Monday, June 22, 2009

Tech Belt and HSR

Interesting discussion going on over at the City-Data Forum about what the railroad stimulus means for Pittsburgh. I've already posted some thoughts concerning the obvious gap in the national rail system. Looks as if US Congressman Ryan Altimire will continue to champion Cleveburgh:

At a hearing in Pittsburgh today, Mr. Altmire, D-McCandless, described Pittsburgh to Cleveland as a "missing link" that, if filled, would establish Pittsburgh as the hub of a network stretching across the upper Midwest. He said he has submitted the proposal for inclusion in the multiyear surface transportation bill that Congress is expected to consider this year.

I'd like to see a rail link between the Pittsburgh, Akron-Canton, and Cleveland airports. That would attract more businesses to the Tech Belt. Furthermore, such a plan ties in better with other visions for regional mass transit.


Paz said...

No one is going to admit it, but Cleveburgh is probably a more important line than the Keystone corridor (and this is coming from someone who goes East far more often then he goes West). A Cleveland-Pittsburgh line is more in keeping with the major city-paring lines like the Hiawatha in Milwaukee or the Lincoln service in Illinois. Keystone makes more sense politically, but I think Cleveburgh makes more sense from an economic and cultural standpoint.

East Busway Blogger said...

Totally agree that it makes economic and cultural sense to connect to Cleveland first.

Let's not forget the practical aspects:

Cleveland-Pittsburgh: 140 Rail Miles
Pittsburgh-Harrisburg: 246 Rail Miles

Less mileage to initially electrify = smaller initial pricetag

The terrain between Pittsburgh and Cleveland is relatively flat, especially the closer you get to Cleveland, excellent for getting the most out of fast electic trains. Between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg lie the Allegheny mountains, with many curves and steep grades, far from ideal railroad for high speed rail.

Harrisburg to Pittsburgh certainly should happen(with the ultimate goal of electrification between New York and Chicago), but we could integrate ourselves with midwest HSR more quickly and much less expensively.