Photo by Oran

Unfortunately, we got this alert very late in the game, but it’s always worthwhile to register your support for items like this. Even if they’re well-disposed to high speed rail and your input comes a little late, they like to know that it’s something important to their constituents:

In response to the elimination of high speed and intercity passenger rail (HSIPR) funding in the Senate subcommittee’s fiscal year 2012 bill, Senators Durbin, Lautenberg, Feinstein & Landrieu will offer an amendment today at 3:00 PM in full appropriations committee mark up.  The amendment would provide $100 million for HSIPR and you may find more background on it below.  We encourage you to contact Senate appropriators to express your support for the amendment.  You may find a list of committee members and their contact information by clicking herePlease contact your Senators as soon as you can prior to and around 3:00 pm [ET] today.

There are talking points here.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the federal process WSDOT received $31m from the Feds for Cascades. Details below the jump.

A highlight of the rail dollars includes:

  • Pacific Northwest Corridor Reliability – $16.1 million for design, environmental review and construction work to stabilize and improve track structure along the rail line between Blaine, WA, and the Columbia River Bridge in Vancouver, WA. The upgrades along this route will increase service reliability by reducing the number of closures and delays due to inclement weather.
  • Vancouver-Port Access Rail Improvements – $15 million for construction of a new, rail access route to the Port of Vancouver, including grade separation at an existing rail crossing which has acted as a significant choke point for rail traffic. This enhancement will substantially minimize delays affecting freight trains and Amtrak’s Cascades service. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Port of Vancouver are contributing a combined total of $22 million to this project. Construction is expected to begin in July 2012.

8 Replies to “ACTION ALERT: Call Our Senators for Amtrak Funding”

  1. American HSR is a feeble joke.

    Call your Senator and ask why we can’t even get a 150 mph Amtrak to Portland.

    Today, having significantly improved the Shinkansen over the past decades, the Superconducting Maglev or SCMAGLEV, a superconducting magnetically levitated linear motor car, has made its debut as the latest advance in transport technology to emerge in Japan. This revolutionary system combines a cruising speed equal, at 500 kph, to that of a cruising airplane, with the convenience and transport capacity of the Tokaido Shinkansen.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yoshiyuki-kasai/superconducting-maglev-a-_b_971425.html

  2. There are several reasons that I have gone over on this blog why 150mph rail will NEVER come to this area. First and foremost is the cost. Secondly, there is no real benefit from 110mph to 150mph (22 minute difference, big whoop)

    110mph MAX is perfect for our region and still will allow for 2’30” travel time between Seattle and Portland, beating alternative mode of transportation, city center to city center. Why do we really need 150mph trains? It is far to expensive and not worth the risks involved with getting to that level when we can do plenty with what we have today and coming in the future.

    1. Metroliner on the East Coast does 155mph on a few stretches…so it’s an existing technology for Amtrak.

      And yes, given that Portland is 180 miles away, getting times closer to an hour rather than an hour an half is significant!

      It turns an inter-city trip into a commuter route and opens up far, far more living, residential and commercial opportunities!!

      1. Metroliner does 155 mph? What decade are you talking about because the only train we possess that can come near that is the Accela and it averages something like 80 mph. If you calculate stop separation, mountains between Centralia and Kelso and the mess between Portland and Vancouver you’d find that a TGV with a top speed of 200 mph would have a hard time bettering a 125 mph train on the same route. We can do 2.5 hrs between cities with existing equipment. We could do 2 hrs if we electrified but going to 1.5 hrs would cost a fortune. Would you pay 3x for a ticket to save 30 minutes? I wouldn’t and I don’t think anyone else would either.

  3. Second with Brian here… there is no real benefit to an extra 40 mph when we could be just fine with 110mph. 150 mph has SO much more kinetic energy to dissipate should something let go (I pray it never does). 110 is a proven speed that Amtrak can handle.

    Even 90 mph would be an improvement that I could be happy with.

    1. A 90 mph average gets us there in 2 hrs. We’d have to probably be at 125 on straight sections (vancouver to Kelso, Lakewood to south of Lacey) and 110 from Tukwilla to Puyallup etc. From Centralia to Kelso it would have to drop down to 50-60mph because of the turns etc… Still I think 2 hrs is the faster end of the sweet spot.

      1. Last I checked this is essentially the plan, though IIRC they want to go faster between Centralia and Kelso. You already have tilting trains, you can get a bit better than 60 mph with fairly minor track realignments.

        But they’re eliminating all the bottlenecks first. Point Defiance Bypass is crucial.

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