I've been working on my self-insert Conversion Bureau story - putting my other projects on hold. This story combines two of my interests - ponies and railroads. It's a slice of life story about Cherry Shine and her obsession with giving Equestria a modern railroad system. I'm about 18,000 words into the story - with I hope - a lot more to go. I don't care if many people read it - I'm writing it to scratch an itch. And, I hope, to increase my skill in writing.
In the story, Cherry Shine is about to begin to raise the capital for her railroad. At this point, I've started to research how much it would cost to actually build a modern electrified railroad such those used in European high speed rail.
It isn't cheap. Take for example, the stressed concrete tie. Price is around $41 each. With fittings, luckily. But you need 3000 or so per mile. The cost per mile ranges from 3 million to 6 million per mile - for a single track, diesel operated railroad in the wilds of Afghanistan. Cheap labor, no real land costs. Add in double track, signaling, electrification and the cost can range from 42.5 million to 54.5 million a mile. That's what Germany is spending on their Cologne-Frankfort stretch.
Germany can do this because Deutsche Bahn is a privately held joint stock company with most of its stock held by the German government. Cherry Shine is going to have to rethink her plans - there is no way that her railroad can ever service the debt caused by the railroad construction. When I started writing, I had no idea that building a railroad today is almost impossible task. You would get a higher rate of return on your money by hiding it in Swiss, Cayman Islands or Bermuda banks.
Thank you for reading my little self-insert.