New Function for the Shasta Route

The Missing Link ...

The success of highspeed rail systems depends on feeders and connection quality. Whenever possible, trains of the "normal" network are routed via the highspeed link. Reasons are:
  1. The speed advantage of the highspeed link is transferred into the rest of the system.
  2. The investment into the highspeed link pays off more easily.
  3. Through trains yield more ridership than connections.

The SNCF in France has developed the usage of its rather small highspeed network (approx. 1000 of 20000 miles) for as many trains as possible into a piece of art. Example for standard operation: Both Metz and Nice are located in the traditional network, but nonetheless, there is a TGV from Metz to Nice, that is speeded up by usage of the highspeed line en route. In order to create direct TGV connections, the SNCF also isn't shy of extremes, like the operation to Les Sables d'Olonne.

Japan has had a problem to follow the principle, since the "normal" network in Japan is of different gauge. The solution are "Mini-Shinkansen", built for smaller loading gauge. They leave Tokyo coupled to other highspeed trains, but continue their journey on old alignments to Shinjo and Akita, that have been rebuilt to standard gauge.

Back to the west coast of the USA.

Map of Railway Projects
from Vancouver BC to San Diego

At both ends of the Shasta route, there are highspeed or "higher speed" rail projects: The California Highspeed Rail Project in the south, and the Cascades Talgo route in the north.

Future travel times in the Cascades Corridor are supposed to be:  
Vancouver(BC) - Seattle 2:55
Seattle - Portland 2:30
Portland - Eugene 1:45
Future travel times in the Central Valley are supposed to be:  
Sacramento - Los Angeles nonstop 2:09
Sacramento - Los Angeles, several stops 2:53
Future travel time in the Capitol Corridor is supposed to be:  
Sacramento - Oakland, 6 stops 1:30

The above text was written in the late 1990s. Considering the experience in Washington, Oregon and California, in years gone by, the author no longer expects, that the listed travel times will have been achieved by 2025.

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Last modified: 2007-09-21