Studies and White Papers

As the world’s fifth largest economy, (at $2.6 trillion and approximately equal to France, only the U.S., Chinese, Japanese and German economies are larger) the Midwest possesses a diverse manufacturing, agricultural and business services base anchored by nine major metropolitan areas. High speed rail (HSR) will have a transformative impact that will unify the Midwest and solidify its future position as one of the world’s most powerful economic mega-regions.

As the world’s fifth largest economy, (at $2.6 trillion and approximately equal to France, only the U.S., Chinese, Japanese and German economies are larger) the Midwest possesses a diverse manufacturing, agricultural and business services base anchored by nine major metropolitan areas. High speed rail (HSR) will have a transformative impact that will unify the Midwest and solidify its future position as one of the world’s most powerful economic mega-regions.

In March 2009 TranSystems was retained by The Midwest High Speed Rail Association (MHSRA) to conduct a limited alternative corridor feasibility study for a high speed passenger rail route from Chicago to St. Louis via Kankakee, Champaign, Decatur, and Springfield. In August 2009 MHSRA authorized enhancing the project corridor study area by extending it to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

In March 2009 TranSystems was retained by The Midwest High Speed Rail Association (MHSRA) to conduct a limited alternative corridor feasibility study for a high speed passenger rail route from Chicago to St. Louis via Kankakee, Champaign, Decatur, and Springfield. In August 2009 MHSRA authorized enhancing the project corridor study area by extending it to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Graphics depicting the external costs of high-speed rail in Spain, compared with other modes of transportation.

"There is no other form of transportation up there that links the big cities with the small towns the way the Empire Builder does,” Lang says. “There is very little bus or air service. The Interstate is 100 miles south—all they have is U.S. 2, which is mostly two-lane. The weather up there is terrible in the winter. Without the train there is no way to get around."

Everybody knows passenger trains only make sense for trips less than three or four hours, right?

Wrong. Even in France, where TGV trains can whisk you nearly 200 miles in a single hour, large numbers of passengers make long train trips, often riding overnight. Short distance or long, they like the train.

Everybody knows Americans won’t make the switch to trains until cruising speeds reach 100 to 110 miles per hour.

Oh, really? Then how do you explain California, where a fleet of 79-mph trains continues to earn annual double-digit ridership increases?

Long distance train routes form the foundation of the national passenger train network. Their unique capabilities allow them to connect congested urban areas and bring economically viable mobility to rural areas and small towns, many of which are becoming more isolated from major cities as regional airline and intercity bus service disappears.

Climate Change and CO2 Emissions:

  • Travelling by rail is on average 3-10 times less CO2 intensive compared to road or air trainsport
  • With 7-10% of market share, rail still contributes less than 2% of the EU transport sector's CO2 emissions
  • The rail sector has committed itself to cut the specific emissions of rail transport by 30% over the period 1990-2020

The Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus corridor will provide the citizens of Chicago, Northern Indiana, and Central Ohio with a high-quality passenger rail service that provides:

  • Safe, comfortable and reliable service using state of the art (110-130 mph) equipment;
  • Connectivity with 4,000 miles of regional rail system that will link 100 Midwest and Ohio cities;
  • Integration with the proposed MWRRI and Ohio Hub systems that are currently being built from Chicago to St. Louis, to Detroit, to Milwaukee and the Twin Cities, to Kansas City, adn to Iowa City and Omaha;
  • Access to major economic opportunities for both small and large businesses;
  • A modern rail system operated on a private franchise basis that will provide the latest train technology, modern stations and amenities, and a high level of on-board comfort.

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