Journey Times

At the recent public meeting to do with “High Speed Rail” it was twice stated that the journey time from Richmond to D.C. would be reduced by 20 minutes once the project was complete. In each case the audience reaction was somewhat caustic.

Let us work through the numbers.

  • Currently the North East Regional trains from Staples Mill Rd. to Washington Union Station average a journey time of 2 hr 20 min.
  • The distance is about 105 miles.
  • Hence the average speed is (105/2.33) = 45.1 mph.

If the project moves forward,

  • The journey time is reduced to 2 hr.
  • Hence the average speed becomes (105/2.00) = 52.5 mph

For reference: Google Maps estimates the I-95 time for the same journey as being 1 hr 52 min — giving an average speed of 56 mph.

High Speed Rail


There is no universally agreed-upon definition of the term “High Speed Rail”. However the following parameters provide a sensible framework:

  • Staightaway speeds of 300 km/h (185 mph)
  • High voltage overhead catenaries
  • No mixing of freight and passenger traffic


  • This project does not meet any of the three parameters that help define the term “High Speed Rail”.
  • 52.5 mph is not “high speed”.
  • Once the project is complete it will be quicker to drive from Richmond to Washington D.C. than to take the train.

For these reasons the term “High Speed Rail” will no longer be used at this blog site in the context of this project. Instead we will refer to it as the ‘HSR Project’.

9 thoughts on “HSR

  1. I agree high speed railway is an incorrect description.
    It never was about HSR it’s always been a CSX freight project disguised as HSR to satisfy the public and confuse the opposition.
    The opposition was never fooled.


  2. Ian…. there are a few people who live outside of Ashland but want to know about the HSR and I told them to sign up with you here but they can’t b/c they don’t have an Ashland address. Is there another way they can benefit from all your research and knowledge? You have some terrific explanations to this mess! Thank you! Barb


    1. Barbara:
      Thanks for the comment.

      This blog is hosted by WordPress, an international organization. There are no geographical restrictions regarding access. There is a ‘Follow’ box on the bottom right corner of the screen (it’s not all that prominent). Anyone can use it if they wish to see new posts as they are entered.


      1. OK… that’s great! I’ll spread the word. Your research and findings are much appreciated and the way you present it all is excellent and an easy read. So I’ve been telling people, who still have a lot of questions, to join this blog, but some are saying they can’t for whatever reasons. I’ll pass this on to them.
        Thank you, again!


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