How much would it cost for Amtrak to build their own tracks nationwide?

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MIRAILFAN

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I have seen so many comments on YouTube about people wanting Amtrak to build tracks for themselves nation wide, and I just can't believe how they think it's a valid option. I wish some of yall could (the ones who were talking about them boiling their own specifically) could talk some sense into them..
Theres plentyof room for tracks.
 

west point

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Jun 9, 2015
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Looking at this proposal we need to figure where it would work first. All these need to be grade crossing free and curves suitable for at least 160 MPH operation which would mean leaving some current freight and passenger rail ROW to go straighter.
1. South of the lake would appear the most pressing.
2. Washington to Richmond / Peterborough.
3. NYP - Albany where the leased CSX line is too slow and onto Hoffmans.
4. Parts of the CSX (ACL) "A LINE" that are loaded with slow sections .
5. Empire corridor to Erie.
Those 5 would take up to 10years to complete and any predictions beyond that date are futile as travel patterns change drastically beyond 10 years.
 

Cal

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Theres plentyof room for tracks.
Yes, but the cost would be extreme.

And we only have to make it competetible with driving, which does not require new tracks nation wide. A great start would be the rule that Amtrak get's priority being enforced...
 

toddinde

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Sierra Vista, AZ
I have seen so many comments on YouTube about people wanting Amtrak to build tracks for themselves nation wide, and I just can't believe how they think it's a valid option. I wish some of yall could (the ones who were talking about them boiling their own specifically) could talk some sense into them..
It’s not viable or necessary. In Europe, freight and conventional passenger coexist. They always coexisted here. The problem was deregulation and the railroads deciding all they wanted to haul was coal, cement and grain at 40 mph. The future is moving away from coal. Short, fast freights hauling just in time merchandise will be quite compatible with passenger trains. In many places, a second or third passenger track allowing higher speeds can be built slowly, over time as ridership grows. But a whole nationwide network is not realistic or necessary.
 

jis

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I agree. Additional tracks will be needed only in select high traffic routes, provided we can get the freight railroads to behave and agree to do fair dispatching, which is not part of their genetic makeup at present unfortunately.
 

Cal

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Amtrak could switch over to Monorails. Very expensive start up costs but saves lots in the long run and no freight int erference.
That would also mean changing every single station they operate at.

No.
 

AFS1970

Train Attendant
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Jan 3, 2016
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There are a whole bunch of videos on the history of monorails, including one on why Disney has switched to busses in stead of expanding their monorail line. Short story is they are really expensive.
 

Cal

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I Said it would be expensive starting costs. But it would be worth it.
It also means changing the stations that are used by so many other commuter rails such as Sounder, Metra, Metrolink, Caltrain, Rail Runner, and more.

It also means getting a 100% new fleet for all trains. Even after they are in the process of putting new trains into service across the country.

No way that is happening.

And Amtrak does NOT need to own their tracks. They just need to get priority over freight. Which means enforcing the rule that Amtrak gets priority. That will solve MUCH of the problems. Building a whole new system is too expensive and unnecessary.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Why shoud govt fundamtrak? Thats anunfair advantageover the airlines.
Amtrak could switch over to Monorails. Very expensive start up costs but saves lots in the long run and no freight int erference.
Amtrak should not be subsidized but should build a national monorail network at great expense? How does that work? Amtrak would have to charge tens of thousands per ticket and sell out every train for decades to follow your advice.
 

MIRAILFAN

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Billionaires don't have enough money to fund it.

And why would they fund something that will more than likely not make any of their money back? They could easily invest elsewhere and gain money.
bEZOS alone could fund a monorail system with $30 billion. Thencharge high fares.
 

Qapla

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Gator Country Florida
A monorail would not be the desired choice for many who have a fear of heights and choose train travel over air due to this fear.

Keeping the wheels on the ground is a much better solution.
 
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Ziv

OBS Chief
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Oct 25, 2011
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Who will pay for those high fares?
You will!
After we restrict drilling for oil for a couple years and the price of oil goes up to $7 a gallon, high fares for Monorail travel will seem like a bargain. ;-)
Seriously, spending a little more on Amtrak makes so much sense. An additional couple hundred million a year for 10 years would allow Amtrak to buy a steady stream of new rolling stock, possibly allowing for a second daily train on routes that would profit from it. Or perhaps Amtrak could build their own tracks beside the existing Amtrak routes where the amount of traffic is highest and trade the use of the second tracks to the freight companies when Amtrak trains aren't using them. Finding a way to encourage the freight train companies to prioritize Amtrak trains even a bit more would be like getting biscuits with your beer.

And who wants to pay those high fares?
 
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