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  #461  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2022, 1:31 PM
llamaorama llamaorama is offline
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The existing railroads won’t give up their private property. Plus our existing rail network isn’t really that good for modern passenger rail anyways.
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  #462  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2022, 4:11 PM
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Originally Posted by MPLS_Const_Watch View Post
New agreement announced between Amtrak and CP regarding a number of new or increased services:
- Details for additional St. Paul-Chicago service
- Double-tracking work in Milwaukee to allow more freight to bypass Milwaukee Intermodal, needed for increased Milwaukee-Chicago frequencies
- Establishing passenger service via CP's Tunnel under the Detroit River, allowing for a Chicago-Toronto route
- Establishing a Mobile-New Orleans-Baton Rouge route
- Studying service between Dallas and Meridian, MS. Assuming this would be used as part of a Dallas-Atlanta route?

https://media.amtrak.com/2022/01/amt...s-combination/
Yes, this is awesome. The Dallas-Meridian route can only be extended to Atlanta if Norfolk Southern OKs it. KCS can't promise anything for that section. But obviously that's the end goal.

An interim goal could be a timed transfer to the Crescent at Meridian - the northbound Crescent stops in Meridian at 1:30pm and the southbound Crescent stops at 4:15pm so you could build the Dallas-Meridian round trip around those times.

NOLA-BR is such a natural for rail service. Hopefully they can build it up into a proper regional service with at least 6-10 round trips per day. But this will likely require double-tracking the line for a few billion dollars.
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  #463  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2022, 4:24 PM
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I think I remember reading the station bypass nets one more round trip for Chicago-Milwaukee service, totaling 8. Glenview/Lake Forest still a problem for more since they successfully got the holding track killed off thanks to money and a compliant Rauner.
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  #464  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2022, 4:47 PM
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Originally Posted by llamaorama View Post
The existing railroads won’t give up their private property. Plus our existing rail network isn’t really that good for modern passenger rail anyways.
very true. perhaps cases could be made to go after at least the long dormant row via eminent domain if they wont play ball?
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  #465  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2022, 4:53 PM
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Originally Posted by plutonicpanda View Post
That is nonsense. Cars are king and always be. The bulk majority of our money should absolutely go to car infrastructure.
no, slow your roll el lay -- you do realize highways were built to support expedited military movement during the cold war and we had cars before then, don't you? also far better passenger rail services.

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  #466  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2022, 5:39 PM
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Originally Posted by plutonicpanda View Post
That is nonsense. Cars are king and always be. The bulk majority of our money should absolutely go to car infrastructure.
You´re delusional.
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  #467  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2022, 5:09 PM
lrt's friend lrt's friend is offline
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Originally Posted by plutonicpanda View Post
That is nonsense. Cars are king and always be. The bulk majority of our money should absolutely go to car infrastructure.
Even if cars remain king, we see congestion increasing at a pace that road expansion cannot keep up with.

Everywhere else in the world, it is understood that alternatives need to be offered.

Passenger rail failed in North America simply because we invested so much public money in roads that private rail modernization was not possible.

Not everybody wants to drive everywhere especially as congestion increases, so investment in a better rail network will provide the alternative that is sorely missing at the present time.
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  #468  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2022, 5:38 PM
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Passenger rail failed in North America simply because we invested so much public money in roads that private rail modernization was not possible.
Not only did we heavily invest in it, we pretty much whole cloth flushed our entire passenger rail system down the toilet by pushing a pop sci agenda that trains were "the past" and the personal auto was "the future" no questions asked. The same year we, the world's premier superpower, were wrecking Penn Station, the Japanese, a defeated imperial power laid waste just 20 years prior, was opening the Shinkansen. How's that for symbolism.
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  #469  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2022, 6:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
Not only did we heavily invest in it, we pretty much whole cloth flushed our entire passenger rail system down the toilet by pushing a pop sci agenda that trains were "the past" and the personal auto was "the future" no questions asked. The same year we, the world's premier superpower, were wrecking Penn Station, the Japanese, a defeated imperial power laid waste just 20 years prior, was opening the Shinkansen. How's that for symbolism.
Wasn't that the problem? While much of the world needed to rebuild following the war, the United States did not, and was the biggest benefactor from the war and the post-war reconstruction in other countries. The amount of wealth that was generated made it seem that endless private transportation was possible. This lasted perhaps 25 years, just long enough to send passenger rail service and urban public transportation into a death spiral.
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  #470  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2022, 12:52 PM
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Here’s where a Columbus Amtrak station could go if vision for passenger rail comes to fruition

