Friday, April 10, 2009

Railroad Stimulus: How to Spend $14 Billion to Improve U.S. Rail

Popular Mechanics article about how to spend the federal stimulus money on US Rail/Amtrak infrastructure.The article talks about high speed rail in California. A good investment I think although I believe improving existing infrastructure so trains can travel at faster speeds is a better short term investment than the long term it would need to create a whole new high speed network/city-pair routes. Improving signaling technology and upgrading the NEC tracks so Acela can run at max speed a higher percentage of the time along with more trains running will give a boost to the East coast economy and benefit commuters to boot. This can be done pretty quickly I think, like within a couple years would be my guess.


  • Denser signals (spaced more closely) can permit more trains to fit in a given amount of track, increasing capacity (reducing headway, the distance/time between each train) - arguably one of the cheapest ways to handle more traffic on the NEC. More signals don't unbottleneck the Hudson and the East River, sadly. Instead, we need to get the new NJT tunnel to connect to existing tracks and not deadend into a new underground station in Manhattan.

    After that, attention should turn to upgrading the tracks (and catenary) to enable better cruising speeds along the route.

    By Blogger Ran Barton, at 12:11 PM, April 21, 2009  

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