Filter 1: Is a Highspeed Project feasible?

A highspeed track should be used for transporting as much traffic into the whole area as possible. Before it can do that, it needs a core business, though. Just speeding up things does not help - there needs to be a city pair in 1.5 - 3.5 hours highspeed travel time distance, that generates huge amounts of traffic, and is the main justification for the huge expense of an all-new ROW.

When discussing high-speed rail, the first look has to go to maps of population density and population distribution therefore.

distribution map for the west coast

It is no technical problem, to travel to Eugene within favourable time, with a highspeed line from Sacramento. But between Redding and Eugene, building a ROW is utterly expensive for topographical reasons, and Eugene is too small, to act as a major feed for a high-speed line. Both Portland and Seattle would have to be reached with a timetable, that is competitive to air, in order to make true high-speed feasible.

Conclusion: Distance of population centers is too high for a true high-speed rail project. If there is a useful function for passenger rail in this corridor, it will be found in serving a much smaller market at much lower investment.

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