By Hayleigh Colombo
Columbus Business First
Jan. 10, 2022

"COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — If Amtrak’s vision for establishing passenger rail service between Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati becomes a reality, local officials are prepared with a plan for where Columbus’ downtown station would go.

The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority envisions a two-level station at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, near the intersection of High Street and Nationwide Boulevard, according to a newly released plan.

Convention Facilities Authority Executive Director Don Brown said the plans for the nearly $23 million downtown station, which would be paid for mostly by Amtrak, are conceptual and dependent on Amtrak securing approval to launch the passenger rail service by the state of Ohio, as well as freight operators CSX and Norfolk Southern, which currently control the rail lines themselves..."

https://www.nbc4i.com/news/columbus-...s-to-fruition/
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  #471  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2022, 7:37 PM
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Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
Wasn't that the problem? While much of the world needed to rebuild following the war, the United States did not, and was the biggest benefactor from the war and the post-war reconstruction in other countries. The amount of wealth that was generated made it seem that endless private transportation was possible. This lasted perhaps 25 years, just long enough to send passenger rail service and urban public transportation into a death spiral.
I think that was more correlation than causation, or at least some amount of split between them. Devastated Europe would have rebuilt of course, but that doesn't explain that they invested in their, in many cases nationalized, railways and municipal systems while also building out a postwar highway system. Japan, with the exception of the two cities visited by Enola Gay, was less physically damaged but also modernized and expanded railways in the postwar years, as well as introduced HSR on their heaviest route, while simultaneously building out a modern highway system. The United States, with a railway network entirely private beyond the control of a federal policy to promote passenger traffic and many municipal systems also still privately owned and cash-strapped went in another direction...all in on the private automobile model. Yes, obviously there's a multitude of factors at play here, geography being the most sighted and the reasons more nuanced than a short paragraph could distill, but the 10,000 foot view shows that while the rest of the postwar first-world invested in their railways (with some exceptions like the Beeching era British Rail) and transport networks, with national ownership (taxpayer financing) being the most effective way to provide service in the case of mainline rail operations, and laying the publicly financed groundwork of future higher and high speed rail, we were putting 95% of our taxpayer eggs in the one basket of wholesale paradigm shift towards automobile mobility and the built environment that promotes and facilitates it.
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  #472  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2022, 9:39 PM
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Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
Wasn't that the problem? While much of the world needed to rebuild following the war, the United States did not, and was the biggest benefactor from the war and the post-war reconstruction in other countries. The amount of wealth that was generated made it seem that endless private transportation was possible. This lasted perhaps 25 years, just long enough to send passenger rail service and urban public transportation into a death spiral.
America invested in its railroads during the war to move war materials as needed. America's railroads were not bombed into oblivion. America's railroads did not need rebuilding or expansion.
Returning soldiers and sailors knew why America won the war, great resupply. Our WW2 infantry was almost exclusively mechanized, we did not rely as much on horses, mules, oxens, and other beasts of burden as our enemies. We built more merchant ships than ever, more DC3 and DC4 airplanes than ever, more Red Ball Express trucks than ever, and the US military was about to release a huge amount of them to the market as war surplus. There were few surplus trains around. So guess what was needed to be built to accommodate all the war surplus equipment, more railroads or more highways?
A good part of the US military was associate with supply than actual front line war fighting units. We were about to have more trained unemployed Red Ball Express truck drivers than fighting men, or train engineers.
The number one shortage my dad has stated so many times the returning to workplace ex soldiers and ex sailors faced after the war was a severed lack of housing for their new families. There were no FHA, FEMA, HUD, EPA, or other government planning alphabetic soup agencies around at the time, private enterprise was expected to solve these problems. So what did the banks wish to invest in? First of all Homes, and secondly all the stuff we desired to Fill our homes with.
So where did the homebuilders build the homes? in a more expensive land nearer city centers brownfield that was once a factory, or in a greenfield in suburbia where the land was cheap? What is the quickest way to get the new homeowners from their new homes in suburbia to their new jobs at factories in city centers, build a new road or build a new train corridor?

