Today’s Headlines for Tuesday, March 20

  • As Amazon Tours Chicago, Mayor Emanuel Goes on the Defensive (Tribune)
  • Northwest Indiana to See Over $1B in Infrastructure Improvements (NWI.com)
  • Annual Midwest High Speed Rail Meeting This Weekend (MHSRA)
  • Take a Look at the Fully Renovated Theater on the Lake (Crain’s)
  • Old Milwaukee Rail Tracks Pose Risks to Cyclists (Urban Milwaukee)
  • Amtrak Quietly Ends Student and AAA Member Discounts (Tribune)
  • We’re About to Have a Lot More Senior Drivers on the Road (Tribune)
  • F. Hayek 69

    High speed rail is a complete waste of money, just look at California. Billions and billions in taxpayer money wasted with no end in sight. Airplanes already exist people!

  • Chicagoan

    Why does it work so well in Europe and Japan?

  • Tooscrapps

    Air travel is miserable. HSR works for many routes, those generally under 400 miles. In Europe, HSR has driven airlines out of many short haul markets.

  • Tooscrapps

    “America will never be Europe! We’re special!” Blah, blah, blah…

  • Jeremy

    Europe and Japan also have universal health care and paid family leave. Why would we want to be like them?

  • Random_Jerk

    Distances between major cities in Europe are much shorter in Europe. Train stations are usually located in the middle of the cities, well connected to the local public transportation, easy to access. Europeans invested a lot into the rail making it efficient and great way to travel. I feel like in US trains have negative stigma. It’s the poor man’s way to travel long distance, many people don’t even consider it.

  • Tooscrapps

    HSR makes sense for a lot of corridors in the US though.

  • Jared Kachelmeyer

    Ever look at the price of a sleeper car? Or consider the fact that a family of four would have to shell out $200 to take a RT from Chicago to Milwaukee.

  • Tooscrapps

    It’s actually $150. And yes, cross country sleeper cars are expensive, but that’s not what HSR is for.

  • david vartanoff

    Because the governments in question insist on making it work as opposed to the US where for 40+ years zeroing out Amtrak has been a yearly conservative plan. Despite the naysayers, Amtrak’s Acela has the majority of the combined air-rail market between DC and NY.

  • Jared Kachelmeyer

    Didn’t realize children were a bit cheaper.

  • Jared Kachelmeyer

    Looked up prices and it looks like it costs about four times as much and saves only half an hour, yet it looks sold out for tomorrow.

  • Tooscrapps

    Sold out probably because of the Nor’easter on the way.

    A non-stop LGA-DCA (two of the closets airports to the cities) on a Monday, 4/23 is about $290 vs $168 for Acela. Factor in getting to the airport and security, the time is roughly the same, plus add $40 for a cab from LGA to Manhattan. Obviously there are a lot of variables, but the Acela is generally full for a reason.

  • Jared Kachelmeyer

    I was looking at a random date a few months away and I think the northeast regional was $49 and I think Acela was closer to $200, it obviously goes between the same two points but there really wasn’t a huge time difference.

  • Tooscrapps

    Oh sorry, I thought you meant vs air!

  • Cameron Puetz

    The distances aren’t as different as people think. The highly successful Paris to Lyon train is 391km, without any other major cities on the route. Chicago to St. Paul is 417km, with the potential to pick up ridership in Milwaukee and Madison.

  • Random_Jerk

    I don’t think demand for Chicago-St.Paul is the same as for Paris-Lyon.
    I think HSR makes more sense on the East or West Coast. Midwest is just too spread out. There are no cities within 400km from Chicago that would make investment in HSR profitable/sustainable. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to jump on the train have a drink and be in Detroit or St. Paul in 4h or less, but I don’t see it viable.

  • rohmen

    I have a friend who makes the Chicago to Detroit trip around four times a year to visit family. He use to do the train, but given the freight priority impact, stopped after a couple massively delayed trips. He’d go back to train if it was consistent and faster.

    Purely anecdotal, but I doubt it’s far off the mark in terms of a lot of people from Detroit area who live here now. There would be demand for Chicago to places like St Louis, Detroit, and the Twin Cities at a minimum.

  • Tooscrapps

    Chicago/Minneapolis metros have about the same combined populations as Paris/Lyon. Granted Paris is far more prominent than Chicago. But add in Madison and Milwaukee, I certainly think it would be a productive route.

  • Cameron Puetz

    What makes you think that a Chicago-Twin Cities train wouldn’t have a similar level of demand? The train would cover a similar distance, over similar terrain, so similar travel times would be obtainable. Paris-Lyon is only a 2 hour trip, so a substantially slower train would still hit your 4 hour target. The Chicago metro is slightly smaller than Paris, while the Twin Cities metro is substantially larger than Lyon. Add in the intermediate metros (Milwaukee and Madison) and there’s a large population of potential riders. Currently Chicago-Twin Cities has 38 flights, 1 train, and 8 buses per day, so there is a demand for connectivity.

  • planetshwoop

    If your real goal is cutting wasteful spending, please aim it towards highways, which also have billions and billions of taxpayer money wasted with no end in sight! Or the poor job resurfacing, or salt contracts, or…

    HSR does a more efficient job of capturing the externalities than cars or airports. Is it possible that some capacity would free up at O’Hare if HSR existed, cutting some of the costs of the airport expansion?

  • planetshwoop

    I’ve not taken either, but suspect at least part of it is customer discrimination. Charging $200 is possible and profitable for business travelers, of which there are surely enough to justify the service.

  • planetshwoop

    Don’t forget O’Hare! Putting HSR at the airport would make it more viable.