The overriding requirements of high-speed rail routes and location; that high-speed rail track systems be exclusively developed, separated and used only for operation of high-speed trains, and, that the routes and high-speed operations be buffered or separated from urbanized settings, place the most stringent of requirements on rights of way for high-speed rail systems. Incompatibility of many locations and environmental settings with high-speed train operation limits potential rights of way for high-speed train systems to rural or non-urbanized areas and locations.
Planners of high-speed rail systems and routes will be less able to rely on conversion of existing railroad rights of way that pass through urban areas. Although railroads have been historically accommodated or built around in most cities, the magnified impacts of high-speed train operations are not amenable to mitigation sufficient for compatible introduction onto existing railroad rights of way in urban locations.
Where existing railroad rights of way are appropriately located to serve high-speed rails, the structural and engineering requirements of the steel rails and roadbeds would necessitate a complete rebuilding of track roadbed and rail systems. In other portions of alignments, high-speed track rights of way can be expected to require extensive acquisition and assembly of continuous rights of way. The extent, or width of newly assembled, as well as, adapted existing railroad rights of way, is likely to be significantly greater, to accommodate or mitigate the impacts of high-speed train operation on adjacent property and environments. It is, therefore, likely that rights of way two to three times the width of typical railroad rights of way will be required to mitigate or buffer impacts that high-speed train operation will impose on settings and environments through which they pass at speeds of 200-300 miles per hour.
High-speed train routes, track systems and corridors must be rigorously separated from all other rail systems and operations, with any mingling or crossing of high-speed tracks by other rails or trains limited to low-speed sections and areas of operation. Developed and occupied properties that have been adapted or designed to function in or adjacent to typical railroad environments are not likely to be compatible with the significantly more intense impacts of high-speed train operations.
* Run CA Valley HSR route video