Fed Rail Upgrade May Skip New Haven
by Staff | Sep 6, 2012 7:26 am
Posted to: Transportation
The city’s Economic Development Corporation put out a cry for help last week, hoping to rally New Haveners to get the federal government to reconsider a $30 billion railroad overhaul plan that would bypass New Haven. Read on for the letter from the EDC’s Ross Hicks:
As you are well aware, one of New Haven’s major economic strengths lies in the City’s intercity and commuter rail services provided by Metro-North, Amtrak and Shoreline East. Recently, the Federal Railroad Administration, which administers high speed rail projects and oversees Amtrak service, announced a 30-year, $151 billion investment proposal. When complete, this investment will provide reliable and more frequent intercity rail service between Boston and Washington, DC. However, the FRA intends to analyze (and Amtrak supports) a new rail line alignment, which would run from New York to Danbury, Hartford, Providence and Boston. The proposal essentially is to create a high speed route that bypasses New Haven, Stamford and Bridgeport – three of the state’s major economic centers.
The City is very concerned about any route which skips New Haven and they strongly encourage you to write a letter to the FRA to provide your thoughts about this matter. Comments are due by September 14, 2012. You may comment online at http://www.necfuture.com/get_engaged/ or by formal letter addressed to Rebecca Reyes-Alicea, USDOT, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Railroad Policy and Development, Mail Stop 20, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590.
Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter,
The EDC Team
For more information, please contact Ross Hicks at (203) 785-1000 or email@example.com
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Let’s not be parochial and short-sighted.
1. High speed rail is very loud and must entirely straight. It will require cutting through neighborhoods like the highways did fifty years ago and no one will want to live right next to it. Towns in California are dealing with this now. Let it go through Danbury; no one plans on cutting Amtrak Regional service and its good enough, at least to get to New York or Hartford to make a connection. If you’re worried about this, get guarantees to keep current levels of Regional Service or to improve service to Hartford; don’t try getting HSR through our town.
2. In the greater scheme of things, New Haven is not all that important. This is a multi-billion dollar project to connect Boston and New York. New Haven does not get create enough traffic to justify changing the course of the trains. Most trains probably wouldn’t even stop here. And I like I said, this new route should not replace existing Amtrak Regional Service.
DD, New Haven is nothing but short sighted and parochial. That made me chuckle. Plus, it’s all about me, me, me.
I used to work for the New Haven RR, and it was a generally accepted fact the old “Airline Route” was superior to the Shoreline route, it was straighter, shorter and best of all, had potential passengers on both sides of the line.
Anyone building our national future would recognize the advantages of the inland route.
The cheapest, most cost-effective and productive route, by far, would be as follows (see the Courant piece on this):
1. DC to NYC
2. NYC to Brooklyn and Queens, and then out Long Island
3. Across Long Island Sound to New Haven
4. New Haven to Hartford (this route is already being built)
5. Hartford to Boston (Providence is irrelevant)
DD is right about #1. And NIMBYs in Westchester won’t put up with the inland/airline route. Plus the cost of construction is intolerable in today’s economy.
Amtrak is basically committed to the shoreline route that goes through NH (and Providence, another city bypassed in the proposed route.)
If you talking about this,
,the estimates in the Courant say that the Manhattan to Hartford portion (including an 18 mile tunnel below the sound) would cost $20B.
The 31 mile Chunnel cost @$17B (in 2010 dollars) so working off of that, approximately half of the $20B budget would be dedicated to the tunnel, which comprises about 1/3 of that route. I started writing this and calculating to debunk you but I think I might actually believe that estimate.
robn, the NYC-Long Island > tunnel > New Haven-Hartford routes are already pretty straight, and therefore can accommodate HSR without enormous changes.
Upgrading the line from NYC to New Haven via Stamford would be much more challenging, both in terms of cost as well as environmental considerations.
I agree with you that either of these “new” routes may be too expensive, and that simply upgrading the existing route might allow the U.S. to achieve 75% of its end goals while costing about 1/10th as much money.
According to the map, Providence is included regardless of which route is taken through Connecticut.
Gretchen Pritchard: Oops! Yes, the final plan goes through Providence. The original idea was to go through Woonsocket (!) instead.
The whole report is worth perusing. It actually calls for (hoped for!) major improvements on the Shoreline route.