To petition the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to immediately acquire the land and build the infrastructure necessary for the operation of a true "Asian-European type" electric high speed rail (HSR) bullet train from downtown Chicago to downtown New York City (connecting over 15 major US cities ultimately). Research suggests this and only this new alignment has the greatest HSR transport consequential impact in the USA; it also being a natural next progression of the popular Northeast HSR Corridor (NEC).
To also make it, the most significant US HSR alignment (about 700 miles from Chicago/Great Lakes Corridor to Philadelphia/Northeast Corridor), a priority above and beyond all other HSR lines proposed or under construction in the US because of it being ultimately serviceable by over 1/3 of the US population. Lastly, this HSR railroad alignment is part and parcel of the many efforts going forward for the eventual US virtue of finally ridding itself of its intense generational very expensive oil (transport fuel) addiction.
The old paradigm of passenger trains using freight railroad’s right of way, or incrementally only higher speed rail projects of 500 miles or less only, and diesel locomotive power, is over. People (voters) want valid world-class 220 mph high speed rail (HSR) systems connecting major cities using sustainable, responsible technologies, such as electric HSR systems worldwide do.
Americans also want now what's being accomplished around the world for decades in this exciting new worthwhile endeavor, investment and mode. Bona fide “world class” cities have real HSR yet Chicago has none, and certainly nothing that would attract global passengers accustomed to fast train travel.
The Great Lakes-Keystone-Northeast Main “true” HSR line proposal offers a transportation alternative to the residents in the high traffic areas of Illinois, India, Ohio, Michigan, New York-New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, with 120 eventual individual major city pairings. By the way, there are thousands of daily commercial intercity flights amongst these very states (cities) right now burning millions of gallons of oil!
Upgrades, repairs, and better efforts are necessary, of course, for the already functioning but serviceable conventional radial Amtrak routes emanating from Chicago as requested by the present Midwest intercity passenger rail plans.
However, California, the Northeast, and other regions of the world (even China and Russia) have “true” bullet train/HSR systems, plans or lines under construction. Other states that have financially supported Amtrak all along should be rewarded for that and participate in the new HSR initiatives.
Furthermore, the logistics of this new alignment connects 100 million more people than California's present HSR plans. True electric HSR, when applied properly, is a superior substitute for gas guzzling polluting airplanes, and is a key green part of the necessary diversification of transportation energy (like electric/hybrid cars, alternate transport fuels, etc) needed to reduce oil dependency. Presently 70% of oil use is for transportation/liquid fuels such as gasoline and jet fuel)
As for energy overall: coal is for electricity, natural gas is for heating, but oil is primarily for transportation and also some heating, plastics and chemicals products. Wind, solar, hydro/water, and nuclear powers are also for electricity - the US has plenty of varied electricity energy capacity to run trains/transportation of all sorts for a long long time!
Justification of a dedicated HSR/Bullet Train between Chicago and Philadelphia
The HSR Great Lakes Corridor (www.nychicagorr.org) to the Northeast Corridor
This is a concept for an exciting, strategic and practical high speed rail/HSR “bullet train” project. True HSR is the electric HSR design-system applied that uses both “dedicated” and existing infrastructures and rail track-ROW(rights of way). The energy/economic, security, and transportation/health rationales for this new, dedicated mode would mostly be for servicing the states of Illinois through to New York/ New Jersey, connecting the cities of Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York. Detroit and Cincinnati/Ohio can be individual HSR/TGV line origin-destination points (total linked US HSR systems state populations are over 150 million, about 1/2 of the US population).
Extra states would benefit by their HSR link to Acela/Northeast corridor/(NEC) service or by other modes to any city HSR station, including ones connected already to Chicago by conventional trains. The overall population reach serviced by both the GL and NEC HSR systems combined is well over 170 million people in 18 states- 3 times the French HSR/TGV population source! Philadelphia would be the logistic hub where Great Lakes HSR corridor trains would meet the Northeast HSR corridor and either terminate there or continue on, alternating either northbound to NYC/Boston or southbound to Baltimore/Washington DC; or, even perhaps east to Atlantic City/the Atlantic Ocean.
The Great Lakes Corridor HSR mode could carry in excess of 40 million passengers a year, drawing travelers from air and bus but mostly automobile modes in addition to acquiring induced new travelers. Over its very long functional life, the properties of the system and large initial capital investments would prove to be very productive/efficient. Relative past costs and subsidies of the above mentioned cities’ air transport, interstates and highways were far more expensive than what this new route’s would be in contrast.
40 million passengers a year is equivalent to about 1/3 of commercial aviation enplanements in the Great Lakes/Northeast corridor cities of the over 600 million annual domestic enplanements in the US. In Japan(pop. 120 million) HSR usage is over 130 million trips a year; in France (pop. 55 million) HSR usage is over 30 million trips a year.
This proposal is apt to be very unpopular with air and road transportation related industries/lobbies (9 of the 10 largest companies worldwide either produces autos or petroleum products); nevertheless, it should not be since additional railroad capacity alleviates some of their modes’ problems also. Hopefully progress and logic will prevail and this new transportation mode can develop and thrive despite other interests.
