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Western Railroad Discussion > Cost per mile - railroad vs. highway?

Date: 06/24/08 18:29
Cost per mile - railroad vs. highway?
Author: sums007

There are a lot of knowledgeable people here, so I am asking if someone can point to any documentation about the cost of building a mile of main line railroad vs. a mile of highway.


Date: 06/24/08 20:13
Re: Cost per mile - railroad vs. highway?
Author: BNSF6400

While I don't have documentation stating such and each individual project would vary depending on terrain, property acquistion, etc...the rule of thumb I heard for Southern California is approximately $200 million a mile to add one lane each way to an existing freeway, assuming there isn't houses or mountains in the way. To add an additional main line to an existing railroad is about $2 to $3 million per mile, much more in urban areas. As for brand new construction, assuming the property has been purchased in advance for the highway, its about $30 million a mile for a new freeway (this is based on the new 210 freeway in which eight miles were built for $233 million).

Date: 06/25/08 12:33
Re: Cost per mile - railroad vs. highway?
Author: zephyrus

I've read that a new 8 lane interstate class highway in the US costs about $50 million per mile on flat land, aside from land acquisition costs which, of course, vary widely.

The $2-3 million for rail is what I have heard for a 79 MPH signaled single track line. Higher speed lines, especially with electric overhead, get more expensive, but I think are still well under the $30-50 million for road.

Of course, retrofitting something is almost always more expensive than new construction. And highway interchanges are hugely expensive, easily exceeding the $30-50 million per mile.


Date: 06/25/08 12:56
Re: Cost per mile - railroad vs. highway?
Author: Lackawanna484

The restoration of passenger track on a segment of the Lackawanna Cutoff in NJ is estimated to cost about $36mn for a 7 mile segment. Figure $5mn a mile plus a million for the bus shelter.

The alignment is in place, rural area, no road crossings involved, so no gates, etc. New tracks, ties, ballast, signals and a connection to the Boonton Line at Port Morris needs to be restored. I expect there's only one switch (the link to the main) involved.

Date: 03/31/10 12:24
Re: Cost per mile - railroad vs. highway?
Author: Jeff

Switches and signals really drive the cost up. On the WES commute in westside Portland there area a few gantlet switches and signals to allow freights to straight rail and the WES equipment to move over and spot up close to the platforms. The switches and signal cost around 3/4 of a million for each set. Jeff Pape

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