gesubsea
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Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:03 pm

A California group envisions a national high-speed rail system that could transport a person from any major city to another in hours. And this vision has Austin, TX as a major train connection hub.

California Rail Map has unveiled its vision for a national high-speed rail system. Its map (see below link) features color-coded rail routes with speeds of 220 miles per hour. The map connects almost every major U.S. city and even goes international, with stops in Quebec, Tijuana, Juarez and Vancouver.

The map puts Austin smack-dab in the center of all the southern lines. In Twu's concept, it's only 6 hours to Los Angeles, 7 to Chicago, and 1 hour to Dallas, San Antonio and Houston.

President Obama has continued to push for high speed rail funding, and outgoing Department of Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood has recently said that 80 percent of the country will be connected by high speed rail in the next 25 years, “because this is what the American people want.”

So, my question would be HOW would this affect the current as well as future landscape of our domestic air travel industry if we do decide to incorporate a high speed network similar to the European continent? Could this be good for the American people as an option to the high cost of air travel in this country right now? How many of us would actually prefer to ride a high speed train as opposed to a 2-5 hr flight (with connections) across the country?

http://www.kutnews.org/post/map-coul...tin-be-high-speed-rail-city-future

[Edited 2013-02-11 14:04:17]
 
mt99
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:19 pm

Quoting GEsubsea (Thread starter):
? How many of us would actually prefer to ride a high speed train as opposed to a 2-5 hr flight (with connections) across the country?

Not a 2-5hr flight. Make that a 1.5hr flight

I flew often between ORD and MSP (1.5 hr block time - but really 1hr) for businesses - sometimes back and forth the same day. I would rather spend 3hrs on a train than1.5hr on the plane +1.5hrs checking in and going thru security + weather + ATC delays..sigh..

I am sure that three are plenty of city pairs for which it could work. MIA-LAX would be just plain silly.

I do think that HSR has a place in the US; a very targeted place - but a place none the less.
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WarRI1
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:27 pm

If the last 50 years is an example, I do not hold out much hope. We are still in the stone age here. Too many special interests to deal with as usual. Politics will continue to kill most of it.
It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees.
 
jetblueguy22
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:30 pm

Frankly I don't see this ever happening. While I understand how nice high speed rail would be it seems like a pipe dream. The cost to build the infrastructure is enormous and we just don't have the money sitting around to accomplish it. That doesn't even mention the fact that some politicians love it, and others will do everything in their power to block it. For whatever reason, outside the northeast corridor, people in America just don't think about rail travel. Even as someone who grew up in the northeast I never took the train until I was 19 years old. That was only because it was my option to get where I needed to be. Would I love being able to grab a train in Fargo and be in Minneapolis in 2 hours for a reasonable price? Heck yeah, but I don't want it if billions upon billions of dollars we don't have is being pumped into a network that we don't have a guarantee will be used. I would rather it be spent on the air traffic infrastructure that desperately needs it and that is the primary source of transportation Americans use over long distances.
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L0VE2FLY
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:42 pm

I'll take the    any day. It's faster, more exciting, plus the views from 30,000'+ are much better than from 3'! I've never been inconvenienced by airport security or bad weather yet.

If you want unbiased opinions, you should ask this question on a website that has nothing to do with aviation or railroad.
 
N867DA
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:43 pm

For a country the size of the United States, a hybrid system of high-speed and conventional trains may be a better starting point from a financial perspective. The system could even be put together piece by piece, starting with urban corridors and filling in the more rural stretches until the national system is complete. Once popular routes like Chicago-Minneapolis or San Francisco-Los Angeles are complete, the more 'empty' stretches like Minneapolis-Seattle could be converted. There will be millions of people dead-set opposed to infrastructure development, but if we put down 40,000 miles of freeways, then we ought to be able to push this through too.
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BMI727
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:56 pm

Quoting GEsubsea (Thread starter):
California Rail Map has unveiled its vision for a national high-speed rail system.

