Here's a quickie to indicate what's being called "High-Speed Rail" these days. They are doing some upgrades between Chicago and St.Louis on rail corridors used by Amtrak, which will permit speeds up to 110 mph. We can expect such speeds on our commuter rail corridor on the Bay Area Peninsula, without it being called high-speed.
What's the reason for this brand labelling? As we've said, when you call all upgrades for the Amtrak passenger rail service High-Speed, it makes them, and all passenger rail in the US, eligible for any passenger rail funding from the DOT.
"High-Speed Rail" no longer describes anything in particular; it's just a catchy title that makes people think of phallic, metallic, aircraft-like trains shooting across the landscape. In short, it's macho political marketing. Most of the DOT funding goes to Amtrak for such upgrades. Calling them High-Speed merely puts lipstick on a pig. It's the same way that they paste a gold star on every kindergartner's scribbles.
Progressive Railroading Daily News
5/18/2011 12:30:00 PM Amtrak
High-speed rail trackwork will affect Amtrak Lincoln Service, Texas Eagle routes
Ninety-six miles of railroad track upgrades, including the installation of 250,000 new ties, will resume Friday as part of the preparation of Amtrak’s high-speed rail service along the Chicago-to-St. Louis corridor.
The work will require Amtrak to substitute chartered motor coaches for some Lincoln Service trains, as well as detour the Texas Eagle service between Chicago and St. Louis, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement.
The temporary changes will allow Union Pacific Railroad crews to improve infrastructure that will enable Amtrak to increase train speed to 110 mph along those routes. Currently, the maximum train speed is 79 mph.
The Chicago-to-St. Louis corridor is one of the first high-speed rail projects in the country to begin construction.