By now, everybody in the rail management and advocacy communities, along with much of the general public, knows what happened to California’s high-speed rail (HSR) project. It’s dead. In his State of the State address, Governor Gavin Newsom scaled it down. Seven days later, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) finished the job with a letter from Administrator Ron Batory to Newsom and California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) CEO Brian P. Kelly.
For all intents and purposes, California’s high-speed rail project is dead. At least that’s the consensus among several observers of the U.S. high-speed rail scene, which, sadly, appears to be based more upon fantasy than reality.
The viability of one of Canada’s largest rail engineering companies is in question as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau struggles against accusations of obstruction of justice in allegedly attempting to spare the company from a corruption trial.
Tunnels in general represent a significant financial investment with challenging design, construction, and operational issues. Tunnels that are not adequately planned, designed, and constructed usually require more costly and extensive repairs. Tunnel Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) is a data-driven tool that provides a detailed account of the total costs of the project over its expected life.
Hoping to improve safety and efficiency in the construction industry, New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering has created the Institute of Design and Construction (IDC) Innovations Hub and selected railroad construction veteran Dr. Michael Horodniceanu as Chairman.
We are not usually concerned with buses at Railway Age, but what would happen if Greyhound buses suddenly disappeared from American roads, and Amtrak became the only provider of passenger transportation with a nationwide reach? That speculation is not as far-fetched as it would appear at first blush, as a similar scenario is being played out at this writing in much of Canada.
Miami-based Virgin Trains USA LLC, previously known as Brightline before it rebranded itself following a 2018 partnership forged with Virgin Enterprises Ltd. and founder Richard Branson, has canceled issuing the IPO scheduled for the week of Feb. 11, saying it will pursue other fundraising options. No indication was given whether it will reconsider an IPO in the near future.
“Real high-speed rail might still make sense in the U.S. in the densely populated Northeast Corridor and among certain high-population city-pairs elsewhere in the U.S. in the ‘sweet spot’ of 250-500 miles apart (too far to drive easily, too short to fly conveniently), if costs can be kept under control,” writes Eno Center for Transportation Senior Fellow and Eno Transportation Weekly Editor Jeff Davis. “But future high-speed rail projects would do well to avoid seven mistakes that have caused the California system to be indefinitely delayed.”
South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), operator of the Tri-Rail regional/commuter rail system, has restructured its senior management team and promoted several staff members, Executive Director Steven L. Abrams announced on Feb. 12.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, citing budget pressures, says the state will not move forward with plans to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco by high-speed rail. Rather, Newsom said the state will build only the 119-mile Central Valley segment of the line, linking Merced and Bakersfield. Newsom’s remarks, made during his first State of the State address Feb. 12, were not widely expected.