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WEEKLY WHINE

Feel the need for laziness

Some of us recently visited Las Vegas on that awesome high speed rail line that connects Los Angeles to Las Vegas. It took just a couple of hours, and we were able to read our books and look at the scenery along the way. Not only that, we could stand up and walk around, talk to people, and use the bathroom if we needed it. And when we got to Las Vegas, we weren’t tired and annoyed by the several hours we had just spent packed tightly into an automobile. We were ready to go directly to the casinos and lose all the money we had just saved by not using up a full tank of gasoline just to get there, and we could be sure that we wouldn’t need to keep an equal amount of money in reserve for the full tank of gasoline just to get back.

This is all very exciting, but of course our excitement was slightly inhibited by the fact that the high speed rail line that we have just been discussing does not in fact exist. It turns out that the United States has been “studying” high speed rail for decades, with little or no progress made. So naturally, we here at GoobNet thought that we should help the project along. Here now are our recommended high speed rail lines for the United States.

LINE 95: NORTHEAST CORRIDOR

This line would replace the existing Acela Express rail service with dedicated tracks that support high speed travel. And we mean real high speed travel: 250 km/h or higher. At that speed, including stops, the entire route from Boston, MA to Washington, DC would take about four and one half hours. The total distance covered is more than 700 km.

Additional branches might include New York City, NY to Albany, NY and across the border to Montréal, QC. This would add more than 600 km of track distance.

LINE 80: GREAT LAKE EXPRESS

This line follows the 80 freeway from Omaha, NE to Des Moines, IA, Chicago, IL, and Cleveland, OH. Then it picks up the 76 to Pittsburgh, PA to meet with Line 70. The total distance covered is just over 1,500 km.

Branches from this line to consider might include a half loop from Chicago to Milwaukee, WI, Madison, WI, and the Minneapolis-St Paul, MO area, rejoining the line at Des Moines, IA. Another branch could begin at Toledo, OH and proceed to Detroit, MI. There it would cross into Canada and visit London, ON, Hamilton, ON, and Toronto, ON. A spur from this branch could connect Hamilton with the Niagara Falls area and Buffalo, NY. These branches would represent an extra 1,800 km or so of track distance.

LINE 10: GULF COAST

This line follows the 10 freeway starting at San Antonio, TX. It passes through Houston, TX, New Orleans, LA, Mobile, AL, and Jacksonville, FL. The total distance covered is just over 1,700 km.

LINE 55: MISSISSIPPI RIVER

This line follows the 55 freeway, originating in Chicago, IL and proceeding southward to St Louis, MO, Memphis, TN, and New Orleans, LA, where a transfer to Line 10 is available. The total distance covered is just over 1,500 km.

Possible branch lines might link Memphis with Nashville, TN, or Jackson, MS with Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA. These branches would total around 1,000 km of track distance.

LINE 70: HEARTLAND

This line originates in Kansas City, MO and follows the 70 freeway from there through St Louis, MO, Indianapolis, IN, Columbus, OH, and Pittsburgh, PA. There it continues eastward to Philadelphia, PA and meets up with Line 95. The total distance covered is about 1,800 km.

A branch line could access Cincinnati, OH via Columbus and Indianapolis. A line from Cincinnati to Louisville, KY would be another useful spur. These would total about 500 km of additional track distance.

LINE 35: CENTRAL TIME ZONE EXPRESS

This line follows the 35 freeway from San Antonio, TX and passes through the Dallas-Fort Worth, TX area, Oklahoma City, OK, Wichita, KS, and Kansas City, MO. It then continues northward along the 29 to Omaha, NE, the western terminus of Line 80. The total distance covered is about 1,600 km.

Some useful branches might include Oklahoma City to Tulsa, OK and Omaha to Lincoln, NE. These short branches would require only about 200 km of additional track distance.

LINE 5: PACIFIC COAST

This line follows the 5 freeway, linking San Diego, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Sacramento, CA, Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA. The total distance covered is nearly 2,000 km.

This line also includes the possibility of some additional branching lines. For example, a line that branches off near Sacramento could service Oakland, CA, San Francisco, CA, and San Jose, CA before rejoining line 5 somewhere between Los Banos, CA and Coalinga, CA. Other branches might include service from Sacramento to Reno, NV, from Los Angeles to Phoenix, AZ, and as mentioned above, from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, NV. In all, these branches would add more than 1,000 km to the total track distance.

FUTURE EXPANSIONS

The lines proposed here could be extended in future:

  • Line 95 could be extended in the south from Washington, DC to Richmond, VA, the Raleigh-Durham, NC area, Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta, GA.
  • Line 10 could be extended in the east from Jacksonville, FL to Miami, FL.
  • Line 10 could be extended in the west from San Antonio, TX to Los Angeles, CA by way of El Paso, TX, Las Cruces, NM, Tucson, AZ, and Phoenix, AZ.
  • Line 5 could be extended in the south from San Diego, CA across the border to Tijuana, BC.
  • Line 5 could be extended in the north from Seattle, WA across the border to Vancouver, BC.
  • Either Line 70 or Line 80 could be extended in the west to Denver, CO, Salt Lake City, UT, Reno, NV, and Sacramento, CA.

An additional line could cover the northern Rocky Mountains, taking in Spokane, WA, Yellowstone National Park, and Rapid City, SD. A north-south line through the Rockies could connect Albuquerque, NM, Santa Fe, NM, Colorado Springs, CO, Denver, CO, Cheyenne, WY, and Billings, MT.

There could also be a line that traverses the Atlantic coast that starts in Washington, DC and passes through the Newport News-Virginia Beach, VA area, Wilmington, NC, Myrtle Beach, SC, Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA before linking with Line 10 in Jacksonville, FL. This would of course be called the Spring Break Express.

DISTANCES

We have here proposed more than 10,000 km of track distance. The branches and spurs represent a total of more than 6,000 km of additional track distance.

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