RAIL Solution is a grassroots advocacy group with over 1200 individual participants and a coalition of allied organizations. We emphasize balanced transportation planning, with a leading role for railroads. Our primary objective is the modernization of the North American Railroad System, particularly in the United States, to obtain a more efficient and useful system. We call this modernized system the Steel Interstate. This system is not a part of the High Speed Rail System, which requires separate infrastructure and tracks and operates at greater than 150 MPH, but the Steel Interstate, which shares track, would provide fast passenger rail for feeding the high speed rail lines.
The Steel Interstate is to be an upgraded core network of North American railways, operated for profit by private enterprise, with grade separated, multi-tracked, electrified infrastructure that achieves speeds in the range of 80 to 120 mph, with higher passenger speeds a target for some parts of the system. The system would significantly increase the reliability, accessibility, and capacity for moving freight and passengers. All of this will strengthen the economy, protect the environment by creating an oil-free, safe, efficient, cost effective, low impact, intermodal backbone for the transportation system.
Rail solution is seeking regional partnerships to share in advocating this vision. A key project is to build a coalition of developers, supporters, and promoters of the Steel Interstate concept, as well as closely allied ideas for improvement of North American railroads. The Steel Interstate concept and partnership ideas are given at http://steelinterstate.org. There are many places in North America where this concept should be applied starting as soon as possible. Rail Solution is prepared to assist any regional group in getting started with regional assessments of the advantages of using this system in their region.
Another project is the advocacy for demonstration of the steel interstate concept in a prototype system. The route Rail Solution has chosen for the demonstration of the SIS Prototype Demonstration is a part of the existing Crescent Corridor of the Norfolk Southern Corporation, which connects the mid-South to the edge of the Eastern Mega-region, a corridor of extremely high truck freight traffic and no passenger rail. We would note that the system advocated by Rail Solution goes significantly further in terms of improvements than present NS plans.
We believe that a system with highway competitive speeds can capture more than half of the truck traffic that now chokes the interstate highways that parallel the rail line- parts of I-75 and I-40 in Tennessee, and I-81 from Tennessee to Pennsylvania. The prototype line would run from Memphis, TN to Harrisburg, PA, passing through Corinth, MS, Huntsville, AL, Chattanooga, TN, Knoxville, TN, Roanoke, VA, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and Hagerstown, MD. The target average speeds for various classes of rail traffic are: regular freight 60 mph, intermodal (trucks and containers) 70 mph, and passenger rail 90 MPH.
Rail Solution is working on ways of financing the Steel Interstate Prototype Demonstration thought private financing with some government financing of grade crossing improvement and possible contributions for passenger rail. Much of the cost of the system can be paid for by the cost saving for fuel, as electric motive power is more efficient by a factor of 2 to 3 than diesel locomotives and the cost of diesel fuel is increasing.
Persons interested in the Steel Interstate can review our websites: www.railsolution.org and http://steelinterstate.org. Contact information is given on the websites.