The National Corridors Initiative, Inc.
Destination:Freedom

A Weekly North American Transportation Update

For transportation advocates and professionals, journalists,
and elected or appointed officials at all levels of government

Publisher: James P. RePass      E-Zine Editor: Molly McKay
Foreign Editor: David Beale      Webmaster: Dennis Kirkpatrick

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November 23, 2009
Vol. 10 No. 49

Copyright © 2009
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved
Our 10th Year

Home Page: www.nationalcorridors.org

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IN THIS EDITION...   In This Edition...

  News Items…
Schwarzenegger Spikes Efforts To Improve Commuter Rails
  High-Speed Lines…
A Reality Check On High-Speed Rail For California
U.S. High Speed Rail Association Appoints New President
  Expansion Lines…
L.A. Gold Line Extension Opens With Community Celebrations
  Commuter Lines…
SEPTA Moves Ahead On Extending R3 Rail Line
Metro Transit Celebrates The Arrival Of Northstar
 
  Selected Rail Stocks …
  EVENTS…
Urban Pathways To Liveble Communities
  Stimulus Lines…
Amtrak To Rehab Bridge, SEPTA To Expand Station Parking Lot
  Across The Pond…
Y-Corridor Financing De-Railed
Deutsche Bahn To Participate In Billion-Dollar Project In Qatar
  Off The Main Line…
Railroad Museum Vandalized
  Publication Notes …


NEWS OF THE WEEK... News Items...

Schwarzenegger Spikes Efforts
To Improve Commuter Rails

By Dan Weikel And Eric Bailey Of LA Times And DF Staff

SACRAMENTO, CA, NOVEMBER 13 ---- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, focused on the proposed bullet train between San Francisco and San Diego, quietly drove a spike recently into efforts to win $1.1 billion in federal high-speed rail stimulus funds to improve the heavily traveled commuter rail systems in Southern California.

Advocates who had identified 29 projects to improve the safety, speed and capacity of the commuter rail services are concerned that too much emphasis is being placed on the one big high speed rail project at the expense of the second-busiest rail corridor in the nation, where budget-strapped commuter services have been trying to improve safety, add track, and cut travel times from San Diego to Santa Barbara.

But Schwarzenegger wants his state to be first in the nation with a 200-mph train line, a project that could create up to 130,000 jobs. With 40 other applicants competing for this money, the governor hopes to increase California’s chances of receiving high-speed rail funding.

One very controversial elimination from the application was the $170 million for positive train control -- computer-guided braking systems designed to prevent collisions and allow conventional trains to safely travel at 110 mph. Such a system would have prevented the Metrolink crash in Chatsworth last year that killed 25 people in the worst rail accident in modern California history. The federal government wants these automated systems to be installed by 2015.

Artist concept high-speed-rail drawing

PHOTO - Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley  

State high-speed rail planners hope to receive $4.7 billion in federal stimulus funding and break ground as early as 2011 on a system that will move trains at speeds of 200+ mph. See animated video of trains on the CalTrain corridor at www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/gallery.asp?s=san-francisco-bay
Also removed was $969 million in railroad crossing improvements, track additions, overpasses and a variety of maintenance projects designed to benefit the busy corridor between San Diego and Los Angeles as well as the main rail line through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Improvements are badly needed so that these trains can run at faster speeds.

“I am not happy about it,” said Art Brown, chairman of the government authority that oversees the Los Angeles-San Diego corridor. “There were lots of projects in the application to improve intracity rail service. The system will remain a slow-speed service, and safety has been one of our big concerns.”

The California Department of Transportation’s rail division, which had worked with transportation agencies in Southern California to prepare the application, was ready to submit the paperwork to Washington by the Oct. 2 deadline.

But Schwarzenegger quashed the request and told state officials to only seek $4.7 billion in federal rail stimulus funds for the high-speed train project to bolster its chances of getting funding.

Under the federal economic stimulus plan, about $8 billion is available for high-speed train projects, which can include conventional rail improvements to increase train speeds. The federal Department of Transportation is expected to decide which projects to fund by January.

Planners say the high-speed network would ultimately cost at least $45 billion and stretch nearly 800 miles from San Diego to San Francisco, with a branch running to Sacramento. Trains would exceed 200 mph on some stretches, making it possible to travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco in as little as two hours and 38 minutes.

Members of the California High Speed Rail Authority have been urging the governor to keep the focus on winning funding for the bullet train.

Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle, chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority, approves of the governor’s strategy. He said that state applications for federal money already ask for more than $1 billion for conventional rail projects -- money that would come from a different pool of economic stimulus funds. About a third of the request -- $390 million -- is for rail corridors in Southern California, state records show, he said.

“California is in the lead position to receive high-speed rail funding,” Pringle said in a recent interview. “We should not be competing with ourselves.”

“The governor’s goal was to submit the most highly competitive application possible to ensure that California receives as much funding as possible,” said Camille Anderson, a Schwarzenegger spokeswoman. “California’s competitive edge is without question high-speed rail.”

Critics say that the bullet-train project is years from breaking ground and that important conventional rail improvements that have long awaited funding would again be delayed. The governor “took shovel-ready projects and put them aside,” said Rich Tolmach, president of the California Rail Foundation. “Hundreds of millions of dollars were thrown away. Now these rail projects will not get their fair share of federal stimulus money.”

“We may never get this money now,” said Jim Mills, a former state senator who helped to create commuter rail service between San Diego and Los Angeles. “The lives of rail travelers will be jeopardized by this. One of the major items requested was positive train control, which can prevent the kind of accidents that have occurred on Metrolink.”

However, Richard Katz, a former assemblyman who sits on the boards of Metrolink, California High-Speed Rail and Metropolitan Transportation Authority, was more optimistic. He said that conventional rail projects, such as positive train control, would not be jeopardized by the governor’s concentration on high-speed rail, that Metrolink, which serves six counties, needs roughly $200 million to install positive train control by 2012 and efforts are already under way to obtain at least $167 million.

If positive train control cannot get enough federal or state funding, Katz said he believes the MTA would lend Metrolink the money.

“We are still in good shape overall,” Katz said. “We’re applying for everything we can get our hands on. I think we will do well in all our funding requests.”


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HIGH-SPEED LINES... High-Speed Lines...  

A Reality Check On High-Speed Rail For California

From UC Berkeley Newsbits

California is hoping to receive $4.7 billion in federal stimulus funding so construction can start as early as 2011 on a system that will move trains at speeds of 200+ mph.

“In November 2008, California voters passed a $9.95-billion bond issue to build a bullet train that would zip passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles via the Central Valley at speeds up to 220 miles per hour,” reports staffer Christine Cosgrove for Berkeley Research & Engineering News.

Then the Obama administration came out with an offer of $10 billion for HSR projects, and California anticipates receiving a good chunk of that money. “Clearly, many Americans-sick of congested roads or padding shoeless through long security lines at airports-are smitten with the romance of the rails,” writes Cosgrove.

Critics are coming out of the woodwork urging caution. At a symposium at UC Berkeley last month, Samer Madanat, director of Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies and CEE professor, raised issues of connectivity, ridership, and environmental impact.

“If it is built, it will be the largest infrastructure transportation project in the U.S. since the Interstate was constructed beginning more than a half century ago,” Madanat said. “It is a complex endeavor and requires a complex understanding of the engineering, economic and environmental issues.”

Ridership might only be 8 million passengers a year, not anywhere near the numbers projected by the CA HSR Authority, said Madanat, who based his numbers on present day air passengers and drivers that travel between the L.A. basin and San Francisco Bay area.

HSR would be extremely unlikely to capture most current air travelers due to lack of transportation connectivity in most California cities and regions.

“In Europe and Japan, where HSR has been especially successful, it is a very simple thing to take a subway to the HSR station, go upstairs and get on the bullet train,” explained Madanat. For example, access to Eurostar-the HSR system that passes under the English Channel to link Britain with mainland Europe-is easy and car-less; a typical business passenger traveling from London arrives in downtown Paris in two-and-a-half hours and can walk or take the Métro from the same station to his or her meeting. This connectivity, or short access and egress time, is essential to the success of high-speed rail, and California has very little of it.

“Unlike Japan and parts of Europe that are more highly urbanized and linked through better mass transit, pulling ridership from the roads and the skies will be tougher in California. And that has environmental consequences,” Madanat said.

Environmental concerns were raised by panelist Arpad Hovath, also a CEE professor, who said that unless ridership is very high, rail cannot perform better than air travel. To compare the carbon footprint of rail with air or driving, he explained, far more than just tailpipe emissions must be taken into account. A life-cycle analysis which includes pollution generated by construction of the line and the coal-fired plants that will generate electricity to run the trains also must be counted.

