Newsletter: 12/15/23

High Speed Rail Alliance’s Annual Update

Thank you so much to all of the members of the High Speed Rail Alliance. You are a valued and vital part of a growing movement that’s bringing fast, frequent, and affordable trains to towns and cities across America.

As you know, great trains are transformative. They build healthy and vibrant communities; give families and workers reliable options for getting where they need to be; help businesses attract more customers; and slash carbon emissions.

Those realities are breaking through and creating change. We’re close to a tipping point for train travel in America, and it’s urgent that we build on the momentum and get more trains running as soon as possible.

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A map of existing Amtrak routes, routes with fed-state partnership grants and Corridor ID grants, as of 12/8/23

High Speed Rail Alliance Staff Update

Alliance executive director Rick Harnish has continued sharing the exciting news about federal grants for high-speed rail with reporters across the country. Here is another articles he was quoted in, as well as a podcast appearance:

Latest White House Grants Show Promise for a Real Interstate Rail System

“Right now, for railroads, there’s a little bit of federal money that the states can all come begging for, but what we really need is a federal program that covers all the states,” said Rick Harnish, executive director of the High Speed Rail Alliance. “So we have this problem where nobody believes there’s ever going to be money — and about every 10 years, there is money, and then nobody’s ready for it. … [These grants are] a big step towards getting communities engaged in asking the feds for a bigger program.”

High Speed Rail Success Stories + Brightline Florida (Podcast)

Our executive director Rick Harnish joined the Talking Transportation podcast to talk about notable (and fast!) rail services that are transforming travel in Europe and Asia and review Brightline Florida, which Rick considers a prototype for US regional rail. Rick and host Joe Schwieterman explore key differences between the high-speed rail systems of France, Germany, and Spain, with brief “station stops” in China and Turkey.

Beyond the Tracks: High Speed Rail Station Access and Development

When: January 26, 1pm CT on Zoom

Join City of San Jose and high-speed rail thought leaders for an insightful discussion of best practices and lessons learned from developing and running high-speed rail stations. Explore the intricacies of planning, designing, and developing mixed-use station areas and multimodal passenger facilities that enable a safe, comfortable, and seamless travel experience.

This webinar is a must for planners, policymakers, transit managers, and others passionate about shaping the future of HSR and station areas. This session offers invaluable insights and strategies about U.S. high-speed rail—don’t miss it!

Agenda Highlights:

  • Station Area Development
  • First-/Last-Mile Connections
  • Transit-Oriented Development Best Practices
  • Discussions & Q&A

Register Here

Beyond the Tracks: High-Speed Rail Station Access and Development. Friday, January 26, 2024 11:00a.m.-12:00p.m.
A map showing the Southeast routes proposed by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Southeast Regional Rail Plan

The Southeast has some of the fastest-growing and most culturally innovative cities in the country, including Atlanta, Miami, and Nashville.

It also boasts scores of vibrant mid-sized communities like Asheville (NC), Greenville and Charleston (SC), and Chattanooga (TN).

With its central location and rapid growth, Atlanta has immense promise as the heart of a regional and national high-speed rail network.

Learn more about the challenges and opportunities to improve trains in the Southeast!

What We Are Reading

Governor Newsom Talks High-Speed Rail on Late Night with Seth Meyers

“You want to get cars off the road? You want to address the issue of health and air quality? You want to compete globally? It’s high-speed rail.”

DB Begins Construction on Fehrman Belt Fixed Link to Denmark

Deutsche Bahn has begun in Fehrman to establish the Fehrman Belt Fixed Link that will enable trains to travel between Copenhagen and Hamburg in just two and a half hours, compared to nearly five hours driving. 

Amtrak Confirms You Can Once Again Bring a Bike on the Hiawatha Line

Amtrak is now taking reservations for up to six bikes per trains between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Durbin Takes Beef About Union Station Rehab Funding to Buttigieg (Crain’s Chicago)

Illinois’ senior U.S. senator is publicly expressing his unhappiness with the Biden Administration over its relative lack of funding for a key priority of his: revamping and expanding Chicago’s Union Station.

You can read Senator Durbin’s letter to Secretary Buttigieg here.

First of Five Wisconsin Passenger Rail Expansion Projects Could Launch in 2024

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers says: “With these strategic connections, we can keep our state moving forward and keep building the 21st-century infrastructure Wisconsin needs to support a 21st-century economy and workforce.”

Brightline Coming to Florida’s Treasure Coast

Brightline has announced plans to build a new station along the Treasure Coast, and the process of choosing a location is now under way.

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...