US Should Invest in Modern Trainsets

March 03, 2017

With a large federal infrastructure bill in the works it is important that attention is brought to the core needs of our national passenger rail network.

Wick Moorman, president of Amtrak, recently spoke about these needs on capitol hill. He remarked that a new era of infrastructure investment is critical for the future of long-distance passenger rail in the U.S.

“The time is now to invest in our aging assets. More than ever, our nation and the traveling public rely on Amtrak for mobility, but the future of Amtrak depends on whether we can renew the cars, locomotives, bridges, tunnels, stations and other infrastructure that allows us to meet [this growing demand].”

The most urgent of these needs is modern, high-performance trainsets. The train itself directly impacts the customer experience, travel times and operating costs and is central to making passenger rail competitive. It is past time to replace the national fleet with a more modern design.

Overseas, train designs have evolved tremendously. These new trains are safer, protecting passengers better in a crash. They are strong yet designed with minimal mass for high power-to-weight ratio, allowing them to accelerate and stop more quickly.  Sophisticated suspensions allow faster running through curves. These factors help to maintain the highest possible average speeds and reduce operating costs. MHSRA is working to convince federal lawmakers that investing in a modern national fleet is critical for the long-term success of our nation's passenger rail network.


Dylan Hayward
Program Manager

Last Week at MHSRA:

Our letter to the editor, “Thinking Beyond the O’Hare Express,” was featured in the Chicago Tribune. Our executive director attended the US High Speed Rail Association's Conference in LA. He learned more about the high-speed rail construction underway in the Central Valley, participated in the unveiling of a ridership and revenue study for a high-speed line connecting Southern California to Las Vegas and was impressed by the large investments Los Angeles is making to improve and expand train service.

Articles We Enjoyed:

Moorman to Congress: “New era” of Amtrak Investment Required
“More than ever, our nation and the traveling public rely on Amtrak for mobility, but the future of Amtrak depends on whether we can renew the cars, locomotives, bridges, tunnels, stations and other infrastructure that allows us to meet these growing demands."

What American Commuter Rail Can Learn From Paris
"For years, transit advocates in New York and other U.S. cities with legacy rail systems have advocated for modernizing commuter rail to run more like a subway, often using Paris as an example. For good reason: Data suggests Parisian regional rail lines are well-used throughout the day, meaning the system helps people forgo driving for all types of trips, not just the trip to work."

Concern Over Brightline Prompts Lawmakers to Consider Rail Regulations
"A proposed bill regulating high-speed trains could delay the second phase of All Aboard Florida’s Brightline project and impact the cost of moving freight across the state, rail companies warned a House panel this week."

HS2 Phase 1 Bill Receives Royal Assent
"‘HS2 will be the world’s most advanced passenger railway and the backbone of our rail network’, said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. ‘Royal Assent is a major step towards significantly increasing capacity on our congested railways for both passengers and freight; improving connections between the biggest cities and regions; generating jobs, skills and economic growth.’"

Upcoming Events:

2017 MHSRA Annual Meeting
We are scheduling an exciting group of speakers to share ideas, innovations and progress related to passenger rail in the U.S. and high-speed rail around the world!

When: Saturday April 1, 2017 - 9:00am to 3:00pm (Check in will start at 8:30am)

Where: Maggiano's Little Italy, 516 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654

Cost: Single Ticket: $60.00
    Student Ticket: $20.00
    *Cost includes lunch

Register Here

Speakers Include:

  • Derrick James, Director of Government Affairs, Amtrak

  • Tim Hoeffner, Director - Office of Rail, Michigan Department of Transportation

  • Katie England, Director of Multimodal Planning & Programs, Indiana Department of Transportation

  • Mark Walbrun, Vice President, Practice Leader - Rail & Transit, US East, Mott MacDonald
  • Eugene Skoropowski, Former Senior Vice President o Passenger Rail Development, All Aboard Florida

Special Rate at Transportation Forum, sessions + tours, UIC Campus April 20-21
The Midwest High Speed Rail Association is excited to be part of an important national conference – the 58th Transportation Research Forum, at the University of Illinois – Chicago campus on April 20 – 21. This is a great opportunity to deepen your understanding of the latest policy issues surrounding rail, air and highway travel and network with national experts. A $75 early-bird rate (more than 50% off) is available for Chicago-area residents through March 17 that includes a Friday Awards Luncheon with keynote Samuel K. Skinner, former US Transportation Secretary, at which our Association will be represented. There are free Saturday morning tours, including Union & Ogilvie stations and CTA rapid-transit plans.

To learn more or register, click here.  Questions?  Email Dana Yanocha at

Dylan Hayward
Program Manager
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625