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High Speed Rail

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NEWS
July 12, 2012 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
High-speed-rail executives from around the world gather in Philadelphia this week, hoping to boost support for bullet trains in the United States, where momentum has been slowed by high costs and political disputes. The Obama administration's pledge to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed trains by 2035 seems increasingly unattainable. Instead, attention has shifted to the Northeast Corridor and California, where hopes for 220-mile-per-hour trains remain highest. "Maybe we can bring a little help to a vision that is perhaps not fully shared yet in the United States," said Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, director-general of the International Union of Railways in Paris and a leader of the Eighth World Congress on High-Speed Rail, which opens here Wednesday.
NEWS
July 12, 2012 | by sean collins walsh and Daily News Staff Writer
U.S. TRANSPORTATION Secretary Ray LaHood blasted America's "unenlightened elected officials" on Wednesday while speaking in Philadelphia at the first international conference on high-speed rail to be held in the United States. Those elected officials, of course, did not include his boss, President Obama. "Common, ordinary citizens are enlightened about this issue," said LaHood, referencing polls that show a majority of Americans want bullet trains. "The bottom line really is this: High-speed rail and passenger rail and the kind of investment that needs to be made cannot be done unless there are people of vision" in government.
NEWS
November 1, 2011 | By Paul Nussbaum, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
As part of a reorganization of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor planning efforts, the railroad's high-speed rail chief is leaving. Al Engel, a Philadelphia engineer who was named vice president of high-speed rail in September 2010, will leave Amtrak next month "to pursue other opportunities," Amtrak said in a statement Tuesday. Amtrak said it is combining its Northeast Corridor development offices and its high-speed rail efforts into a new Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Investment Development department.
NEWS
August 9, 2010 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
The federal government, since 1991, has designated 10 corridors for high-speed rail development, including the Philadelphia-to-Pittsburgh "Keystone Corridor. " Those "designated corridors" don't include the most heavily traveled one, the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston. Most of the corridor plans involve incremental steps to speed up existing service, rather than installation of true high-speed service with trains traveling at more than 155 m.p.h. That's much cheaper, allowing passenger trains to share tracks with freight and commuter trains.
BUSINESS
July 13, 2012 | By Paul Nussbaum and INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Comparing bullet trains to grand American achievements of the past, President Obama's transportation chief said benefits of a high-speed rail network would far outweigh the multibillion-dollar costs, and he said political opponents are on the wrong side of history. "What we're doing is what other generations have done for us," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told international rail executives gathered Wednesday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. He cited the interstate highway system, the Erie Canal, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the transcontinental railroad as similarly transforming American projects of earlier eras.
NEWS
September 19, 2011
By Bob Previdi Whether you are an environmentalist, a train enthusiast, or just someone who wants fast, efficient transportation between major cities, there seems to be agreement that the United States must find a better way to bring high-speed rail service to the Northeast. The University of Pennsylvania and Amtrak have some bold ideas on the subject. But the price tag just for Amtrak's proposals - $117 billion over 30 years - has raised concerns from Rep. John Mica (R., Fla.)
NEWS
August 14, 2011 | By Joe McDonald, Associated Press
BEIJING - China's infatuation with high-speed rail soured at bullet train velocity. Six months ago, the rail network was a success symbol and the basis of a planned high-tech export industry. But after a July crash that killed 40 people, Beijing has suspended new construction and is recalling problem-plagued trains, raising questions about the future of such prestige projects. It was an extraordinary reversal for a project that once enjoyed political status on a level with China's manned space program.
BUSINESS
November 2, 2011 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
As part of a reorganization of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor planning efforts, the railroad's high-speed rail chief is leaving. Al Engel, a Philadelphia engineer who was named vice president of high-speed rail in September 2010, will leave Amtrak next month "to pursue other opportunities," Amtrak said in a statement Tuesday. Amtrak said it was combining its Northeast Corridor development offices and its high-speed rail efforts into a new Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Investment Development department.
NEWS
November 15, 1990 | By Russell E. Eshleman Jr., Inquirer Staff Writer
After spending $4.2 million to study the idea, state officials decided a few years ago that building a $10 billion super-fast train across Pennsylvania was probably not in the fiscal cards. Now the deck may be reshuffled. Contained in some transportation-related legislation pending in the Senate is a provision calling for an additional $290,000 to be spent studying the high-speed rail concept. The bill originally called for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to conduct the study.
NEWS
July 21, 2012 | By Patrick Kerkstra, For The Inquirer
Amtrak is thinking big in small-minded times. At all levels, government is scaling back. One of our political parties has decided that investment in infrastructure is a dangerous, socialistic experiment, and the other one can't manage to persuade the country otherwise. So this may not the best moment to pitch a $151 billion bonanza, which is the amount Amtrak would like to spend over the next 28 years bringing high-speed rail to the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor. But Amtrak is thinking long-term.
