Lots of ideas but no susbtance.
The idea of high speed rail (bullet train) and maglev has been getting pitched to us here in SoCal for at least 20 years.
Nothing has happened. Sure, we have Metrolink and the Metro Rail trolley cars, but that's about it. And both are very limited service.
And most likely,maglev/bullet will never happen. The cost and politics of getting done have essentially killed the projects before they've even begun.
As an example, the current Maglev proposal calls for a maglev train to run between LA
and Las Vegas via Riverside and San Bernardino, basically running on the ROW
that BNSF now runs all of its freight trains on (and goes right past my house.....along with Amtrak and Metrolink).
Even assuming that the maglev does get built, where are all of those freight trains trains going to run?
There aren't any more existing lines to run on.
What are we going to do? Take those couple of thousand intermodal containers and put them on trucks and run them on the already hopelessly overcrowded freeways? It's a circular "solution" that in the end, won't accomplish anything. It's just trading one problem for another.
Just to give you an example of our failure to lead and plan in terms of rail, look at the Metro Gold Line.
It was originally a Santa Fe line that they and Amtrak ran on between San Bernardino and LA
via Pomona, Arcadia, and Pasadena.
All service on that line ended around 1994 in anticipation of building a "light rail" service (basically a bus on wheels or a trolley car). The track west of Arcadia was torn up and sat vacant for nearly a
decade before the Gold Line was built.
And now, it runs from Downtown LA
to Pasadena. It basically goes nowhere, ending in the middle of the 210 freeway at Rosemead Blvd. The old right of way still exists in the middle of the freeway. The old bridge where the line crossed over the 210 going into Arcadia was torn out. The original line now stops in Arcadia at Santa Anita Blvd, and runs east all the way to San Bernardino.
No trains run on it-that I'm aware of.
Now the MTA is "hoping" to build phase II
of the Gold line on this remaining track, which they hope to have in service by 2012 at the earliest.
Now instead of going through all of that trouble and expense, when Santa Fe decided to stop running its trains, they could've sold (or leased) the track to Metrolink, which could've run its standard sized locomotives and coaches that whole way
the very next day, where it would be running today.
The tracks, railroad crossings, the safety signals, etc already existed.
Not only would it have cost a minute fraction of what the Gold Line will ultimately cost, but we would've gotten better service and most important, not had to go
18 years (1994-2012) without commuter rail service.