Despite big challenges, the state can ultimately benefit from high-speed rail, panelists said. Carlos Daganzo, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, noted that even though subsidies will be required, as demand grows and ridership increases, costs for high-speed rail will decline, whereas costs for road travel increase with demand.

Although none would describe high-speed rail as a “silver bullet” to solve the state’s transportation woes, a bullet train could encourage cities to improve public transportation and create greater density. “It could instigate a positive feedback cycle that will provide more complete mobility for Californians in the future,” Daganzo added.


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U.S. High Speed Rail Association
Appoints New President

Transportation Veteran, Eric C. Peterson, To Lead Association’s Efforts
To Advance A National High Speed Rail System In The America

Editor’s note:
The Global Traveler Has A Sobering Comment On The Level Of Funding Needed For A National High Speed Rail System:

High-Speed Rail Plans

Funding is scarce for a 17,000-mile national high-speed rail network. According to the Eric Peterson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. High Speed Rail Association, the network would cost $600 billion, a far cry from the $8 billion provided by Congress in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. At a conference last summer, several members of Congress and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell rallied for differing levels of funding for the project. Momentum in Congress is growing for high-speed rail funding. Suggestions included federal contributions of $5 billion or more over the course of 10 years or the creation of a national infrastructure bank to finance the project. A bill pending in the House Transportation Committee would fund 80 percent of the costs, with 20 percent coming from state and local budgets.

WASHINGTON, DC, NOVEMBER 20 – The US High Speed Rail Association (USHSR) today announced that Eric C. Peterson will join its team as President, effective Nov. 18, 2009. Peterson, a 20-year industry veteran of transportation issues and policy management, will lead USHSR’s efforts to advance a state-of-the-art national high speed rail (HSR) system in America.

Mr. Peterson brings a strong background in executive management and transportation, having served as Deputy Administrator for the Research & Innovative Technology Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Executive Director for the Landowners Economic Alliance for the Dulles Extension of Rail (LEADER) and most recently as Executive Director for the Rural Cellular Association.

“I am delighted to welcome Eric to the US High Speed Rail Association,” said Lewis J. Goetz, Chairman of the US High Speed Rail Association. “This is a critical time for HSR in America, and Mr. Peterson’s unique background and business acumen, coupled with his strong understanding of transportation issues will be an invaluable asset to this effort and to the future of transportation in America.”

“High Speed Rail will be the next great revolution for the United State,” said Eric C. Peterson. “Virtually every aspect of the American economic, environmental and energy future could be positively affected by the development and implementation of HSR. USHSR is positioned to support this exciting and important revolution,” Peterson said.

With Mr. Peterson’s expertise, the Association will continue its work to unify all advocacy efforts that promote a comprehensive national high-speed rail network.

As a non-partisan thought-leader, USHSR provides and coordinates research and information sharing among all stakeholders dedicated to high speed rail. This collaboration includes rail corridor associations, federal, state and local government decision-makers and other interested individuals and organizations. The Association also provides assistance and support at the local and state level through events, outreach and public awareness campaigns. USHSR works to mobilize popular support for HSR initiatives at all levels, especially at the grass roots.

The Association’s recent conference, High Speed Rail 2009: Bringing High-Speed Rail to America, was a shining example of the momentum for HSR that has taken root in America. This two-day conference drew nearly 300 attendees from more than 20 states and 10 countries to hear from 40 of the industry’s leading experts, thought leaders, elected officials and USHSR founders on recent developments and planning for the future of HSR.

For more information on the conference and upcoming USHSR events, please visit the Association’s new and improved website at www.ushsr.com. The upgraded site provides visitors with a variety of resources that include on demand industry news and an industry-wide calendar of events. The website also provides visitors with the option to subscribe to our newsletter, On Board, a monthly look at HSR newsmakers, association news and a transportation forum to showcase local and regional efforts nationwide.

The US High Speed Rail Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization whose members are dedicated to creating and sustaining a clean and energy-efficient advanced national high speed rail system in the United States. It was founded in June 2009.


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EXPANSION LINES... Expansion Lines...  

L.A. Gold Line Extension Opens With Community Celebrations

By David Peter Alan

The nation’s newest transit start became reality on Sunday, November 8, when the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) opened the six-mile Gold Line Extension to East Los Angeles for revenue service.  The pre-revenue testing that began on October 4th had gone smoothly, and the line was now open for revenue service.