ECONOMIC REASONS: (only 2% of world oil reserves are in the US, HSR transport is all electric using domestic coal and other domestic energy resources)
The new system linking to the Northeast corridor/NEC interconnects more than 20 culture rich cities; 7 of the 10 largest and most important in the US. The new line would travel from Great Lakes cities through the Allegheny Mountains on to Philadelphia, New York City, Washington DC
and the rest of the Northeast HSR(NEC/Acela) cities.
There would be new job creation generated by construction and then for continual operation and maintenance of the route(also, more good CBD/downtown jobs). Rider ship levels should reach and exceed the levels of the French TGV ultimately. The French TGV, with over 30 million annual trips, has revenues of about $3 billion a year.
With possible revenues of $4 billion or more a year, the large investment in this line’s infrastructure and train sets would be paid for realistically within several years time, similar to the French TGV experience with their revenue streams financing and funding.
This new HSR route would augment and strengthen AMTRAK abilities and potential elsewhere on complementary routes and that of the Northeast corridor/Acela. Acela/NEC HSR utilization continues to grow and is AMTRAK’S most profitable and popular route.
This travel mode would enhance cities’ CBDs and integrated rail developments there. Proposed connected cities; Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburg, and Philadelphia have and are expanding upon their own internal transit rail systems-cities not entirely reliant on autos!
SECURITY REASONS (True HSR trains could evacuate an entire large city in 1-2 days!)
The airline transportation mode is more favored for terrorist attacks(hijackings, bombings, sabotage, poisonings etc.) Assaults are not as likely or as catastrophic with this transportation
mode-insurance companies and the public would welcome this.
This new mode of transport would not call for the necessary extreme expense and trouble of security systems and additional equipment like the airline mode requires.
In the advent of an airspace shutdown again or bad weather the HSR corridors would serve as another travel alternative to air/road travel in the northeast US and Great Lakes.
MOBILITY/HEALTH REASONS (True HSR<10% the energy use of like air travel)
Tragic and extremely costly, about 50,000 people die and tens of thousands more are permanently disabled yearly from roadway related accidents (less driving=less deaths). Hundreds more people are killed and severely injured yearly in plane crashes too. In France and Japan, HSR has not had a passenger fatality in over 70 years combined. 100s of people and billions of $s could be saved by using HSR in lieu of personal vehicles and aircraft.
Most HSR right of way/ROW-infrastructure could be built adjacent to existing highways and railroad lines for environmental considerations and land use purposes (aircraft and road vehicles are much greater noise, air and land polluters).
Over 1/3 of all Americans don’t like to fly, therefore leaving long, congesting, costly and hazardous auto/bus modes or intricate AMTRAK schedules as their only alternatives.
Airport traffic creates more pollutions/congestions around large population centers. There are a total of 8 potential congestion adding auto trips to and from airports to pickup and drop-off a flyer at both destinations. Combination rail/walking travel modes are much healthier and more beneficial to the customary airplane/automobile modes.
This new dedicated HSR line would travel the 700 mile Chicago to Philadelphia length in 4-5 hours at 186+ mph speeds(which approaches short jet plane trip speeds) with only 3 stops in between (Cleveland, Pittsburg, and Harrisburg). Continuing on to DC, NYC or Atlantic City would add another 1-2 hours to the total overall trip departing the Chicago/Gary station eastbound. HSR is an obvious alternative to new airports!
This mode of travel would be especially relaxing and enjoyable. The ability to personally move about, enjoy sights (especially in Pennsylvania), work, talk, eat and rest in a hassle-free, safe vehicle like a bullet train is truly unsurpassed. Indeed, elderly and ADA citizens would prefer this transport option to auto, bus and airplane travel also.
BENEFITS TO INDIVIDUAL STATES (reduces airports’ congestions also) (connected cities CBDs will gain significant tourist, business, and personal trip activity)
The west end balance of the line, linking the Chicago central business district (CBD) to 100 million + people. Chicago is positioned to reach another 30 million connecting travelers by all modes from adjoining states to it’s system stations. Moreover, the line reduces the need for airport expansions as well as easing roadway congestions as well!
Gary, IN; the US geographic transport pinch point that filters most modes’ traffic east and west. Gary/Chicago airport/region development and more use of the South Shore/IC Railroad infrastructure. The suburban Gary/Chicago station would have multi-modal connections; airlines, commuter and HSR rail and major interstate highways.
(HSR has a dual purpose as transit trains in Cincinnati and Detroit)
The midpoint of the corridor between Chicago and Philadelphia with additional connections originating from Detroit and also Columbus and Cincinnati into Cleveland.
Economic development of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia CBDs and connecting through the state capitol of Harrisburg which is also positioned in the state’s mountain resort areas along with many other tourist attractions. The advantages of two US HSR systems.
*Transportation is the leading cause of accidental and child deaths-each costing millions!
**This system would be a prudent, comfortable and safe mode of essential mobility that half the US could access, utilize and appreciate-a vital investment. The US should embrace developing and engineering this efficient, alternative transportation technology.