Do they have any visions regarding how much this might cost and who will pay for it?

Quoting GEsubsea (Thread starter):
Tijuana, Juarez

Thank God for that. We need more drugs faster.

Quoting GEsubsea (Thread starter):
So, my question would be HOW would this affect the current as well as future landscape of our domestic air travel industry if we do decide to incorporate a high speed network similar to the European continent?

It won't because we'd have to be completely stupid to let this happen.

Quoting mt99 (Reply 1):
I would rather spend 3hrs on a train than1.5hr on the plane +1.5hrs checking in and going thru security + weather + ATC delays..sigh..

Because Amtrak has an impeccable on time record? Not to mention that rail is both very expensive and less flexible than other forms of infrastructure in terms of destination. If you build high speed rail from Chicago to Minneapolis, it's pretty useful for people going from Chicago to Minneapolis. Maybe also for people going to a couple of places (maybe Madison, for instance) in between, if the train stops there, but each stop makes high speed rail less high speed.

Interstate 90 is also useful for the Chicago to Twin Cities journey, but unlike high speed rail it's also useful for getting to many places in between and beyond. It helps me if I'm coming from Gary or Milwaukee and going to Rockford, or La Crosse, Fargo or Rochester.

There's also the false notion that a downtown train station is some sort of transportation holy grail, when in reality many businesses and homes are not in downtown areas. Most high speed rail proposals seem to be afflicted by the fallacy that everyone is going to or coming from a downtown area.

Expanding airports is a mixed bag. It's of great use for going to any destination big enough to have flights. More gates or security lanes doesn't help me get to Rockford or St. Cloud, but is just as useful for journeys to Minneapolis as it is going to Munich.

The way I see it, high speed rail is only possibly useful in very limited corridors and possibly not even that. A national network is a nonstarter. It's just carries too much cost and too little utility.

Interstates can be built and expanded more or less as they have been, nothing is fundamentally broken there.

The rail lines that should be developed to help nationwide transport are ones that go to relatively far flung airports. I love Heathrow Express and with cost and NIMBY pressures future major airports should be similar to Denver: large, expandable, and not near anything. Of course people and businesses will encroach but nothing will stop that. Rail lines can provide much more flexibility to place other infrastructure away from city centers where it can expand more easily.
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Polot
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:13 pm

I saw that map and honestly still don't understand why they made Austin the major connection point instead of the much more reasonable DFW.
 
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Aesma
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:27 pm

Well China has done it so it's possible. Even pressurized trains for high altitudes !
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
Geezer
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:29 pm

Quoting GEsubsea (Thread starter):
A California group envisions

"A California "group" envisions"...........that should pretty well answer your question right there ! "Groups" in California have been "envisioning" all sorts of needles things, for as long as I can remember ! ( "Preserving" dead people by reducing their temperature to near absolute zero, for hundreds, even thousands of years comes to mind  what they NEVER seem to "envision" is who's going tp pay for all of their kooky "visions" ! ( This sounds like more Obamanomics to me )

Charley
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IMissPiedmont
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:35 am

I could only wish but it will not happen. Even if it did I feel fairly certain the same cattle car seating would arrive along with a useful rail system.
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seb146
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:49 am

Quoting GEsubsea (Thread starter):
So, my question would be HOW would this affect the current as well as future landscape of our domestic air travel industry if we do decide to incorporate a high speed network similar to the European continent?

It won't. This country is so caught up in oil and cars there is no way any reasonable rail connections will be made. They are having a hard enough time trying to link SFO and LAX. Even SAN-LAX is there but no way it will ever be high speed. The best that will ever happen, even after oil starts drying up, will be between select cities. It is a nice dream, but it will never happen.
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Pyrex
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:22 am

Quoting GEsubsea (Thread starter):
Could this be good for the American people as an option to the high cost of air travel in this country right now?

Why don't you go and price a NYC - BOS or NYC - WAS round-trip on the Acela and compare it to how much flying costs, and then come and talk to me about how much money I am going to save with high-speed trains?
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BMI727
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:36 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 11):

Are you going to power these trains with pixie dust? That third rail doesn't electrify itself.