Metro has been operating light rail service from Union Station to Pasadena since 2004; the same year construction began on the portion of the line that opened last Sunday.  The line now operates between Pasadena and East L.A. through Union Station, where connections are available to Metro’s Red and Purple Line subways, MetroLink commuter trains and Amtrak.

There are eight stations on the new line, two in a 1.7-mile tunnel and the rest at ground level.  Station design and art have been coordinated to harmonize with the neighborhoods which the stations serve, including a depiction of a Zen archery bow at the Little Tokyo/Arts District station, symbols of Mexican culture at the Mariachi Plaza Station and a depiction of California poppies at the East L.A. Civic Center Station.

Community leaders hailed the new line, which connects a neighborhood of predominately Mexican heritage with Downtown.  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that the opening of service to East L.A. capped a 20-year battle to bring rail transit back to the neighborhood.  He and other elected leaders noted that the last time rail transit ran on First Street, the route of the new line, was fifty years ago.  Until that time, Pacific Electric streetcars provided service to East L.A. and many other neighborhoods and towns in the region.  The once-massive Pacific Electric system was dismantled line by line during the 1940s and 50s. 

Metro celebrated Sunday’s opening by offering free rides on both portions of the Gold Line; both the new line and the line to Pasadena.  The neighborhoods celebrated with festivities at Union Station, Little Tokyo/Arts District Station (including Japanese art and dance), East L.A. Civic Center Station and Mariachi Plaza.  The latter location featured a mariachi music festival.

The line cost $898 million to build and was completed without a single lost-time accident, a fact that drew praise from Metro CEO Art Leahy.  Leahy said that a “golden age for transit in Los Angeles” is coming, and the facts support his assertion.  East L.A. now joins Long Beach and Pasadena as destinations that can be reached by light rail.  There are also subway lines, the Green Line light rail and an extensive commuter rail network on Metro Link.  In addition, the Expo Line to Westside L.A. is under construction, and the other end of the Gold Line will be extended in a few years.  Mayor Villaraigosa hopes to see the Foothill Gold Line Extension from Pasadena to Azusa open in 2013.

Metro does not have ridership figures for the first week of revenue service yet, but the agency hopes to carry 13,000 daily riders on weekdays by the end of the first year of operation.  Transit advocates have often reported that actual ridership exceeded the transit provider’s projections.   

The Los Angeles Times reported that 75,000 riders showed up for the free rides offered on Sunday, while expressing concern that the new line would not perform up to Metro’s expectations.  The Times also reported that Bart Reed, Executive Director of the Transit Coalition, called the region’s transit system “a work in progress,” and that he expects ridership to improve as people become attracted to rail transit.

Like the lines to Long Beach and Pasadena, the line to East L.A. was busy during the historic Pacific Electric days.  Local transit advocates expect history to repeat itself.  Since new rail starts are often successful, and Angelinos appear happy to have rail transit again, there appears to be good reason for their expectations.


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COMMUTER LINES... Commuter Lines...  

SEPTA Moves Ahead On Extending R3 Rail Line

From Philly.Com By Paul Nussbaum And DF Staff

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, PA - NOVEMBER 20 -- SEPTA took another step toward restoring rail service to Wawa in Delaware County with approval yesterday of nine property easements necessary for the construction.

SEPTA plans to spend about $100 million to extend the R3 line three miles from Elwyn to Wawa and to build a new railcar storage yard. The new Wawa station will have a parking lot with 600 spaces; it is designed to ease overcrowding at the Media and Elwyn stations.

Service to Wawa, which was halted in 1982 is expected to be restored by the end of 2013. Population growth in western Delaware County and southern Chester County prompted the project.

The SEPTA board yesterday authorized $47,315 for easements on private property adjoining the rail line. The land will be used during construction.

Background

In 1997, Delaware County Council formally requested that SEPTA restore passenger rail service on three miles of the R3 line from Elwyn to Wawa.  This would reduce traffic congestion on Routes 1 and 352 in Middletown Township, provide more parking spaces for train riders, and improve access to jobs in western Delaware County.  In 2000, SEPTA completed a feasibility study for this service that determined that the service is feasible, would result in about 700 additional daily passenger trips and over 500 new parking spaces at two new stations, and would require a capital cost of approximately $40 million and an annual operating cost of approximately $1 million.  Transportation planning staff served on the study’s advisory committee.  SEPTA began engineering work in 2005 and anticipates advancing to construction in 2010.

