Posts Tagged ‘high-speed rail’

Looks like Saudi Arabia will beat out Morocco for Africa’s the first high-speed rail service in the Arab world:

Saudi Arabia will soon start offering high-speed train services between Makkah and Madinah. According to the local reports, the first rail service will be on September 24, 2018. The 450km line will link the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah and the King Abdullah Economic City of Rabigh.

The Haramain high-speed train line, which has been repeatedly delayed and resulting with cost increases, having originally been due to open in 2012.

There will be eight services daily in each direction until the end of the year, according to the news on Saudi Gazette. Trains on the line will travel at speeds of 300kph, is expected to cut down the amount of time taken to travel between Mecca and Madinah to two hours. It will also shorten the travel time between Jeddah and Mecca to half an hour.

The design and construction of the project will allow it to withstand tough climatic and heavy traffic conditions. Since temperatures in the region range from 0–50°C, the track will be designed to handle the temperature changes.

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Prophetic Words

In what Transdef calls the “speech of his life”, Senator Simitian explains his No vote on the high-speed rail construction. Ten years ago, Simitian co-sponsored the bill that had put the HSR bond measure on the ballot, but has now soured on the project’s mismanagement.

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From the China Daily:

China’s largest train maker, CSR Corp Ltd, launched over the weekend its first test train that can reach speeds of up to 500 km an hour.

The six-carriage train with a tapered head is the newest member of the CRH series. It has a maximum drawing power of 22,800 kilowatts, compared with 9,600 kilowatts for the CRH380 trains now in service on the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, which hold the world speed record of 300 km per hour.

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The Cost of Doing Nothing

It is the oldest line in the book. When white elephant projects fail rational economic analysis, promoters always claim that “the cost of doing nothing isn’t zero”.

A $98.1 billion outlay for high-speed rail must be measured against the alternative. Creating equivalent capacity with 2,300 miles of highways, 115 new airport gates and four new runways would cost $170 billion.

It is amazing how often this rationale is used, but not everyone falls for it:

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Bring on the Blight

New computer renderings of CA high-speed rail show just what the CHSRA has in store for San Jose, and it isn’t pretty. Here is the Hedding grade separation, which gets both a trench and an aerial. My, what an inviting place for some TOD.

Aerials blasting straight through town. Absolutely hideous, the worst kind of 1950’s planning:



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Actual screenshot from the FRA’s webpage:


How ironic that the FRA website features photos of trains they’ve outlawed from American rails.

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In a shock move, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott approved the $1.2 billion ‘Sunrail’ commuter rail project. This was the same Governor who had earlier canceled the Florida high-speed rail project. Even his supporters are perplexed:

State Senator Paula Dockery, also a Scott supporter, isn’t happy as well. Dockery says high-speed rail had no risk to taxpayers and there were predictions of high ridership, while Sunrail is predicted to have low ridership and tremendous cost.

To recap: Scott cancels a high-speed rail project that would not have cost the State a dime — but approves an Amtrak-style ‘Sunrail’ service requiring enormous operating subsidies.

It is almost as if there were a conspiracy in this country to cancel good transit projects, and fund bad ones.

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