As peak oil occurs, which by the way we probably won't know until well after it happens and certainly may not be a clean cut notion at that point either, various things will start to shift away from oil to other energy sources, starting with low hanging fruit and things people won't pay a premium for.

Cars may well be one of those things, if the technology gets better, but the shift won't be to trains but more likely just electric cars. Those can, after all, use the exact same roads that fossil fuel cars use and have all the same advantages that cars in general have over train travel. It won't change the fact that all these railways would have to be built at massive cost. And what is it that powers most construction equipment?

And for what it's worth, when did rail become some sort of utopia? Do train travelers shower more than flyers? Less likely to have screaming babies? No lines in train stations?
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Aesma
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:57 am

Well if children are taken into account it can be nice. I still remember the playground car of a train I took as a child, with a climbing net and other games, it was great !
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
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kngkyle
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:06 am

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 12):
Why don't you go and price a NYC - BOS or NYC - WAS round-trip on the Acela and compare it to how much flying costs, and then come and talk to me about how much money I am going to save with high-speed trains?

Sure thing.

New York to Boston:

United F/C: $504
United Y: $224

Amtrak F: $374 (Acela)
Amtrak C: $214 (Acela)
Amtrak Y: $98 (Northeast Regional)

Acela has no economy class so I included the cost of the Northeast Regional for comparison sake. Of course you could probably find cheaper airfares if you shop around, but that's another benefit of Amtrak - no need to do that.

----------------

Acela is operationally profitable to the tune of $100-$200 million a year, and it's not even really high speed, with an average speed somewhere in the low 80's I believe. It's a good indicator of what can happen when you properly invest in high(er) speed rail. Opponents of high speed rail always point to the unprofitability of most Amtrak routes as an example of rail not working, yet the only route that is actually "high" speed is the one that is the most profitable. What this tells me is that if you invest some money to bring other worthy routes up to the 21st century then they too can be profitable.

One big problem with high speed rail is the unnecessarily high cost. It doesn't cost near as much per track mile to build high speed rail in Europe or Japan. That needs to be examined and regulations need to be changed.
 
af773atmsp
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:22 am

Before cities jump on building high speed rail they need to have good local transportation (bus, light rail, commuter rail) and a transit hub in the downtown area to connect it all together. For example if someone in Chicago wants to go to St. Cloud instead of dealing with the airlines they can take a high speed train to Minneapolis and then connect to a commuter train to St. Cloud.

Even as fossil fuel cars are replaced with electric cars or cars running on a different type of energy, that won't stop traffic congestion on the freeways. No matter how much you expand a road there will always be congestion, which is where high speed rail and other types of public transport come in to relieve some of the congestion.

Only a few corridors in the U.S. should be upgraded to high speed rail, but a large network of high speed rail connecting the east coast and west coast doesn't make sense.
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Cadet985
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:43 am

I don't see it by 2035...there's too much infrastructure involved, too much money, too much that would have to be built and demolished (especially in urbanized areas). I'd say for a map like that, 2050-2100 would be more realistic. Any shorter time frame than that, it'd be dependent on trackage owned by UP, BNSF, etc., and getting rights to share them. That's the problem Amtrak has outside of the Northeast Corridor.

In the interim, we should just link existing systems together. For example, there's a proposal with NJTransit to bring service back to the station in West Trenton (really Ewing, NJ), which would be a link with SEPTA ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Trenton_Line_(NJ_Transit) ).

That's just my    .

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aflyingkiwi
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:11 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 11):
It won't. This country is so caught up in oil and cars there is no way any reasonable rail connections will be made. They are having a hard enough time trying to link SFO and LAX. Even SAN-LAX is there but no way it will ever be high speed. The best that will ever happen, even after oil starts drying up, will be between select cities. It is a nice dream, but it will never happen.