I enjoy looking back on history debates taking place today arguing what would have been better back then, but almost all the discussions participants have blinders on. They look at what could have been instead of what was really happening back then. Take your blinders off.
The fact remains that immediately after the war and for a decade afterwards, trains were in great shape; there were other things that needed higher priority to be fixed.

Last edited by electricron; Jan 11, 2022 at 10:09 PM.
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  #473  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2022, 1:41 AM
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I would argue differently.

The railways were not in such great condition at the conclusion of war, especially for passenger service. Even more so for municipal railways. Passenger service, both intercity and municipal had to make do with what it had. Generally, the rolling stock was nearing end of life, and the rail and electrical infrastructure were worn out from overuse during the war, and lack of reinvestment since the beginning of the Great Depression.

When the government got involved, it was a lot easier to invest in public roads than private railways. There were a lot of Depression make-work projects to improve highways (at the expense of railway passenger service that was already suffering from declining Depression revenues). The first thing to go were the interurban railways that could have served many new suburbs effectively but as I said, it was much more politically possible to build a new highway than fix up an old rail line in private ownership.

The sale pitch in North America was that automobiles were the future while railways were old fashioned. This kind of sales pitch was not nearly as prevalent elsewhere when reconstruction was the priority and money more scarce especially to buy automobiles.
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  #474  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2022, 4:42 AM
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I would argue differently.

The railways were not in such great condition at the conclusion of war, especially for passenger service. Even more so for municipal railways. Passenger service, both intercity and municipal had to make do with what it had. Generally, the rolling stock was nearing end of life, and the rail and electrical infrastructure were worn out from overuse during the war, and lack of reinvestment since the beginning of the Great Depression.

When the government got involved, it was a lot easier to invest in public roads than private railways. There were a lot of Depression make-work projects to improve highways (at the expense of railway passenger service that was already suffering from declining Depression revenues). The first thing to go were the interurban railways that could have served many new suburbs effectively but as I said, it was much more politically possible to build a new highway than fix up an old rail line in private ownership.

The sale pitch in North America was that automobiles were the future while railways were old fashioned. This kind of sales pitch was not nearly as prevalent elsewhere when reconstruction was the priority and money more scarce especially to buy automobiles.
Take your blinders off! How many trained to operate and repair train engineers and track gangs were the US military releasing back into the American economy after the war, in relative to the number of trained jeep, truck, tank, drivers and motor pool mechanics? 1 in 100, 1 in a 1000, 1 in a 100,000, or 1 in a 1,000,000?
Looking at it a different way, how many miles of new make shift roads did the US Corps of Engineers build around the world vs miles of new railroad corridors during the war? Far more miles of airport runways and seaports wharfs were built than railroad tracks. Whereas I will agree the railroads were ran down during the war, there was plenty of tracks, rolling stock, and railroad personnel around to meet America's immediate needs. I suggest there were over a million valid reasons why post war America thought highways, seaways, and airways were the future of transportation and not the railroads. Ir was what they were trained to do.
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  #475  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2022, 6:09 AM
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Originally Posted by electricron View Post
Take your blinders off! How many trained to operate and repair train engineers and track gangs were the US military releasing back into the American economy after the war, in relative to the number of trained jeep, truck, tank, drivers and motor pool mechanics? 1 in 100, 1 in a 1000, 1 in a 100,000, or 1 in a 1,000,000?
Looking at it a different way, how many miles of new make shift roads did the US Corps of Engineers build around the world vs miles of new railroad corridors during the war? Far more miles of airport runways and seaports wharfs were built than railroad tracks. Whereas I will agree the railroads were ran down during the war, there was plenty of tracks, rolling stock, and railroad personnel around to meet America's immediate needs. I suggest there were over a million valid reasons why post war America thought highways, seaways, and airways were the future of transportation and not the railroads. Ir was what they were trained to do.
Everything you post here is a distraction from the actual purpose of this forum thread.