Wawa is notorious for having numerous accidents on U.S. Highway 1 (which runs through the area) at the approach to the R3 underpass, whose main feature is a sharp, downhill curve known to locals as “Dead Man’s Curve.” An unconfirmed story states that in 1920 Babe Ruth was involved in an automobile accident in this location. He and all of the occupants of the car were ejected, but all escaped serious injury. In 1999, five girls who were juniors at the local high school were killed in a high-speed (the road was posted at 55 mph) head-on collision with a tree at the curve. The principal cause was speeding, along with the girls being under the influence of an inhaled substance (electronics dusting spray), a phenomenon known as “huffing.” The story of the accident was aired on ABC News 20/20 in 2000.


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Metro Transit Celebrates The Arrival
Of Northstar

From Internet Sources

Metro Transit introduced commuter rail to the Twin Cities metropolitan area Nov. 16 - opening 10 weeks ahead of schedule - and $10 million under budget. It began revenue service that morning on the 40-mile line between Big Lake and downtown Minneapolis by providing 1,207 rides.

“Today was a good beginning to a service that has been nearly 13 years in the making,” said Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb. “With speeds up to 79 mph, Northstar offers a fast trip and, more importantly, a consistent trip - 51 minutes end-to-end regardless of weather and nearby road congestion. Northstar provides a viable alternative to driving alone in a car.”

The transit agency posted staff members at each of the six Northstar stations - Big Lake, Elk River, Anoka, Coon Rapids/Riverdale, Fridley and Target Field in Minneapolis - to help customers become acquainted with the new service.

Each train consists of a locomotive and four passenger cars, with seating for about 140 per car. The passenger cars have three seating levels, worktables, electrical outlets, and an on-board restroom. Further, every car can accommodate two bicycles and is fully accessible for persons with disabilities.

Northstar schedules five morning rush-hour trips to Minneapolis and five trips home in the afternoon, as well as one reverse-commute trip. The line operates three round trips on Saturdays and Sundays.

Upon their arrival at Target Field Station, passengers can make easy connections to Metro Transit’s Hiawatha Light Rail Line (which has been extended four blocks to ease transfers between the two systems) and to regional bus routes for rides to their final destinations.

In conjunction with the launch of Northstar service, St. Cloud Metro Bus in St. Cloud, MN, at the north end of the commuter rail line, inaugurated NorthstarLink commuter bus service between St. Cloud and the Big Lake Station.

Minnesota DOT designed and built the $317 million Northstar project, which is owned by the Metropolitan Council and managed by Metro Transit, an operating division of the council.

Weekend Celebrations

Prior to the introduction of regular service, the six Northstar stations opened their doors Nov. 14 for public events organized by the local communities, featuring speeches, entertainment, displays, and information on how to take public transportation. Approximately 3,500 people at the five suburban stations then boarded non-stop trains to Target Field Station.

On Nov. 13, the Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) brought together public officials including Federal Transit Administrator Peter M. Rogoff; Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Al Franken (D-MN) for the inaugural ride on the line. Guests also observed the historic connection of Northstar and Hiawatha lines at the Minneapolis Transportation Interchange, adjacent to Target Field.

In his remarks, Oberstar jokingly termed the new line “a moral issue” because it will decrease the number of times frustrated drivers swear at the traffic congestion.

Northstar service locomotive at the ready

Northstar locomotive at the ready.

[ Ed Note: NCI extends its thanks to NCI Board member Doug Alexander for bringing this to our attention. ]


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STOCKS...  Selected Rail Stocks...

Source: MarketWatch.com

   This
Week
Previous
Week
Burlington Northern & Santa Fe(BNI)98.1097.97
Canadian National (CNI)53.9054.33
Canadian Pacific (CP)49.2748.82
CSX (CSX)48.6248.95
Genessee & Wyoming (GWR)32.1832.47
Kansas City Southern (KSU)28.3728.92
Norfolk Southern (NSC)51.4051.67
Providence & Worcester (PWX)11.3511.85
Union Pacific (UNP)65.0563.55


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EVENTS... Events...

Urban Pathways To
Liveable Communities

Building Partnerships For
Healthy Neighborhoods

Feb. 25 & 26, 2010
New Orleans, LA

Click Here For
More Information


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STIMULUS LINES... Stimulus Lines...  

