High-Speed Rail

The D&C reports that plans for high-speed rail between Buffalo and Albany are moving forward. Eric Massa is one member of the upstate delegation who will meet with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Monday to ask for a slice of the $8 billion of stimulus targeted at rail development.

If that $8 billion number sounds familiar, that's because it's a widely-used talking point. In Governor Jindal's appearance Tuesday night, he called out one possible use of funds, a maglev train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, as a train from "Las Vegas to Disneyland".

I'm trying to think of some clever way to refer to our new train. Unfortunately, having one big casino nearby doesn't make Buffalo our version of Vegas, and even though there's plenty of Mickey Mouse in Albany, it's no Disneyland.


How about "From Bills to Law Express?"

That's pretty good. Reminds me of this old Schoolhouse Rock episode. "It's a long, long journey to the capital city": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEJL2Uuv-oQ

We could use the same name that the Buffalo locals use for their light rail - subway system - The Train to Nowhere.

I am a huge believer that this country needs to invest in its rail infrastructure. However, it also needs to be economically viable, and to do that it needs to attract riders. I fear a Buffalo-Albany route will not do that. Even the Erie Canal was largely about transporting people and goods part of the way, connecting the port of NYC to the American interior, and vice versa.

Does anyone have ridership numbers for current Amtrak service between Buffalo and Albany? Granted, in one direction it stops in Rochester in the wee hours of the morning, destroying its attraction as an option.

NYC to Albany would be a more viable option. However, getting MagLev into the city would in all likelihood be near impossible, what with all the various parties and concerns involved.

Unfortunately, LA to LV makes more sense, at least from a potential ridership standpoint.

I don't have any ridership numbers, but I've looked into riding the train and found the same issue that you raise: it travels at strange times. Also, it's slow, and I've heard that part of the reason is that is shares track with freight trains.

The article mentions that fast rail is planned from Albany to NYC. If that happened, I could imagine an increase in ridership, because the competition is air, which might be more expensive, and a 150 mph train that had few stops might be somewhat competitive on speed of the journey.

Amtrak leases tracks from CSX. I don't know the particulars, but based on a trip from Rochester to Albany to Boston last fall CSX's freight trains seem to get the right of way.