Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Saturday April 27, @06:13AM   Printer-friendly
from the let's-go-build-that-railway,-all-218-miles-of-it dept.

"After years of promises and years of lip service, we finally have all the funding needed, all the approvals, all the permits, all the union workers, and there's only one thing left to do now to get this party started.

We need to build it. And that starts today."

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., April 22, Las Vegas.

It looks like America is going to get its first real high-speed rail train.

On Monday, April 22, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg officially opened the start of the works for the Brightline West High-Speed Rail Project. The 218-mile rail line will operate between Las Vegas, Nevada, and Rancho Cucamonga, California, and will be a fully electric, zero-emission system.

The high-speed train should average an 186 miles an hour speed, bringing the overland travel time between Las Vegas and Los Angeles down from 4 to 2 hours. To do so, 195 miles (315 km) of new track needs to be laid down to exacting standards, on the mid-shoulder of Interstate 15. There will be stations in Las Vegas, Victor Valley, Hesperia and Rancho Cucamonga, California. The line should be fully operational by 2028, in time for the Olympic Games.

Funding, to the tune of 12 billion dollar, comes half from private industry, and half from the Federal Government ($6.5 billion in grants and financing). An estimated 35,000 jobs, including 10,000 direct union construction jobs, and 1,000 permanent jobs once the line is operational, are associated with the project initiated by Brightline, a company which already runs a train service between Miami and Orlando.

"Today answers the question that has been asked too often, likely," Buttigieg said during the groundbreaking ceremony.

"The question whether America can still build massive, forward-looking engineering marvels that make people's lives better for generations ... and this is just the start."


Original Submission

Related Stories

Private Company Entering High-Speed Rail 30 comments

Historically, high-speed rail travel by Train a Grande Vitesse (TGV) in France was the monopoly of the French national rail service, SNCF.

Under EU rules, all national operators have to make their rail system available to other willing operators. So in 2021, Trentalia, a unit of Italy's state rail operator, decided to offer high-speed train rides in France too.

Now a third company has decided to enter the fray. The difference is that this is a private company named Proxima, backed by a (French) private equity firm (Antin Infrastructure Partners) to the initial tune of $1.1bn.

Proxima will offer high-speed rail trips between Paris and four cities in western France - Bordeaux, Nantes, Rennes, and Angers, using 12 Avelia Horizon Trains. This will add 10 million new passenger seats on these lines, per year. According to the company,

"Travel between key cities in France has increased over the last 10 years, reflecting new ways of living. High-speed rail is the answer favored by the French, and train occupancy levels are at all-time highs.

As France's first independent high speed train operator, Proxima aims to reinvent the experience for its different customers groups by listening to their needs, and reflecting the changes in consumer behaviour and changing ways of life. These include trends to teleworking and the erosion of the business/leisure boundary, as well as the demand for better on-board connectivity and relevant services on-board."

It might be noteworthy that earlier this year, the EU decided to speed-up the implementation of the TEN-T network. The TEN-T is an EU-wide network of rail, inland waterways, short-sea shipping routes, and roads. It connects 424 major cities with ports, airports and railway terminals. When the TEN-T is complete, it will cut travel times between these cities. For example, passengers will be able to travel between Copenhagen and Hamburg in 2.5 hours by train, instead of the 4.5 hours required today. You can find an interactive map detailing the project(s) here.

While in 2021, the deadline for completion of the network's core was set at 2040, a recent update stated that the core transport links must be finished by 2030. It is speculation, but it could be -- given that Proxima's service will start in 2027 -- that the current initiative is in anticipation of that completion.

Related: Highspeed to the Future


Original Submission

This discussion was created by janrinok (52) for logged-in users only, but now has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Frosty Piss on Saturday April 27, @06:50AM (3 children)

    by Frosty Piss (4971) on Saturday April 27, @06:50AM (#1354746)

    Of course, this will only benefit East Coast travelers, the folks in DC have never acknowledged the possibility of any West Coast high speed, between SF and LA or God forbid between Seattle and SF/LA. For us on the West Coast, it's just a long off dream. Although, there's money to be made with a high speed train between LA and Las Vegas...