Amtrak To Rehab Bridge, SEPTA To Expand
Station Parking Lot

Forwarded To D:F By Kevin Brubaker, Deputy Director
Environmental Law & Policy Center In Chicago (
www.elpc.org)

BRONX, NY, NOVEMBER 20 --By month’s end, Amtrak plans to begin rehabilitating the Pelham Bay Bridge, which is located along the Northeast Corridor in the Bronx, N.Y.

Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the $10 million project calls for strengthening and repairing the more than 100-year-old bridge’s piers, piles, abutments and foundations that support the tracks, transmission lines and catenary wires.

Pelham RR bridge over Hutchinson River, NY

Photo: Flickr.com and User jag9889

An Acela Express passes over the Pelham Bay Bridge on the Hutchinson River

To be completed by October 2010, the project will make the bridge more reliable and reduce maintenance on the structure, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement. The bridge accommodates 43 passenger trains and two freight trains each weekday, and opens about 10 times daily for marine traffic.

Amtrak is undertaking other projects to maintain and improve its New York-area infrastructure, including repairs to six additional bridges on the Empire Line, and painting and maintenance work on the Bronx Kill Bridge along the Northeast Corridor.

Meanwhile, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is launching its own ARRA-funded project. The agency plans to expand parking facilities at the Elwyn station.

To be completed in summer 2010, the $900,000 project calls for expanding the current parking lot’s capacity from 233 to more than 300 parking spaces. The project involves concrete, grading, signage, electrical and paving work.


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ACROSS THE POND... Across The Pond...  

By David Beale
NCI Foreign Correspondent
 

Y-Corridor Financing De-Railed

Germany’s Finance Minister Slams The Brakes On New Rail Corridor

Via HAZ Newspaper

Hannover – Perhaps the largest rail infrastructure project in decades in northern Germany suffered a major set-back when Germany’s conservative finance / treasury secretary Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU political party) rejected an application for € 20 million (US $29 million) federal grant for design engineering and planning of the proposed “Y” corridor project. The Y-corridor, a proposed set of new rail lines between Hannover, Hamburg and Bremen, is so named due to its resemblance to the letter Y.

Mr. Schäuble apparently rejected the request for funding because “he has some fundamental concerns” about the project, according to parliamentary general secretary for transportation, Mr. Enak Ferlemann. He added that, “the Y-corridor is absolutely necessary and still enjoys high priority.”

View looking north along the Langenhagen - Walsrode - Buchholz “Heidebahn” in January 2009 from the  Bennemühlen train station

Photo: David Beale

Y-not? View looking north along the Langenhagen - Walsrode - Buchholz “Heidebahn” in January 2009 from the Bennemühlen train station in Wedemark township, about 30 km north of Hannover - one of the likey places for the new / expanded “Y-corridor” rail project. The electrification currently ends a few hundred meters north of the Bennemühlen station, this rail line is mostly single track (with passing sidings in most stations) starting at a point about 10 km south of this station on the town line between Langenhagen and Wedemark township all the way to Buchholz in the outer suburbs of Hamburg - nearly 125 km (78 miles) from Bennemühlen. The VT 628 DMU train-set (on the left in the photo) is ready to depart for Buchholz on its run from Hannover.

The design and planning phase is forecast to cost approximated € 55 million, with € 20 million from Deutsche Bahn AG, € 20 million from the German federal government and € 15 million from the state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen). With the loss for the time being of € 20 million for the planning phase, the project goes more or less on work-stop for the short term.

Mr. Scäuble stated that he expected that Deutshce Bahn AG should put up the additional € 20 million for the planning phase and that the federal government would reimburse DBAG € 20 million upon completion of planning and design. Several transportation experts noted that this approach contradicts past procedures and experience with other major rail projects in Germany. Mr. Schäuble’s action is the latest of new policy statements and actions at the federal level which indicate a more hardened stance towards providing government investment in transportation infrastructure. The new conservative coalition between the CDU and FDP has placed the transportation industry in Germany on notice that they will have to do more to finance their own growth via private and commercial markets instead of reliance of funding from the government.

