Amtrak, the Transportation Department and Congress are studying 18 possible new Metroliner-type corridor train routes, including one between Washington and Richmond.
"As rising fuel prices and continuing shortages change the transportation makeup in this country, we must be prepared to offer the public attractive alternatives to the automobile," Amtrak President Alan S. Boyd said. "Amtrak is convinced that these developing corridors can aprovide such alternatives where trip times and frequencies are competitive with the automobile. To a great degree Amtrak's future lies in these corridors."
Last fall three congresmen asked Amtrak to study corridors where improved service is possible between key cities to meet energy and transportation requirements. Over the weekend Amtrak delivered its report.
Initial costs, however, would include capital costs of upgrading track, signals stations and grade crossings, equipment and railroad operating subsidy requirements. For example, estimated capital costs for the Washington to Richmond route, with trains traveling at 79 miles per hour, would range from $12 million to $44 million, and the Chicago to Cincinnati corridor would have costs ranging between $92 million and $154 million. The Washington-Richmond route has the lowest capital costs range of the 13 routes in the study.
The distance traveled between the two capitals would be 109 miles and the maximum speed the trains would travel is 70 miles per hour, the report said. There currently are four trains daily each way between Washington and Richmond, and air and frequent bus service between the two cities.
The report also said that good access to the Metro subway will be available when the King Street Alexandria station opens. "This will in turn provide convenient access to National Airport." The report also said that the state is interested in extending the route if opened to the Tidewater and Newport News areas.
Other contemplated service would be between: Chicago and Cincinnati; Chicago and Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit, Chicago and Milwaukee and the Twin Cities; Chicago and St. Louis; Miami and Jacksonville; Los Angeles and Las Vegas; New York City and Buffalo; San Jose and Sacramento; Seattle and Portland; Fort Worth and Dallas and Houston and San Antonio; Harrisburg and Philadelphia; Boston and Springfield and New Haven; Atlanta and Nashville; Cleveland and Cincinnati; and Savannah and Atlanta.