Last meeting will be 12/14th, 6:30pm
Due to finals, this will be the last Faster Badger of 2021
The High Speed Rail Alliance...and Wisconsin:
In case you missed it, the High Speed Rail Alliance has made videos of their past two webinars available on Youtube:
For the latest on the infrastructure, check out a dedicated webpage:
Feature: Not Much in the MWRRP
Back in October the 2021, there was great excitement in the railroad community as the Midwest Regional Rail Plan (MWRRP) was published. Especially interesting was that this report utilized the Federal Railways Administration’s CONNECT tool for analyzing potential routes. Of course those of us in Wisconsin were very happy to see Minneapolis to Chicago recognized as the prime core route and the recommendation of creating a regional hub at Milwaukee’s inter-model center for service up to Green Bay. Other routes that were recommended for potential core express were Chicago to Detroit, Chicago to St. Louis, and Chicago to Indianapolis.
Although we agree with the results of the Midwest Regional Rail Plan, we see two major flaws. First we are unsure if the report takes into consideration connecting air passengers, assuming it would link airports. The report does look at airline ticket sales between Chicago and Minneapolis, however it appears that it looked only at passengers with an origin and destination in Minneapolis and Chicago. We would like to know if connecting airline passenger data was included since there would be more passengers connecting beyond Chicago and Minneapolis then simply flying between MSP and CHI. For example, a passenger that flies Chicago to Minneapolis and then connects onto Seattle.
The CONNECT system does not take into consideration economic development or housing. It is strictly revenue based upon ticket revenue from rail passengers. It completely skips the potential for real estate valuation around the stations. From the transcontinental railroad, to Denver Union Station, to Brightline in Florida the most valuable component of building a high speed rail network is the real estate. After all this is how high speed rail lines attract private investment! Its not the ticket sales, but the real estate around the stations is the most valuable asset to high speed rail!
So while the Midwest Regional Plan is worth discussing, it falls short in many areas by underestimating the true potential of what an advanced high speed transportation system can do to the Midwest, as well as missing the potential opportunity for investment.
Meanwhile at UW-Madison we have been working on high speed rail models that do take into consideration real estate valuation...and have been very impressed by the numbers!
Keeping Up with the Hyperloop
Relying on the news is one way to keep up with what is going on in the world with hyperloop. However, another way to keep up with the hyperloop is to looking at patents.
According to the US Patent Office, Hyperloop Technologies (The predecessor company of Virgin Hyperloop) is still planning on the vacuum tunnel. Some of the interesting patents include:
Patents for specific components
General patents for the whole system:
However, what is interesting is the patents Boeing has taken out for Hyper-loop type transports:
So is Boeing going to make a move into hyperloops? That is a new thought, but actually seems logical. After all, Boeing does have the expertise in pressurization and advanced transportation modes. More importantly if the hyperloop is to replace passenger aircraft, it makes sense for Boeing to get in the game as a defense play.