It is worth noting that these HSR projects are shockingly expensive. The California HSR is expected to cost around $100 billion & will probably be higher.

IMO California would do much better spending the money on transportation projects within the big cities where most trips are taken. LA has terrible transit & aside from San Francisco, the Bay Area's transit options are pretty sparse.
 
Pyrex
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:12 am

Quoting kngkyle (Reply 15):

United F/C: $504

Nobody pays to fly Shuttle in First Class so that is a mute comparison.

Quoting kngkyle (Reply 15):
Amtrak Y: $98 (Northeast Regional)

Not sure what dates you looked at, but if you actually manage to find Northeast Corridor trains for $100 return at times someone sane would actually want to travel in I will buy them off you.

Quoting kngkyle (Reply 15):
Acela has no economy class so I included the cost of the Northeast Regional for comparison sake.

That makes no sense whatsoever. The difference for the Northeast Regional is not the comfort (which is actually pretty acceptable in both trains) but the time it takes (and the departure times).

Quoting kngkyle (Reply 15):

Acela is operationally profitable to the tune of $100-$200 million a year, and it's not even really high speed, with an average speed somewhere in the low 80's I believe. It's a good indicator of what can happen when you properly invest in high(er) speed rail. Opponents of high speed rail always point to the unprofitability of most Amtrak routes as an example of rail not working, yet the only route that is actually "high" speed is the one that is the most profitable.

Acela operates in tracks that have been around for centuries and have basically $0 depreciation, and it is along the most densely traveled route in the U.S. Amtrak should be trying to compete with the buses (over which they should have a cost advantage every day of the week, if they weren't government run) to reduce congestion on the I-95, decrease pollution and increase safety but instead they try to make money by competing with the airlines so they can subsidize loss-making routes elsewhere (as would fir sure happen with a high-speed rail).
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Superfly
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:13 am

Just another pipe-dream but it sounds cool.
Too many NIMBY's and environmentalist in the way along with the fact that the US can't afford it.
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seb146
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:51 am

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 18):
California would do much better spending the money on transportation projects within the big cities where most trips are taken. LA has terrible transit & aside from San Francisco, the Bay Area's transit options are pretty sparse.

Most of the Bay Area has BART which is very good. We, in the North Bay, are getting a rail line: SMART, Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit. In 2015. Any additional funding would go to the board of supervisors, I'm sure. They had to cut out five additional stations just to open in 2015. However, Novato added a lane each way to 101 for 2 miles in six months. Northbound goes from four lanes to two. Great planning! And BART is adding three additions at the same time. So, any additional funding would just go to waste in the North Bay...
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PHX787
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:20 am

Never going to happen. The US is too large and DL, UA, AA, and WN are too large and inexpensive (relatively) and efficient (can't believe I'm saying this) to be able to support this....another thing I see as an issue comes from the OP:

Quoting GEsubsea (Thread starter):
A California group envisions a national high-speed rail system that could transport a person from any major city to another in hours. And this vision has Austin, TX as a major train connection hub.

California.

Austin, TX...

Democrats.

I'm not being partisan here, I'm being realistic- there is NO way that republicans will ever get behind such funding. Such a large interstate project will need federal funding, which reps will never give.
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seb146
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:50 am

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 22):
there is NO way that republicans will ever get behind such funding. Such a large interstate project will need federal funding, which reps will never give.

That too. Right wingers want God in everything and women out of everything. If high speed rail were to succeed, the right wing would have to connect church to church and have baby making factories on every train /sarcasm

The right hates anything where they have to deal with other people.

Again: I can see corridors: YVR-EUG, LAX-LAS, PHX-TUC, MCI-STL, etc... But, cross country? Nope. Never gonna happen.
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BMI727
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:01 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 23):
The right hates anything where they have to deal with other people.

Damn right. If I'm going across the country or into a city I'd much rather not have to sit between a smelly backpacker and a screaming toddler. It's much nicer in my car and at least planes are much faster. And if I could have a private plane, you better believe I would.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
ozglobal
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:14 am

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 22):
Such a large interstate project will need federal funding, which reps will never give.

