Monday, May 15, 2006

More Fantasy Rail

Peter Montgomery writes in an email of May 7, 2006:

The high-speed rail (HSR) route I want to see is Vancouver, BC - Tijuana, Mexico (or Bellingham-San Diego). Alas the California Assembly voted last week to delay a public vote on the initial HSR segment bond (San Francisco-Los Angeles) until November, 2008. Eight hours for downtown Seattle to downtown San Francisco (perhaps with a transfer at Sacramento, Stockton, or Merced) would be very good. We need both daytime and overnight trains.

Thank's for writing, Peter.

Eventually, somebody has to see that we in the United States, when still a developing nation, never should have been so hung up on the transcontinental passenger routes (which never were true transcons) at the expense of the north-south routes that could have or should have connected Canadian population centers with our populous cities and with either Mexico or The Gulf thereof.

Combinations of trains and single, mostly seasonal, tourist routes existed in the first half of the last century, but they were short of the mark. Southern Pacific probably came closest on the West Coast, but most of the Eastern routes started at the United States population centers, not the Canadian.

An interesting route to contemplate would be one from Toronto through to New Orleans. We'd venture that the best approach would be to avoid the existing crossings of the Great Lakes' river systems and build a high speed bridge or tunnel. Even better would be one all the way to Mexico City via any of the possible crossings in Texas. We are sure we would have to subsidize HS in Mexico. Wouldn't it make the route all the more viable to include Houston, which currently has no viable north-south passenger routing?

Montreal to Miami or Tampa also comes to mind, but route the service down the coast and avoid the current hodgepodge of freight railroads that make the Silver Service trains such a nightmare today. New track, and new trains. (The basic principle of Revamp Nothing.)

Have any of the readers of this blog ever been to Winnipeg? Winnipeg is a great railroad town with a beautiful passenger station. We know there have been historic Minneapolis to Winnipeg trains, but why not Winnipeg-Fargo-Sioux Falls-Sioux City-Omaha-Kansas City-Tulsa-Dallas-Houston-Brownsville-Matamoros-Veracruz? It's almost a straight north-south shot and hits a dozen population centers.

Does anyone out there with an itch to run passenger trains have the money to invest in a project like this? Where is Mr. Branson when you need him?

Once again, we invite readers to tell us about your some-day-it-may fantasy passenger railroad.

© 2006 - C. A. Turek -
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