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NEWS
May 21, 2015
OFFICIALS ARE still investigating the cause of last week's horrific Amtrak derailment that claimed eight lives and injured hundreds more, and it will take a while before we know the truth. But like most disasters, the incident highlights a tangled complex of issues both large and small. It's actually the smallest that has us worried: that a "projectile" such as a rock was thrown at the train. This has not been confirmed, and reports have been contradictory, but the possibility that someone out there in our rough-and-tumble city might have caused such havoc has us wincing.
NEWS
November 21, 2014 | BY DAN GERINGER, Daily News Staff Writer geringd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5961
PHILADELPHIA is in the heart of the Northeast rail corridor, where more than 2,000 passenger trains move 75,000 riders daily between Washington,D.C. and Boston on speed-restricted tracks across aging bridges and through ancient tunnels, powered by 1930s-era equipment. The whole system needs an extreme makeover as desperately as the Phillies do. Yesterday, at SEPTA headquarters in Center City, the Federal Railroad Administration's NEC (Northeast Corridor) FUTURE program unveiled a public glimpse of what that makeover might be by 2040.
NEWS
April 3, 2014 | BY JOHN M. CRISP
  TWO QUESTIONS: Why doesn't our nation have more passenger trains? And does the younger generation's declining interest in driving imply an opening for the expansion of public high-speed rail? Last May, the New York Times reported that all of us, and especially the so-called millennials, are driving less. The Times cites a report from U.S. Pirg, a nonprofit advocacy organization, that documents a six-decade increase in miles driven per capita, and then a surprising eight-year decline in total miles driven and a corresponding per-capita decline since 1996.
NEWS
December 9, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Has Amtrak abandoned its vision of 220-mile-per-hour bullet trains speeding up and down the Northeast Corridor? The railroad recently issued draft specifications for new trains to replace its existing Acelas that call for 160 m.p.h. trains, not the 220 m.p.h. versions Amtrak said in January that it was seeking. Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority in January announced they were jointly seeking proposals for trains that could run at 220 miles an hour on the West Coast and the East Coast.
NEWS
November 29, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Last of two articles. High-speed rail in the United States is closest to reality in California, but the nation's busiest rail route - the Northeast Corridor - is struggling just to keep the trains running as Amtrak pleads for money to eventually bring bullet trains to the Northeast. The 457-mile-long corridor between Washington and Boston carries 750,000 riders and 2,000 trains a day on an antiquated system prone to frequent failures and delays. And while California can largely start from scratch to build a high-speed line planned to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco by 2029 - though it must overcome legal and funding challenges, including a ruling this week stopping a bond sale - the corridor faces a daunting retrofit.
NEWS
November 28, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
First of two articles. FRESNO, Calif. - After decades of promises, plans, and politics, California has finally reached the construction phase of its high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. But a judge's ruling this week could derail the $68 billion project, setting new legal and financial hurdles in the path of a proposed 520-mile railroad for 220-mile-an-hour bullet trains. Championed by Gov. Jerry Brown as a transforming project akin to the early freeways and the Golden Gate Bridge, the high-speed rail line would be America's first.
NEWS
August 27, 2013
MOUNT WOLF, Pa. - He lives in a place named for his family, in an 1850s house built by his family, and runs a company started by his family in 1843. He has an Ivy League (Dartmouth) undergrad degree, a master's from the University of London and a doctorate from MIT. His doctoral dissertation (the bound version is the size of a Manhattan phone book) is titled Congressional Sea Change: Conflict and Organizational Accommodation in the House of Representatives 1878-1921 . I have not read it. But I have spent time with Tom Wolf, chairman/CEO of the Wolf Organization, largest supplier of kitchen and bath cabinetry in the U.S., at his home in this tiny York County borough just west of the Susquehanna River.
NEWS
July 18, 2013 | By Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writer
Despite being "desperately underfunded," in one official's words, SEPTA is moving ahead with an environmental impact study to extend the Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prussia and Valley Forge. Officials say the area is badly underserved, with the nearest Regional Rail stops more than two miles away. Six bus routes serve the area, with about 4,000 passengers a day, but they are subject to the same traffic headaches drivers face on the Schuylkill Expressway. "If you don't plan, you never build," said Byron Comati, SEPTA's project director, who alluded to the agency's financial problems.
NEWS
July 16, 2013 | BY DAN GERINGER, Daily News Staff Writer geringd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5961
WILL THOUSANDS OF workers finally be able to ride high-speed rail to King of Prussia and Valley Forge instead of a bus that relies on the Jekyll/Hyde, highway to heaven/hell, Russian-roulette insanity of I-76 traffic? SEPTA will reveal plans for long-awaited rail service to King of Prussia Mall and Valley Forge at a four-hour public meeting tomorrow. Several alternative extensions of the Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prussia and Valley Forge will be presented. Public comment is invited.
BUSINESS
June 6, 2013 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia is in a sweet spot for high-speed rail travel if the United States ever decides to follow European and Asian nations in developing bullet trains. Rail experts from France, Japan, England, and the United States on Tuesday outlined the success formula for high-speed trains: large populations, big job markets, frequent trains, and affordable fares. Among 7,870 American rail routes evaluated as candidates for high-speed rail, the Philadelphia-New York route ranked third, according to the Manhattan-based urban research organization the Regional Plan Association (RPA)
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