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday April 27, @12:12PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday April 27, @12:12PM (#1354776)

      Putting it "on the mid-shoulder of Interstate 15" is a lot like the routing of the Miami Metro Rail, elevated right along the worst traffic jam in Florida: US-1 south from the southern end of I-95.

      You people in cars can just watch the train pass you by... In Miami they also used the presence of the rail alternative to justify the dismal "Level Of Service" on the adjacent roadway, preserving federal funding that would otherwise be cut due to the unacceptable driving conditions.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: -1, Troll) by khallow on Saturday April 27, @07:55PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 27, @07:55PM (#1354812) Journal

      Of course, this will only benefit East Coast travelers, the folks in DC have never acknowledged the possibility of any West Coast high speed, between SF and LA or God forbid between Seattle and SF/LA.

      America's first HSR is already well underway [buildhsr.com]. It should be ready to move people between some of the above cities by 2050 or 2100, maybe a bit later.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Freeman on Monday April 29, @03:51PM

      by Freeman (732) on Monday April 29, @03:51PM (#1355026) Journal

      Texas is looking at a possible High Speed Rail line between Houston and Dallas, though it seems to be in the "wouldn't it be nice" state still.

      I was curious about Train travel and how much/if I could do a Train trip from Texas to the West Coast. The cost of doing that was stupendously expensive and the trip took much longer than getting a flight. Just to be clear the cost of travel by rail was also way more expensive than round-trip airfare. Beyond that, I believe there's no rail line that would get you there without multiple exchanges. Pretty sure any of the things I chose had you getting off/on multiple trains and greyhound busses. In case you really thought flying was bad. Just look at railway travel in the USA. It's overpriced and stupid.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by EJ on Saturday April 27, @08:41AM (7 children)

    by EJ (2452) on Saturday April 27, @08:41AM (#1354753)

    I'm not going to get into the merits of the Ukraine situation, but we just tossed $95 billion over there. Didn't The Pentagon fail an audio to the tune of multiple TRILLIONS of dollars?

    Imagine what this country could be if our government invested our tax dollars in actually improving the country for its citizens.

    • (Score: 2) by EJ on Saturday April 27, @08:44AM

      by EJ (2452) on Saturday April 27, @08:44AM (#1354754)

      audio = audit

    • (Score: 2) by quietus on Saturday April 27, @10:24AM (2 children)

      by quietus (6328) on Saturday April 27, @10:24AM (#1354765) Journal

      Only 3.5 billion in grants really -- the remaining 3 billion of government funding are loans.

      • (Score: 2) by EJ on Saturday April 27, @10:47AM (1 child)

        by EJ (2452) on Saturday April 27, @10:47AM (#1354769)

        I meant the total cost. I'm suggesting that this should be something our tax dollars could trivially fund while creating jobs that help the economy.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Sunday April 28, @05:41AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 28, @05:41AM (#1354865) Journal

          I'm suggesting that this should be something our tax dollars could trivially fund while creating jobs that help the economy.

          Or we could just skip collecting the tax dollars and create jobs that help the economy that way. If we're going to do trickle down, I'd rather it be done in a way that spends less tax dollars.

    • (Score: 2) by DadaDoofy on Sunday April 28, @10:34AM (1 child)

      by DadaDoofy (23827) on Sunday April 28, @10:34AM (#1354885)

      What if the government didn't get to confiscate trillions of dollars from us, and the citizens could improve the country for the citizens?

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by EJ on Sunday April 28, @10:50AM

        by EJ (2452) on Sunday April 28, @10:50AM (#1354886)

        I was trying to keep my fairy tale somewhat plausible.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday April 29, @05:28PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 29, @05:28PM (#1355055) Journal

      Didn't The Pentagon fail an audio to the tune of multiple TRILLIONS of dollars?

      I have to admit I'm skeptical.

      Trillions would not have gone unnoticed.

      Billions, maybe.

      Millions, just a rounding error.

