What does it cost, per mile, to build a high-speed railroad?

Question related to this GD thread.

The 67-mile long high speed Channel tunnel rail link from London to the coast will cost around 5.2 billion pounds (cite ) so I make that 77.7 million pounds a mile, call it 150 million dollars. This is of course at least partially through some of the most expensive real estate in the world though.

This link has a graph (scroll down a bit) that gives cost for various systems. Converting from pounds per km to US$ per mile, the range is from $28m to $220m, with an average of about $125m (just under $2000/inch).

6,7 x10^9 euro for +/- 100 km

8.84x10^9 dollar for 62 miles

144 million dollar/ mile

Yes, but twelve (I think) miles of the CTRL is through tunnels bored under London. That’s gotta put the per-mile price up towards the high end…

There was a study back oin the eighties, I think, that estimated 11 billion Canadian dollars to build a 300-km/h TGV on new lines between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. Ten billion was for the track and stations, one billion for the trains. I bet it would be double that now.

In Minneapolis, the Hiawatha Line light-rail train was built at $513 million for 12.2 miles, a cost of 42 million per mile (1998-2003 ). That includes a mile or so of tunnels, under the Minnehaha Creek Park and the MSP airport. Land cost was probably cheap, since the land had been acquired and cleared of houses 30 years ago, for a planned freeway.

By comparison, Highway 12 west of the Twin Cities was expanded into the I-394 freeway. This cost $450 million for 9.75 miles, a cost of 46 million per mile (1985-1993 ). Since this was an expansion of an existing highway, there was little land acquisition cost involved.

I don’t know if this LRT qualifies as “high-speed”, it’s designed top speed is 55 m/hr (and it actually runs at more like 30-35 m/hr). But this is still quite a bit faster than the speed of the cars right next to it on Highway 55!

Checking my VIA timetable, I see that it’s 446 km along the existing tracks between Ottawa and Toronto, 539 km between Toronto and Montreal, and 187 km between Montreal and Ottawa. So assuning that the TGV line would have gone from Toronto to Montreal via Ottawa instead of direct, that’s approximately 10 billion dollars / (450 + 190) km = 15.625 million dollars per kilometre, or 25 million dollars per mile.

Granted, these are late-1980s Canadian dollars. The Bank of Canada’s Consumer Price Index calculator says that things that cost $100 in 1987 would cost $163 in 2007, so that $25 million per mile in 1987 would cost $40.75 million per mile today. And with the US dollar at 1.172 Canadian dollars, that’s $34.8 million US per mile.

P.S. My numbers are based on the (ongoing) build of the high speed railroad-track in the Netherlands.

It falls ever-so-slightly short! The common definition for high-speed rail is operating speeds over 125mph/200kph.