Stop it.
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  #476  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2022, 11:30 AM
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Everything you post here is a distraction from the actual purpose of this forum thread.

Stop it.
I'm not going to stop preaching some truths as I see them. You can just stop reading them if you don't like what your eyes see.

As for the actual purpose of this thread, overhauling Amtrak, is that what you really want? More of the same is not overhauling Amtrak. Adding a new service to Mobile or Scranton in the same way as Amtrak provides services everywhere else is not overhauling Amtrak.

If we are truly interested in overhauling Amtrak and making it better we need to do some major changes to the way Amtrak operates. The first change I would make is to increase all the train's average speeds significantly. That is going to require, at a minimum, dedicated passenger tracks in shared railroad corridors, or preferably dedicated passenger railroad corridors entirely. As long as Amtrak is running passenger trains on freight owned railroad tracks they will continue to run unacceptably slow. Yet, that is what Amtrak keeps pushing down our throats.
Examples of Amtrak improved train services that have basically failed.
Case A, Talgo trainsets running on BNSF and UP owned tracks for the Cascades trains. They're wanting to retired these trainsets and buy new national standard rolling stock that will not run faster than rolling stock running over the same tracks 60 years ago. Faster trainsets did not solve the problem running faster trains.
Case B, Rebuilding the railroad corridor from scratch over UP owned tracks in Illinois. Over $2 Billion has been spent rebuilding the corridor between Alton and Joliet, Amtrak is just now increasing the maximum speeds of the trains to 90 mph, cutting around 30 minutes off the train schedule. Would be nice to see 125 mph or even 200 mph trains running on a brand new laid railroad tracks, but as long as freight trains keep sharing it, forget it. New rebuilt railroad corridor did not solve the problem of running much faster trains.
Case C
UTA and the FRA together bought half the UP railroad corridor Ogden to Provo Utah to establish UTA's Frontrunner commuter train services. Passenger trains dedicated tracks were newly laid 25 feet away or so parallel to the existing UP freight mainline tracks. 80 mph max speeds for a commuter train is surprisingly fast for most of America. Yet even with faster dedicated passenger tracks available for Amtrak to use, Amtrak's most popular California Zephyr passenger train still runs on the slower UP freight railroad tracks 25 feet or so away.

Three potential solutions for achieving higher speed Amtrak passenger trains services have all failed to do so after considerable Federal and State funding improvements. Why did all three of these solutions failed to get the results we the American passenger train customers hoped for so much on? Could the main reason for these failures being there was no overhauling of how Amtrak actually runs itself?

The only really fast trains worthy of being called overhauling of Amtrak being proposed to being built have really nothing to do with Amtrak. CHSR, Brightline, Texas Central, or Hyperloop. All Amtrak proposes is more of the same slow trains...............

So, what example exists in America where we the taxpayers overhauled an existing transportation mode that actually worked? Ike's National Defense Highway System is the perfect example. Improvements to the existing highway was not the solution; no new paving, no straightening of sharp curves, no adding lanes. The solution Ike came up with was a brand new highway built to a brand new design that allowed much faster speeds and at the same time increased safety. He actually overhauled how the new highways were built - from scratch.

Last edited by electricron; Jan 12, 2022 at 11:53 AM.
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  #477  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2022, 2:05 PM
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Devastated Europe
Germany and England were heavily bombed - France, Italy, etc. were not.

