Originally Posted by electricron
This pie-in-the-sky scheme is vary similar to proposals I've seen for personal people movers. I would think electrifying the existing freight tracks throughout Texas would be cheaper, and more environmental friendly.
Just like proponents for personal people movers, they have completely ignored considering the yards needed to manage the freight. Trains need maintenance shops, storage yards, sorting yards, and handling yards, so will these.
Why build an entirely new system when a fully functioning, highly profitable rail system already exists?
I agree, with a caveat or two.
Nationwide, the US rail grid works rather well between the cities themselves. Once right-of-way is beyond old downtowns routes between metropolitan areas of all sizes tends to be rather good. The problem, however, is within the urban areas, where from the 1950s on track connections have been ripped up, slowing freight traffic through urban cores to a "crawl."
A classic example is north-south, east-west connections through downtown Denver where about 3 miles of connection track has been been butchered through the years to the current point where freight trains routinely take 6 hours to traverse, for an average of .5 mph (this misalignment process has continued well into the 21st Century here in Denver).
What is needed, IMO, far more than huge real estate plays between big cities, are high grade right-of-way shunts around (and, yes, even through) central cities.
A sustained 15 mph average would enable a freight train to travel the 2500 or so rail miles, coast to coast, in around 165 hours, or almost 7 days. A sustained average of 50 mph, about 50 hours, or a bit over two days.
The key, IMO, for BOTH freight and passenger rail traffic efficientcy improvement is to move traffic through urban areas faster, not gloriously grandiose high speed schemes.
I remember parts of the US before the interstates through cities had been completed, how slow getting through many cities by car happened to be.
The US rail system is like a system of rail interstates with metaphoric stop lights and two line roads through too many cities.