      --
      The most difficult part of the art of fencing is digging the holes and carrying the fence posts.
  • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Saturday April 27, @09:55AM (8 children)

    by RamiK (1813) on Saturday April 27, @09:55AM (#1354762)
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by quietus on Saturday April 27, @10:22AM (7 children)

      by quietus (6328) on Saturday April 27, @10:22AM (#1354764) Journal

      Note that in China almost all high-speed rail is built and exploitated by China State Railway Group. At its core it is government-funded, like most -- if not all -- other initiatives in Europe (and SE Asia).

      This US initiative, on the other hand, is thought out, funded and will be exploitated by, a for-profit company. The Federal Government only plays a limited role (only $3.5bn as a grant, and the rest as loans) here, something which I didn't stress in the sub.

      If this initiative turns out to be profitable [enough], it might attract other business groups to try and do the same, leading to an even faster build-out of high-speed rail as in Europe, or even China.

      This might especially be the case if US investments in HSR are offset against carbon credits -- I assume, as the EU already has its carbon credit market, and China is starting out with its own initiative, the US will follow soon [with a separate carbon credit trading initiative].

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by RamiK on Saturday April 27, @11:34AM

        by RamiK (1813) on Saturday April 27, @11:34AM (#1354773)

        This is why the interstate highways is a communist plot to ruin the US and why real red blooded Americans only drive off-road and fly jets and choppers the way God and his prophet Adam Smith intended.

        --
        compiling...
      • (Score: 0, Troll) by khallow on Saturday April 27, @08:56PM (2 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 27, @08:56PM (#1354819) Journal

        If this initiative turns out to be profitable [enough]

        It won't be. One doesn't need to give a business considerable funds to build and service a highly profitable route. That the government would be pushing this project with a vast amount of money via direct funding and subsidized loans indicates it never would be profitable in the first place without that.

        If this initiative turns out to be profitable [enough], it might attract other business groups to try and do the same, leading to an even faster build-out of high-speed rail as in Europe, or even China.

        If this were profitable enough, the US would outpace Europe or China in such a hypothetical build-out.

        This might especially be the case if US investments in HSR are offset against carbon credits -- I assume, as the EU already has its carbon credit market, and China is starting out with its own initiative, the US will follow soon [with a separate carbon credit trading initiative].

        At some point, someone will need to show that those poorly planned carbon credit markets are justified. Currently, they're just a tool for other countries to get ahead of yours.

        • (Score: 2) by quietus on Monday April 29, @06:25PM (1 child)

          by quietus (6328) on Monday April 29, @06:25PM (#1355062) Journal

          The first transcontinental is one of the largest railroads ever built in the United States and was the largest publicly funded work of the nineteenth century. The federal government, through the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862, provided a construction loan and land grants to two private companies, the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific, which built and operated the railroad. Was the Pacific Railroad Act necessary to induce private investment into building the first transcontinental?

          Source: The First U.S. Transcontinental Railroad: Expected Profits and Government Intervention. Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press (full article) [sci-hub.ru].

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday May 02, @02:42PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 02, @02:42PM (#1355552) Journal
            I see not much has changed in 162 years. Still stand by what I wrote.
      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday April 28, @12:07AM (2 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday April 28, @12:07AM (#1354836)

        >If this initiative turns out to be profitable [enough], it might attract other business groups to try and do the same, leading to an even faster build-out of high-speed rail as in Europe, or even China.

        That's quite the leap. If private investment in drug stores, grocery stores, gas stations and banks is any indication, we are more likely to get a 2nd HSR competing on the same route because the traffic there indicates a profitable capacity for it. Taking a risk in another (unproven) market is rare for private investment.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 2) by quietus on Monday April 29, @07:00PM (1 child)

          by quietus (6328) on Monday April 29, @07:00PM (#1355073) Journal

          Not necessarily.

          The first transcontinental railway was built in 1869. Only 40 years later the US railroad system was at its peak: and all of it was built by private industry.

          What is interesting is that the current administration is turning to the same tools that were used to boost the original development of rail in the second half of the 19th century. Land grants -- that mid-shoulder on the I-25 and some places to build stations are apparently worth nearly $3bn -- cheap loans, and, I guess, some mild tax credits for the companies involved.

