study, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) identified this corridor as the most important in the Midwest, suggesting the need for hourly service at 186+mph.

The FRA’s Midwest Regional Rail Plan.

Proposed Midwest Network (2021)

The FRA’s 2021 Midwest Regional Rail Plan. A new 186+ mph high-speed line linking Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul—with intermediate stops in Milwaukee and Madison—is the foundation of the plan’s strategy.

The platform at Seoul central station is busy with people getting off the train.

Korea Launches Next Generation of High-Speed Trains

The KTX-Cheongryong high-speed train entered service with Korail on May 1. This state-of-the-art train is capable of reaching 320 km/h (just shy of 200 mph), making it the fastest train in the country. The new trains have power units beneath each car, allowing for better traction, acceleration, and deceleration, while eliminating the need for locomotives.

Learn More

Watch our webinar on lessons learned from Korea’s high-speed rail network.

Luncheon with Metra CEO Jim Derwinski

On April 26 we hosted a sold-out luncheon featuring Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García and Metra’s CEO Jim Derwinski. Congressman García spoke about his role on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where he has worked to secure funding for high-speed rail and transit projects that will benefit the Chicagoland area and beyond. 

Jim Derwinski shared Metra’s plans for regional rail, new electric trainsets, and many other projects. If you weren’t able to join us in person, you can see his presentation slides here.

Proposed Midwest Network (2021)

Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski (left) and Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García both spoke at the Alliance’s Spring 2024 Luncheon in Chicago.

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