Yes, because 'Republicans' are just a front for the Oil and other corporate lobbies. Clean up the dysfunctional political system in the US and many things will become possible.
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
PHX787
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:31 am

Quoting ozglobal (Reply 25):
Yes, because 'Republicans' are just a front for the Oil and other corporate lobbies. Clean up the dysfunctional political system in the US and many things will become possible.

Wait a sec here, I cant tell if youre being facetious or serious.

I'm a libertarian-leaning republican on my way over to the train capital of the world-Japan.

People have questioned why Japan's shinkansen can't be installed in the US and it's simple- Japan is not the size of America. We don't need these trains.


I agree with the corridors idea posted above though....may prove to be a good idea.
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kngkyle
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:30 am

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 26):
People have questioned why Japan's shinkansen can't be installed in the US and it's simple- Japan is not the size of America. We don't need these trains.

But nobody with any influence is advocating for a shinkasen-like network connecting every city in the country. There are certain corridors that do however have the density to warrant high speed rail. The Northeast Corridor and SF - LA are probably the only two that warrant 180+ mph service. Many others, particularly around the Chicago-hub, are worthy of 125 mph service. In most cases 125 mph service doesn't require new rolling stock, just track and crossing improvements.

One problem with high speed rail in this country is the absurd regulations of the Federal Railroad Administration. This is a good article explaining all the issues with the FRA regulations. (hey, something Republicans should be able to get behind that would help passenger rail)
http://www.ebbc.org/rail/fra.html
 
ltbewr
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:20 pm

Perhaps better would be to create higher speed freight rail systems, so that a freight load of perishables, could get from Florida to New Jersey or Chicago in 24 hours and across the USA in 48 hours taking millions of truckloads off the roads, 1000's of flights, saving energy as well as saving from more from 'just in time' inventory.
 
N867DA
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:02 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 24):
Damn right. If I'm going across the country or into a city I'd much rather not have to sit between a smelly backpacker and a screaming toddler. It's much nicer in my car and at least planes are much faster. And if I could have a private plane, you better believe I would.

This is why we as Americans can't have nice things. If it benefits too many people, there's just a very large contingent of the population that'd be dead set against it. Frankly, I hope this is a recent attitude that's on its way out--I'm convinced if it were around in the 1950s we wouldn't even have the freeways. It's like a country run by Alex Keatons.

I say, there's no harm in testing HSR in California and urban corridor. If it's fruitful there--not profitable, for no infra project should be expected to be profitable--then we ought to work down the list. The nation's population is only going to go up, and barring a sudden rush to the fields most of this growth will be in one of several developing corridors. We simply cannot keep adding lanes to freeways in our urban centers. Time and time again in Atlanta, we've built a ridiculous amount of lanes on a road, only to see traffic come back in 5 years.
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northstardc4m
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:37 pm

That map is all pipe-dream, little fact, some of those lines are pure fantasy and would be nothing but massive money pits...

There are a very few corridors that could support HSR in North America:

Boston-NYC-Washington is the obvious
Kansas City-St. Louis-(Chicago)
Indianapolis-Chicago-Milwaukee-(Madison)
Detroit-Grand Rapids-Chicago-Madison-MSP
(TIJ)-San Diego-LA-Fresno-SanFran/Fresno-Sacramento-Reno/SanFran-Sacramento
NYC-Albany-Rochester-Buffalo-(Toronto)
Philadelphia-Harrisburg-Pittsburgh
Houston-SanAntonio-Austin-Dallas-Houston (Triangle)
Portland-Seattle-(Vancouver)
Windsor-London-Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec
Atlanta-Charlotte-Greensboro-Raleigh/Durham
Miami-FtLauderdale-WestPalm-(Melbourne)-Orlando-Tampa
Colorado Springs-Denver-Cheyenne


All those have had at a minimum studies done, some are moving beyond studies now... but outside those there just isn't enough potential use...
Now FAST Speed Rail (100-125MPH) is a potential option in many many short distance corridors, and can be done with less capital investment, but is also less benefit in saved time for travelers, though it may woo longer distance commuters off the highways.