          Neither of these measures weigh on the federal (or state) budget, but are very visible: which means that it is a nearly cost-free political win for either a Democrat or a Republican administration.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday April 29, @07:26PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday April 29, @07:26PM (#1355087)

            In 1869 wealth in the US was concentrated in the hands of a few men who didn't much listen to quantitative market analysts... they rightly guessed that owning the new transportation modality of railroads would make them more wealthy and powerful than they already were... I don't think we'll be building HSR with the kind of labor and free land that was the basis of 1860s railroad construction.

            >Land grants -- that mid-shoulder on the I-25 and some places to build stations are apparently worth nearly $3bn

            Well, free land is still part of the equation, but not like in the 1860s... There's also the question: who is that land in the middle of I-25 worth $3B to? Can we build an industrial park there? Not really, with the access restrictions of the interstate. Pretty poor location for residential and commercial development too... I suspect the $3B is just a figure to fill out some of the paperwork with, not a serious valuation for open-market uses.

            >it is a nearly cost-free political win for either a Democrat or a Republican administration.

            Not sure who could feel like they are politically winning by suppressing the construction of HSR? Airline lobbies, I suppose.

            --
            🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by corey on Saturday April 27, @10:27AM (6 children)

    by corey (2202) on Saturday April 27, @10:27AM (#1354767)

    For a moment i was trying to convert 186 mph to km/h. Then i remembered the speed of light is 186,000,000 mph or 3e8 km/h. So, the train goes 300 km/h, easy!

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by janrinok on Saturday April 27, @10:50AM (2 children)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 27, @10:50AM (#1354771) Journal

      Those of us in Europe who frequently travel between the UK (miles) and Europe (kilometers) use a quick and dirty approximation of muliplying miles by 5/3 or kilometers by 3/5. It is close enough for most purposes.

      --
      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
      • (Score: 4, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Saturday April 27, @12:09PM (1 child)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday April 27, @12:09PM (#1354775)

        I always remember 1.6 km per mile... it helped to grok speed and distance while biking in Germany / Denmark.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 2) by corey on Sunday April 28, @01:22AM

          by corey (2202) on Sunday April 28, @01:22AM (#1354844)

          Yeah that’s what i do as i remember 100 mph ~= 160 km/h.

          Anyway they’ve been talking about high speed rail here in SE Australia for decades but never done anything but fund a study every 5-10 years.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by cereal_burpist on Sunday April 28, @03:18AM

      by cereal_burpist (35552) on Sunday April 28, @03:18AM (#1354853)
      The speed of light is 186 thousand miles per second, or 671 million miles per hour.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by drussell on Sunday April 28, @03:00PM

      by drussell (2678) on Sunday April 28, @03:00PM (#1354895) Journal

      As cereal_burpist points out above, you got the units wrong, but since you still had the ratio correct, you still got the correct answer, despite borking the units.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Monday April 29, @11:38PM

      by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Monday April 29, @11:38PM (#1355152)

      A nerd victory!

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by srobert on Saturday April 27, @05:05PM (3 children)

    by srobert (4803) on Saturday April 27, @05:05PM (#1354797)

    Great, Vegas needs more ways to transport the rubes into and out of our city. And by subsidizing their ride, they'll have more money left in their pockets to be siphoned out while they're here. Then we can ship the empty pockets back to Cali for a refill at high speed. It's like an assembly line conveyor belt packed full of chumps.

    • (Score: 2) by drussell on Sunday April 28, @03:05PM (2 children)

      by drussell (2678) on Sunday April 28, @03:05PM (#1354897) Journal

      Great, Vegas needs more ways to transport the rubes into and out of our city. And by subsidizing their ride, they'll have more money left in their pockets to be siphoned out while they're here.

      Are you seriously suggesting that other modes of transportation are not or should not be "subsidized" in any way by the government?!

      So you are saying that all roads should be private toll roads, for example, then too, right?!! 🙄

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by srobert on Sunday April 28, @03:46PM

        by srobert (4803) on Sunday April 28, @03:46PM (#1354902)

        "Are you seriously suggesting that ..."