The Y-corridor project envisions either all new electrified double-track rail lines, or upgrades/ expansion of an existing mostly non-electrified single track regional rail lines between Hannover and Walsrode, Soltau, Bremen and Buchholz (Hamburg) known as the Heidebahn, or combination of both. The new Y-corridor is suppose to be finished and ready for operation by the end of this decade in order to cope with ever larger volumes of rail freight as well as the start of operations at the new Jade Port shipping terminal near Wilhelmshaven. The main goal is to free-up capacity on the existing Hannover – Hamburg and Hannover – Bremen rail lines for more passenger trains, where ridership increases in the past decade have tested the capacity of these routes.


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Deutsche Bahn To Participate In Billion-Dollar Project In Qatar

Via Börsennews

New Urban Commuter Rail Network, Rail Freight Line And High Speed Passenger Trains To Come To Persian Gulf State.

Doha – Deutsche Bahn – German Railways – will assist the Gulf emirate of Qatar in a multi-billion dollar project to develop an urban commuter rail system, rail freight corridors and a high-speed passenger rail line via its division DB International. The company signed an agreement today (22nd November) with the Qatari government.

DB International will own a 49% share of the new Qatar-based company charged with implementing the € 17 billion (US $24 billion) set of rail infrastructure projects. Elsewhere around the Gulf several other states are in the middle of building or planning new large-scale rail projects including the UAE and Saudi Arabia. A state of the art passenger and rail freight network is in the early development stages in the oil and natural gas rich Persian Gulf.


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OFF THE MAIN LINE... Off The Main Line...  

Railroad Museum Vandalized

By David Owens Hartford Courant & DF Staff

WILLIMANTIC - Vandals heavily damaged buildings and equipment at the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum in Willimantic late Tuesday or early Wednesday of last week, the Hartford Courant has reported.

Reporter David Owen wrote: “Police are at the museum, off Bridge Street in downtown Willimantic, investigating. ‘Heartbroken museum volunteers are cleaning up broken glass and making temporary repairs,’ said Dick Arnold, a volunteer.”

“I’m teary. This is absolutely incredible to me, how anybody could do such a stupid, senseless thing.” Arnold told the Courant. “We worked thousands of hours on this place, then to have it trashed is just unbelievable to me.”

“Windows were smashed on eight or nine pieces of equipment on the grounds outside the museum. In addition, windows were smashed on a building that housed equipment, and swastikas were painted on the locomotive inside,” Owen reported.

Museum officials are still investigating what their insurance will cover. Initial damage estimates are in excess of $100,000, the Courant reported.

Readers of Destination: Freedom are urged to send contributions to:

Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum
Vandalism Repair Fund
c/o The Savings Institute
P.O. Box 95, Willimantic, CT.  06226

Police report no arrests as of this date.


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END NOTES...  Publication Notes...

Copyright © 2009 National Corridors Initiative, Inc. as a compilation work and original content. Permission is granted to reproduce content provided acknowledgements to NCI are given. Return links to the NCI web site are encouraged and appreciated. Color Name Courtesy of Doug Alexander. Content reproduced by NCI remain the copyrights of the original publishers.

Web page links as reproduced in our articles are active at the time we go to press. Occasionally, news and information outlets may opt to archive these articles and notices under alternative web addresses after initial publication. NCI has no control over the policies of other web sites and regrets any inconvenience experienced when clicking off our web site.

We try to be accurate in the stories we write, but even seasoned pros err occasionally. If you read something you know to be amiss, or if you have a question about a topic, we’d like to hear from you. Please e-mail the editor at editor@nationalcorridors.org. Please include your name, and the community and state from which you write. For technical issues contact D. Kirkpatrick, NCI’s webmaster at webmaster@nationalcorridors.org.

Photo submissions are welcome. NCI is always interested in images that demonstrate the positive aspects of rail, transit, intermodalism, transportation-oriented development, and current newsworthy events associated with our mission. Please contact the webmaster in advance of sending large images so we can recommend attachment by e-mail or grant direct file transfer protocols (FTP) access depending on size. Descriptive text which includes location and something about the content of the image is required. We will credit the photographer and offer a return link to your web site or e-mail address.

In an effort to expand the on-line experience at the National Corridors Initiative web site, we have added a page featuring links to other transportation initiative sites. We hope to provide links to those cities or states that are working on rail transportation initiatives – state DOTs, legislators, government offices, and transportation organizations or professionals – as well as some links for travelers, enthusiasts, and hobbyists. If you have a favorite link, please send the web address (URL) to our webmaster.

Destination Freedom is partially funded by the Surdna Foundation, and other contributors.

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