Quoting af773atmsp (Reply 16):

Before cities jump on building high speed rail they need to have good local transportation (bus, light rail, commuter rail) and a transit hub in the downtown area to connect it all together. For example if someone in Chicago wants to go to St. Cloud instead of dealing with the airlines they can take a high speed train to Minneapolis and then connect to a commuter train to St. Cloud.

That really depends on the city and demand. HSR must be thought of like air travel, not as train travel as it is now. Should there be transit interconnect sure, but the truth is I would expect anyone in your example that was going to pay $250 for the CHI-MSP portion to drive to St Cloud in a rental car or have a car/ride waiting.

Some cities, like Chicago, NYC, LA, Washigton DC, Boston, Toronto, Montreal, San Fran, etc already have decent connection nets in place. Others never will be able to, and linking heavy transit upgrades as a pre-requisite to HSR means you have a money pit 4/5 times the cost of HSR alone in many cases.

[Edited 2013-02-12 07:41:58]
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Ken777
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:38 pm

While it seems like a "nice idea" the reality is that it won't happen in the midwest & western states. That leaves the north east, where commuter trains are logical. Invest there on tracks & stations. Spend money where needed on new rolling stock.

As for the rest of the country, invest in maintenance on the Interstate System and upgrade traditional rail where needed.

Overall I can't see investing significant funds for a national high speed rail system when that same money is needed for maintenance and growth of existing systems.
 
BMI727
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:27 pm

Quoting N867DA (Reply 29):
This is why we as Americans can't have nice things.

That's an odd definition of "nice things." I'd have to get to a station that may or may not be nearby and deal with the crowds. And then sit on a train that will have the same awful cast of characters air travel has: cell phone yelling guy, ill behaved kids, screaming baby, showers-kill-whales guy, drunk-at-eleven fratboys, and so on. And I have to endure this environment for longer since trains aren't as fast as flying and I'd end up at a station that may or may not be near where I actually want to go and be without a car.

Quoting N867DA (Reply 29):
I say, there's no harm in testing HSR in California and urban corridor.

As long as California pays for it.

Quoting N867DA (Reply 29):
If it's fruitful there--not profitable,

No, it has to be profitable. And actually profitable, not "profitable if someone else pays most of the costs."
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N867DA
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:49 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 32):
As long as California pays for it.

Fortunately, our nation doesn't work this way. Several states out there would have no shot at all if they had to pay for all their development and local needs.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 32):
No, it has to be profitable. And actually profitable, not "profitable if someone else pays most of the costs."

Nonsense. Infrastructure projects very rarely earn a profit; at best they will break even. It's absurd to expect them to do anything more than facilitate commerce, trade, and transport.
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CalebWilliams
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:53 pm

The simple: no, not in the current political system.
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BMI727
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:41 pm

Quoting N867DA (Reply 33):
Fortunately, our nation doesn't work this way.

...which is exactly how we end up with ghost airports and bridges to nowhere.

Quoting N867DA (Reply 33):
Nonsense. Infrastructure projects very rarely earn a profit; at best they will break even. It's absurd to expect them to do anything more than facilitate commerce, trade, and transport.

If making a profit isn't going to happen they should at least lose as little money as possible. Railroads are not the answer to that.
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Cadet985
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:42 pm

Quoting NorthStarDC4M (Reply 30):
Philadelphia-Harrisburg-Pittsburgh

That service currently exists on Amtrak. Philadelphia-Harrisburg trains run fairly frequently, and Philly-Harrisburg-Pittsburgh trains, there's one direct train each way. The problem is that the direct line, going by Amtrak's website is 7 hours, 23 minutes. While it's cheaper than flying (it's $54 each way), it takes longer than driving.

