Thursday, October 30, 2008

Maglev - the view from DC

There are only a few regional options for the East of Mississippi Maglev concept that the Feds announced last week. News from DC does not look promising for them. Maybe we will get a summary judgement. New to the party is a plan for Maglev between Atlanta and Chatanooga. It's them or us for the next round of seed money that will just keep the idea alive.

How long have we been discussing maglev or just plain old high speed rail for Pennsylvania? It goes back a lot farther than this, but here is a paleo-future vision of the Commonwealth circa 1985:

I didn't think the state had such straight lines.. but let's see... that network must be at least 500+ miles of track. We are now wistfully thinking that there is a shot at building 35 miles of trackless Maglev... assuming the planets line up, Federal money rains down and cold fusion turns to work that is. Funny you see no thought of a line that would be direct to Cleveland? True high speed rail between Pgh and Cleveland would be what? a hour ride? We could have cross city commuters easily enough. Think how much easier those away Steelers games would be. Some association of Turnpike vendors would probably oppose the idea.


Anonymous Jerry said...

And if Pennsylvania highways were privatized, we could add another powerful lobby to the group opposing a Pittsburgh/Cleveland connection.

BTW, I imagine the lines on that map are straight because the GIS technology available at the time was prohibitively expensive, even for something as simple as making a line that sort-of follows an actual railway. The maps you make on the PC on your desktop now would probably have required renting time on a massive mainframe back then. Gotta love progress.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

that's true of course.. but it also reflects just how preliminary that vision really was back then. If they had really made any progress they would have had at least a better professionally drawn map out there.. as it is, this I think is just a newspaper illustration. We could draw better maps these days for sure, but would we really be any farther ahead than that map represents?

Thursday, October 30, 2008 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger smallstreams said...

It looks like the mapmakers were sticking it to the folks of Tyrone.

Seriously, speeding rail travel would make it much more competitive. Pgh to State College would create an ideal university corridor. A four hour to Philly trip might lure biz travelers.

Two less expensive ways would be the creation of cheap parking next to the rr station and free wifi on the trains. I traveled for pleasure on the trains this summer, and I must say it beats flying and long distance driving.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 2:51:00 PM  
Blogger smallstreams said...

My wife, Elizabeth, documented the trip.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 2:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember years ago they had a competition. Pittsburgh's proposal was one of the finalists (the other being DC-Baltimore). The Feds hummed and hawed, and suddenly they threw Vegas into the equation. Now (years later, after no progress or news) they are talking about Atlanta-Chatanooga. Some competition. Not that they're ever really going to build the darn thing anyway.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 4:25:00 PM  

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