Newsletter 3/29/24: Australian High-Speed Rail & CRISI Grant Announcement

Australia’s High-Speed Rail Business Case

Australia’s High-Speed Rail Authority, which launched in June 2023, is recruiting experts to help with the development and strategic planning for their high-speed rail project, connecting Sydney to Newcastle. 

They are recruiting for eight distinct work packages, which will assist the Authority in formulating a business case by the end of the year. The business case will include the proposed route alignment, station placements, rolling stock selection, cost projections and construction timelines. 

The government previously earmarked $500 million (AUD) for the initial planning phase and land acquisition for the Sydney-Newcastle Corridor. $80 million (AUD) of the total funding is set for the business case, and the federal government is pushing for it to be completed before the end of the year. 

This project would be the first high-speed line in Australia, and is meant to be the first step towards a high-speed rail system connecting Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, the three largest cities in Australia. 

A map of the preferred alignment of Australian east coast high speed rail system in a 2013 report to the Australian Government.

FRA Announces $2.4 Billion in CRISI Grants Available for Rail Projects

The Federal Railroad Administration issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for over $2.4 billion in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program funding. 

CRISI grants can be used on freight and intercity rail projects throughout the country. This opportunity includes funding for Fiscal Years 2023 and 2024, which were authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Last September the FRA awarded CRISI grants for 70 projects in 35 states, with the biggest grant recipients being Amtrak and the California High Speed Rail Authority. 

This funding is an important opportunity that railroads, states, and local communities should seek to take advantage of. Applications for this competitive grant program are due in 60 days. You can view the NOFO here

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High Speed Rail Alliance 2024 Spring Luncheon

This year’s event will feature Jim Derwinski, the CEO/Executive Director of Chicago’s Metra rail system, as keynote speaker. Mr. Derwinski also serves as chairperson of the Illinois High-Speed Railway Commission.

An Amtrak train is in the station at Denver Union Station at night. Passengers are on the platform. The iconic neon Union Station Travel by Train sign is lit up.

Colorado Front Range Passenger Rail

Join Front Range Passenger Rail District (FRPRD) General Manager Andy Karsian and Chairman Jim Souby as they share the vision and achievements to realize an additional travel option along Colorado’s Front Range through passenger rail.

Global Best Practices for Cutting the Cost of Building High-Speed Rail

In this presentation, Paul Lewis with DB E.C.O. North America will discuss global best practices for changing the dynamic and enabling public agencies to build rail projects at a lower cost and fast timeline. 

Long-Awaited Lehigh Valley Passenger Train Study Revealed

The Lehigh Valley Passenger Rail Feasibility Analysis was unveiled this week. It identifies the five “most likely” corridors for restoring passenger rail service from the Lehigh Valley, to New York, Philadelphia and Reading.

Senator Durbin Sees Community Backing for Amtrak Lines Through Peoria

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) says key pieces are coming together for a possible Amtrak line between Peoria and Chicago and another line from the River City to the Quad Cities.

Amtrak Begins Major Harrisburg Line Track Renewal

Amtrak is investing $122 million in Pennsylvania to improve tracks on the Harrisburg Line, between Lancaster and Harrisburg.

A Train From Toronto to Montreal in Under Four Hours?

Currently, three private sector groups made up of engineering consultants and infrastructure contractors are in the process of crafting proposals for co-development of the project. 

‘Train Daddy’ Andy Byford Speaks Out in Toronto (Railway Age)

In his engaging presentation, Byford encouraged transit planners and developers to embrace superior project management practices and show the world that Toronto can be a region where massive projects are delivered on time—and on budget.

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