Marc
 
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:14 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 35):
...which is exactly how we end up with ghost airports and bridges to nowhere.

We are definitely getting off topic, but I wonder how many large ghost airports and bridges there really are. I am sure there are a few dubious projects here and there, but (again no hard data here) I would assume most projects are genuinely needed.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 35):
If making a profit isn't going to happen they should at least lose as little money as possible. Railroads are not the answer to that.

This is why the target for HSR should be highly traveled corridors. St. Louis-Chicago-Milwaukee or San Francisco-Los Angeles are proving grounds. In the current financial and demographic climate, even the most ardent rail supporter understands that building 250mph trains from Pierre to Fargo isn't necessarily top priority.
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Ken777
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:28 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 35):
If making a profit isn't going to happen they should at least lose as little money as possible. Railroads are not the answer to that.

To be realistic, rail takes some of the burdens of the highways and, in that view, it worth the investment. Especially when we already have right of way for most of the rails needed.

Cutting back on commuter rail in the north east is only going to over stress the road systems, requiring more in vestments there.

Same with freight. Long haul freight is a natural for trans-country rail.

In terms of profits, that needs to be compared to alternatives. If rail reduces long term maintenance costs of roads then we need to recognize that.
 
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:01 pm

Quoting N867DA (Reply 37):
St. Louis-Chicago-Milwaukee or San Francisco-Los Angeles are proving grounds.

Then the people who are actually going to use the thing should pay for it. My guess is that they'll get real quiet if they see the cost.

Quoting N867DA (Reply 37):
In the current financial and demographic climate, even the most ardent rail supporter understands that building 250mph trains from Pierre to Fargo isn't necessarily top priority.

Of course they have no problems asking the people from Pierre and Fargo to help pay for it.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 38):
To be realistic, rail takes some of the burdens of the highways and, in that view, it worth the investment.

I haven't seen the numbers, but if they're talking $100,000,000,000 for the California railroad then even more roads will be far cheaper.
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:08 pm

Quoting N867DA (Reply 29):
-I'm convinced if it were around in the 1950s we wouldn't even have the freeways. It's like a country run by Alex Keatons.

I very wish the Interstates were not built! They destroyed many cities and resulted in huge sprawl.

When I look at houses, I try to look pre-1930. Much of the highway induced sprawl should be incinerated and returned to nature.

So in that frame of mind, you might think I favor high speed trains. Like my grandfather rode on, a huge train network covering this nation. But the truth is, trains are an inferior solution for many of these journeys. Even NYC-WAS is not a slam dunk for the train. A taxi to Laguardia is usually quite easy. The plane trip is quick.

I like trains, and we should have _slightly_ more of them. But they are a far from perfect solution. Guess who burns more fuel per passenger mile... Amtrak or Delta? Amtrak!! Delta is actually more environmentally friendly than passenger rail. And cheaper to operate. And capital cost of basically zero. And so on.

To get trains full of people in the US, you would need to cuff people at the airport and drag them to the train station involuntarily. You would need to hold a gun to their head. That's because trains are less flexible and way more expensive than flying. This is a solution looking for a problem!
 
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:53 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 39):
I haven't seen the numbers, but if they're talking $100,000,000,000 for the California railroad then even more roads will be far cheaper.

When I look at alternatives for most of the country I vote for rail for longer haul freight. Pulling long haul trucks off the interstate is, IMO, a good thing. And it doesn't need to be high speed.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 40):
I very wish the Interstates were not built! They destroyed many cities and resulted in huge sprawl.

I took enough vacation trips with my family as a kid to remember the 2 lane highways. You really want that? You want significantly increases in freight costs because of the increases in travel time? 2 land highways would deliver some major changes in the way we live - and not in a good way.
 
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:06 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 39):
Of course they have no problems asking the people from Pierre and Fargo to help pay for it.