Quote:
Japan, with the exception of the two cities visited by Enola Gay,
The Enola Gay bombed Hiroshima, the Bockscar bombed Nagasaki and has been housed at the USAF museum in Dayton, OH for many years: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bockscar. It was there when I was a kid, with a description plaque no different than any other displayed airplane, years before the big controversy over the Enola Gay being put on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

Quote:
was less physically damaged
As soon as the B-29 was functional in 1944, all major Japanese cities were quickly and completely destroyed by conventional U.S. bombing. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were relatively small but were among the few left untouched by summer of 1945. Kyoto was spared for cultural reasons.
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  #478  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2022, 3:28 PM
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Germany and England were heavily bombed - France, Italy, etc. were not.
I never said anything about bombing. I said the continent was devastated. To differing degrees, after 5 years of war, it is safe to say that Europe was both physically, economically and humanitarianly devastated.



Quote:
The Enola Gay bombed Hiroshima, the Bockscar bombed Nagasaki and has been housed at the USAF museum in Dayton, OH for many years: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bockscar. It was there when I was a kid, with a description plaque no different than any other displayed airplane, years before the big controversy over the Enola Gay being put on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
I stand corrected. I'm not a military historian or a military history enthusiast and honestly don't see how a certain Air Force plane dropped a certain A-bomb on a certain Japanese city changes the point I was making.



Quote:
As soon as the B-29 was functional in 1944, all major Japanese cities were quickly and completely destroyed by conventional U.S. bombing. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were relatively small but were among the few left untouched by summer of 1945. Kyoto was spared for cultural reasons.
I admittedly did not know the extent of conventional aerial bombardment of Japan before we dropped the Bombs. I think the knowledge of that with the average person is murkier than their understanding of European bombing since documentation of it was less available to Western media than the European theater. Even if taken into consideration, the fact remains that Japan did not see mainland ground warfare like central Europe and thus all of the damage was due to aerial bombing. I think I touched a nerve here, like I was trying to misrepresent history or something. I don't think any of these facts change the overall take on why postwar Japan and Europe modernized and expanded rail and transit, while also constructing a modern superhighway network, while the US went the route of mostly auto infrastructure at the expense of rail and transit investment all while watching what was once the worlds greatest rail network wither on the vine.
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  #479  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2022, 4:29 PM
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Newark Penn Station, Trenton Transit Centers progress with contract awards
NJ Transit’s Board of Directors awarded the first contract for the Newark Penn Station modernization project, as well as a contract for the Trenton Transit Center.

Mischa Wanek-Libman
Jan. 11, 2022
Mass Transit


Image courtesy of Mass Transit.

"New Jersey Transit’s (NJ Transit) Board of Directors moved two facility projects forward with the awarding of separate contracts.

AECOM Technical Services, Inc., was awarded a $1.9-million contract for all design and construction support phases of the Trenton Transit Center enhancement project and Parsons Transportation Group was awarded a $9.2 million professional services contract for the restoration and renovation of Newark Penn Station.

Trenton Transit Center
A station has existed on the site of Trenton Transit Center going back to 1863 with new stations built to replace the old, with the most recent rebuild occurring in 2008. NJ Transit has also upgraded the main station entrances and pedestrian overpass at the hub..."

https://www.masstransitmag.com/techn...ontract-awards
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  #480  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2022, 5:02 PM
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Originally Posted by electricron View Post
I'm not going to stop preaching some truths as I see them. You can just stop reading them if you don't like what your eyes see.

As for the actual purpose of this thread, overhauling Amtrak, is that what you really want? More of the same is not overhauling Amtrak. Adding a new service to Mobile or Scranton in the same way as Amtrak provides services everywhere else is not overhauling Amtrak.

