Missteps lead California high speed rail to crisis

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – “A new statewide train system, over 700 miles in length, capable of travel at speeds up to 200 mph,” reads a 2005 brochure published by the California High Speed Rail Authority. The system will “carry as many as 68 million passengers annually by 2020.” Those dreams are stalled somewhere in the arid San Joaquin Valley between the oil derricks of Bakersfield and the cattle ranches of Merced.

Trains Magazine "Big Projects" special issue - Now on sale

"The election of Joe Biden as president is widely being reported to be good news for the Gateway Program. You’re probably aware this project, which some have called the nation’s most pressing infrastructure need, would add two new tunnels on the Northeast Corridor to connect New Jersey and New York’s Penn Station, then rehabilitate the existing tunnels built by the Pennsylvania Railroad. And you are likely aware that an apparent deal to fund the $20 billion project was reached during the Obama administration, then rejected during the Trump administration. But do you know what went into building those tunnels early in the 20th century? Or the complexities of building the new tunnels, which go a long way toward explaining that massive price tag? Dan Zukowski lays all of that out in one of the new articles exclusive to Big Projects.

There’s plenty of other timely reading in here, too. Dan also looks at why it’s so difficult and expensive to get these projects done, and at the “other” major tunnel project on the Northeast Corridor, Baltimore’s B&P Tunnel." – David Lassen, Trains Senior Editor


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