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Weekly Newsletter: The German Approach to High-Speed Rail

April 07, 2015

In the past few months we’ve talked about some of the ways other countries have used high-speed trains to address their particular transportation needs. Germany has taken a slightly different approach than a lot of places, and offers some cool lessons for the Midwest on how to get the most out of every piece of infrastructure.

Some of Germany’s best approaches include:

Mixed track: On the new Munich-Nuremberg route, for example, high-speed ICE trains use both upgraded track and brand new high-speed tracks. Throughout the country it is common for trains to travel between different types of track. The blended approach saves money and allows high-speed service to be extended to more regions.

Freight on high-speed track: Germany is unique in that it allows freight trains to use high-speed track at night. Although this results in lower speeds overall, it allows for cost sharing.

Trunk lines: Major trunk lines run through major urban areas like Berlin and the Ruhr. On these lines regional, local and high-speed trains can share the same infrastructure. By doing this, Germany is able to move an incredible amount of people in a relatively small space.

Intermodal connections: ICE trains are able to provide greater connectivity by sharing track used to access local train stations and airports.

Phasing: Passengers on the German network can experience improved service more quickly with phasing, where the train uses high-speed track as it’s finished and old track when it’s not.

The main takeaway from Germany, is that we don’t need to build high-speed rail all at once, but by making strategic investments and connecting what we already have, we could enjoy a much more useful transportation system as we develop new high-speed lines.

All the best,

Julius Parod
Manager of Communications

Last Week at MHSRA:

We’ve been meeting with community leaders in Chicago to promote CrossRail Chicago on the South Side.

The Illinois Rail Road Summit (4/29) is fast approaching, and we’re working to make sure communities that depend on trains will be heard before proposed budget cuts to Amtrak, Metra and CTA are adopted. Spots are quickly filling up, and already around 20 community leaders have signed up to show their support and say why trains are important to the people they represent. Check out our flyer for the event here, then sign up to show your support!

On the Blog:

Dance party on Amtrak train stuck in Jacksonville

Articles We Enjoyed:

Hoosier State Gets Another Extenstion
BREAKING NEWS: FRA, Indiana agree to work together to continue Amtrak's Hoosier service

Yearning for Car Averse Millennials, Suburbs Turn to Transit
"Mass transit, once viewed as a prescription for traffic congestion, is now considered a must-have economic development tool to attract millennials — the country’s largest living generation"

Macomb Mayor: Proposed Amtrak budget cuts would hurt city
“[Mayor] Inman says losing Amtrak services could make Western Illinois University less appealing when it comes to recruiting.”

Broadening the city through a universal fare card
Paris aims to encourage more transit use and improve social integration.

Amtrak will keep New Mexico route for Southwest Chief
Good news on one of Amtrak’s long-distance trains.

Amtrak line between Eugene and PDX in danger
One of America’s more popular routes could lose funding.

Beijing to Seoul high-speed rail proposed to open by 2030
Could North Korea see high-speed rail before us?

Upcoming Events:

April 29th - Illinois Railroad Summit in Springfield, IL. We’re inviting allies across Illinois to show howimportant trains are to their communities. Join us in Springfield todemonstrate your support.

A donation of $25 or more today will go directly towards educating elected officials on critical issues - like long distance trains. Can you help us move forward in 2015?

Julius Parod
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
Join today at