If we are truly interested in overhauling Amtrak and making it better we need to do some major changes to the way Amtrak operates. The first change I would make is to increase all the train's average speeds significantly. That is going to require, at a minimum, dedicated passenger tracks in shared railroad corridors, or preferably dedicated passenger railroad corridors entirely. As long as Amtrak is running passenger trains on freight owned railroad tracks they will continue to run unacceptably slow. Yet, that is what Amtrak keeps pushing down our throats.
Examples of Amtrak improved train services that have basically failed.
Case A, Talgo trainsets running on BNSF and UP owned tracks for the Cascades trains. They're wanting to retired these trainsets and buy new national standard rolling stock that will not run faster than rolling stock running over the same tracks 60 years ago. Faster trainsets did not solve the problem running faster trains.
Case B, Rebuilding the railroad corridor from scratch over UP owned tracks in Illinois. Over $2 Billion has been spent rebuilding the corridor between Alton and Joliet, Amtrak is just now increasing the maximum speeds of the trains to 90 mph, cutting around 30 minutes off the train schedule. Would be nice to see 125 mph or even 200 mph trains running on a brand new laid railroad tracks, but as long as freight trains keep sharing it, forget it. New rebuilt railroad corridor did not solve the problem of running much faster trains.
Case C
UTA and the FRA together bought half the UP railroad corridor Ogden to Provo Utah to establish UTA's Frontrunner commuter train services. Passenger trains dedicated tracks were newly laid 25 feet away or so parallel to the existing UP freight mainline tracks. 80 mph max speeds for a commuter train is surprisingly fast for most of America. Yet even with faster dedicated passenger tracks available for Amtrak to use, Amtrak's most popular California Zephyr passenger train still runs on the slower UP freight railroad tracks 25 feet or so away.

Three potential solutions for achieving higher speed Amtrak passenger trains services have all failed to do so after considerable Federal and State funding improvements. Why did all three of these solutions failed to get the results we the American passenger train customers hoped for so much on? Could the main reason for these failures being there was no overhauling of how Amtrak actually runs itself?

The only really fast trains worthy of being called overhauling of Amtrak being proposed to being built have really nothing to do with Amtrak. CHSR, Brightline, Texas Central, or Hyperloop. All Amtrak proposes is more of the same slow trains...............

So, what example exists in America where we the taxpayers overhauled an existing transportation mode that actually worked? Ike's National Defense Highway System is the perfect example. Improvements to the existing highway was not the solution; no new paving, no straightening of sharp curves, no adding lanes. The solution Ike came up with was a brand new highway built to a brand new design that allowed much faster speeds and at the same time increased safety. He actually overhauled how the new highways were built - from scratch.
Definitely, there needs to be construction of new passenger railway corridors to really make a difference and you provided a list of examples. There needs to be more of this. Yet despite the problems, passenger rail has been on the upswing anyways. Why? Increasing highway and urban congestion and a generational change in which younger people have a lower desire for the expense of car ownership and car dependency in general.

Canada's VIA Rail is the poster child for the failure of working with the freight railways to improve service. Public rail re-investment intended for passenger service ends up being prioritized for freight service. Track maintenance is optimized for lower speed freight service and based on freight traffic rather than passenger traffic or potential. And now the realization that VIA rail needs its own track to speed up trains to an acceptable level to be competitive.

This is still not contrary to what I said earlier. And I would further argue that the interstate highway system was not the primary cause of passenger rail decline. This was already well underway by the time of the main period of interstate construction in the 1960s.

I believe it was the smaller things that you dismissed that were bigger factors, the paving, straightening and widening of roads that started by the end of World War I. This can be correlated with the decline in passenger rail ridership that had already begun by the 1920s. Already cars could travel faster than trains and with declining ridership and private ownership, there was no incentive to improve right of ways or rolling stock for passenger trains.

By the time of the passing of legislation that produced the interstate highway system, most interurban railways, municipal railways, intercity passenger railways and the manufacture of passenger railcars in North America were in rapid decline or wiped out entirely. The interurban rail lines which mostly operated for passenger service in their own right of way were simply abandoned. Improved highways replaced them. Municipal railways often had private right of ways but were replaced by buses in mixed traffic simply because it was too costly to renew the rail infrastructure that was often over 50 years old.

You couldn't even buy a new electric streetcar after the early 1950s in North America.
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