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at Victorville would connect the line to the future California HSR (referenced above), which would then operate to Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties. (See last month’s column, wherein we quoted the primary investor in an alter- nate plan to operate a conventional speed Las Vegas-style “party train” directly from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, pending an agree- ment with Union Pacific).


And Beyond Vegas? Much discussion of HSR in the southwest has focused on alleviating the horrific highway traf- fic in I-15 between L.A. and Vegas. What about the traffic from the other end of “Sin City” Neva- da. Why stop at Las Vegas? Why, indeed. Utah State Senator Ben McAdams does


not see the point in leaving Salt Lake City out of the exciting plans for the future of HSR. The lawmaker wants to form “a work- ing group of stakeholders” who could do the study and perhaps secure federal funding for a 200-300 m.p.h. train between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. Or as the Salt Lake Tri- bune describes it, “a crazy-Fast train” operat- ing from “button-down Zion to the zeitgeist of careless spending [read craps-shooting — W.V.] Las Vegas,” possibly with a stop at St. George, Utah, which in recent years has be- come a retirement hot spot and tourist get- away in the southern part of the state. McAdams would put a high-speed rail


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hub at Salt Lake city International Airport. Why not? he asks. 70 per cent of Salt Lake City airport traffic is passengers making connections, including — according to the Salt Lake Trib — “large percentage who take Delta’s flight from Tokyo en route to


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Sin City.” McAdam would have the airport dispatch both planes and trains, a not un- usual situation in Europe. This is an interesting idea. Salt Lake City


and northern Utah in recent years have been returning to their railroad roots. In the early 20th century that area was crawling with main line steam from the likes of Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, and Denver & Rio Grande Western. Aside from that, the fast- growing populace there was well-served by electric interurban lines and local street cars. Now, light rail lines are proliferating throughout the community, as is a com- muter railroad (purchased from UP) along Utah’s Wasatch Front.


Those Hudson Tunnels You will recall last year we reported that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie can- celed the (ARC) cross-Hudson tunnel project because of escalating costs and its dead-end terminal in Manhattan near Macy’s base- ment. The feds have now stepped in and okayed a replacement “Gateway” tunnel from New Jersey into New York City for a hoped-for station at the south end of Penn station in Manhattan, thus providing con- nections to subways and other commuter lines. Amtrak had hoped for $50 billion. Congress okayed and sent to the White House $15 billion to get the project going. New York is studying the idea of extend-


ing its No. 7 (Flushing/Times Square line on the old IRT) to Secaucus, N.J. Amtrak pro- poses a commuter train from Secaucus to N.Y. Penn. Wes Vernon is a Washington-based writer and veteran broadcast journalist.


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