        I'm not seriously suggesting anything. I'm just trying to be funny. ;-)
        No, I'm more of a democratic socialist when I'm serious.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DannyB on Monday April 29, @05:38PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 29, @05:38PM (#1355057) Journal

        <no-sarcasm>
        I read it as sarcastic and funny.

        I see the truth behind the humor in the fact that Vegas is designed to separate gamblers' money from them.

        Just look at all those billion dollar properties. Do you think that was paid for by people who came to Vegas and won?

        Just so you know: I was born in Vegas and grew up there until I was 14. The 1960s and early 1970s. It was a very different place back then. But still designed to separate gamblers from their money. Anyone who lived there knew better than to gamble. Today, not so much.

        Also, the mob ran everything so there was lower crime. They would never have tolerated the gangs that moved in after all the casino's went legit and became corporations for profit.
        </no-sarcasm>

        --
        The most difficult part of the art of fencing is digging the holes and carrying the fence posts.
  • (Score: 3, Touché) by VLM on Saturday April 27, @05:15PM (5 children)

    by VLM (445) on Saturday April 27, @05:15PM (#1354798)

    fully electric, zero-emission system.

    I'd be more impressed if it were profitable.

    The main problem with high speed rail in the USA is its a hyper-expensive technology to travel very fast between two points where almost no one as a percentage wants to visit, but we'll all end up wildly overpaying for it.

    According to Brightline founder Wes Edens, a round-trip fare will cost about $400 per person

    oof about $2/mile and that's after massive government kickbacks and it only leaves on it's schedule not your schedule. Ouchie.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by EJ on Saturday April 27, @08:15PM (2 children)

      by EJ (2452) on Saturday April 27, @08:15PM (#1354815)

      So...like an airplane

      • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Sunday April 28, @02:17AM

        by krishnoid (1156) on Sunday April 28, @02:17AM (#1354848)

        Well, hopefully not that much [youtu.be] like an airplane.

      • (Score: 2, Touché) by khallow on Sunday April 28, @05:07AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 28, @05:07AM (#1354861) Journal

        According to Brightline founder Wes Edens, a round-trip fare will cost about $400 per person

        oof about $2/mile and that's after massive government kickbacks and it only leaves on it's schedule not your schedule. Ouchie.

        So...like an airplane

        If airlines had $400 tickets between LA and LV, which they don't. At a glance, I see tickets between $30 and $120 one way. Paying for additional luggage will make those more expensive so it might be comparable to the most expensive tickets with a bunch of luggage per person. And you can also drive with no weight limits on your luggage at all.

        My take is that they could get most of the benefit of high speed rail by halving the wait time of security theater in airports. It probably wouldn't take $12 billion and it would have nation-wide benefit.

    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Sunday April 28, @03:11AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Sunday April 28, @03:11AM (#1354851) Homepage

      Could be worse... when the ballot prop for the CA N-S HSR came along, using their own numbers x3 (because 3x is a minimal cost overrun in CA, turns out I wildly underestimated that part) it worked out to something like $1500 per one-way trip (or about $3.75/mile, figured that way).

      --
      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 2) by quietus on Monday April 29, @07:08PM

      by quietus (6328) on Monday April 29, @07:08PM (#1355079) Journal

      ...its a hyper-expensive technology to travel very fast between two points where almost no one as a percentage wants to visit, but we'll all end up wildly overpaying for it.

      That same argument played when building the transcontinental railways in the 1800s: the South arguing that them railways all went in the wrong direction, and they wouldn't dream of paying for such an undertaking. It took [until after] the Civil War to end their opposition.

  • (Score: 2) by quietus on Monday April 29, @07:14PM

    by quietus (6328) on Monday April 29, @07:14PM (#1355085) Journal

    After years of promises and years of lip service, we finally have all the funding needed, all the approvals, all the permits, all the union workers, and there's only one thing left to do now to get this party started.

    I started the sub with that quote because I thought it kinda weird: that's not how unions work, is it? I've been a Socialist Union member myself, and I've never heard of such quota before.

(1)