Folks in Pierre and Fargo may be getting corn subsidies and a host of other benefits from me right now. You can keep the streets in Fargo nice and neat or you can put something in place that will in some way or another make life easier for millions of people. This is how everything gets funded, and there's no point in singling out rail. I think what we have is a political difference that transcends anything the railways would care about.  Silly

[Edited 2013-02-12 15:09:09]
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BMI727
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:08 am

Quoting Flighty (Reply 40):
They destroyed many cities and resulted in huge sprawl.

Urban sprawl is wonderful. There is just no substitute for space. You can have a house with plenty of room, a big yard, three plus car garage, etc. and still be only a short distance from a Walmart and a mall, all with sufficient parking of course.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 41):
When I look at alternatives for most of the country I vote for rail for longer haul freight.

The votes that count are those of the shippers and carriers. How some company gets their goods from point A to point B isn't really a governmental problem.

Quoting N867DA (Reply 42):
Folks in Pierre and Fargo may be getting corn subsidies and a host of other benefits from me right now.

Those should go too.

Quoting N867DA (Reply 42):
you can put something in place that will in some way or another make life easier for millions of people.

If those millions of people want to have their lives improved then they can do it with their money.
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:24 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 39):
Of course they have no problems asking the people from Pierre and Fargo to help pay for it.


You mean people from recipient states? The ones that already receive more federal dollars back than they pay in? Unlike California, Illinois, New York, and basically every other state where HSR is proposed? The federal government collects money from the more populated states and hands it out to the less populated states. Where is the Republican outrage over that? Oh, right, it's because they represent the less populated states so redistribution of wealth is fine in this case.
 
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:33 am

Quoting kngkyle (Reply 44):
Oh, right, it's because they represent the less populated states so redistribution of wealth is fine in this case.

No it's not. If I had my way, I'd kick Mississippi and Alabama out of the country tomorrow.

Quoting kngkyle (Reply 44):
Unlike California, Illinois, New York, and basically every other state where HSR is proposed?

Well if these places have so much money floating around with their huge populations they should be able to build railroads themselves. Oh, wait, they can't. Especially California and Illinois which have budgets that could charitably be called basket cases.
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Ken777
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:35 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 43):
How some company gets their goods from point A to point B isn't really a governmental problem.

Companies generally cannot function without the infrastructure provided to them by various levels of government. Even city streets employees use to get to work are financed by taxpayers and were developed by the cities.

It's sort of like when Obama said that you don't do it on your own.

Moving goods from point A to point B on a national level is a government issue, be it with rails or roads or airports. Maintaing that infrastructure is a government problem as much as it is a taxpayer problem.
 
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:38 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 43):
Urban sprawl is wonderful. There is just no substitute for space. You can have a house with plenty of room, a big yard, three plus car garage, etc. and still be only a short distance from a Walmart and a mall, all with sufficient parking of course.

That is a strange position for someone who is supposedly fiscally conservative to hold. The cost to build the infrastructure for every tom, dick, and harry to have 3 acres of land, a big house, three car garage, etc. is unsustainable and will come back to haunt us when the past 10-20 years of suburban and exurban infrastructure needs to be replaced.
 
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:44 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 45):
Well if these places have so much money floating around with their huge populations they should be able to build railroads themselves. Oh, wait, they can't. Especially California and Illinois which have budgets that could charitably be called basket cases.

One reason they don't have money floating around is because they are forced to spend it on infrastructure projects in Alabama and Arkansas.
 
N867DA
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RE: Could We See 48 State High Speed Rail Svc By 2035?

Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:41 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 45):
No it's not. If I had my way, I'd kick Mississippi and Alabama out of the country tomorrow.

Real mature   I can see we won't have much to agree on (or discuss), so I will leave it at that.

Getting back on track (if you'll pardon the pun): Amtrak has been working to increase the speed of several heavily traveled corridors to 90-110 mph. They have also picked up control of the Hudson line in New York state, so there's potential for increases and capacity improvement there. It's not nearly as fast as true HSR, but it's a start. I do not know if any of the lines in the Northeast are really worth converting to HSR though--they are all at least a century old and it may be time to start anew.
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