vincewy
Posts: 533
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Impact Of High Speed Rail

Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:39 pm

(If this is too OT, please move to unrelated)

In the past few years, we have seen quite a few countries interested in building High Speed Rail lines, connecting major cities,besides aviation, I'm also railroad fanatics, and am very excited about many countries introducing high speed rail (HSR) to help alleviate congested roads, airports, and air space.

It may seem like HSR will be in direct competition with airlines, in the long terms, however, I think airlines and railroads can complement each other by connecting to cities not served with HSR by air, imagine if UK has good HSR network that can connect people from LHR to Wales, Midland, and even up to Scotland, I know there's Eurostar, but many more slots can free up if people can connect with HSR.

More countries are planning HSR (Taiwan is almost done and will open later this year), like Russia (Moscow-St Petersburg), Turkey (Istanbul-Ankara), Mexico (D.F.-Leon-Guadalajara), China (massive network proposed), I'm sure many more will be ready to adopt such transport.
 
centrair
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:52 pm

Well in Japan HSR has created headaches for airlines.

If you are in Tokyo and need to do business in Nagoya or Osaka, your best bet is to take the Shinkansen. You can leave from Tokyo or Shinagawa and be in central Nagoya in just about an hour and central Osaka in about 1.5 hours with no security checks, no baggage checks and no hassles.

Tokyo has two airports NRT and HND. NRT is one hour north of central Tokyo and HND is about 20 min from Shinjuku ward in Tokyo. You can fly from HND to ITM in Osaka but you can't get from Tokyo to Nagoya by plane. You could until the Shinkansen line was built in the 1960s.

I would take a plane for flights from NGO to FUK as they end up being similar in price to the shinkansen but the time is shortened.

There is a point where HSR has limits and air is needed.

Japan is currently developing a maglev that will go from Tokyo to Osaka and replace the current Tokaido Shinkansen up to that point. It would reduce the time traveled from Tokyo to Nagoya from one hour to 30 minutes and Tokyo to Osaka to 1 hour. (MLX01 Maglev Test vehicle homepage)

Note: There are flights from NGO to NRT, but they are for international connections only. They leave from NGO's international wing.

Did the TGV and the ICE change the landscape of domestic air travel in France and Germany?
Yes...I am not a KIX fan. Let's Japanese Aviation!
 
DTManiac
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:28 pm

Quoting Centrair (Reply 1):
Did the TGV and the ICE change the landscape of domestic air travel in France and Germany?

Well, with regard to the travel time the ICE is certainly an alternative between some city pairs since Germany isnt that big. Just have a look at the new track which was built between Cologne and Frankfurt that reduced the travel time to something under one hour.

However, from my experience the trains can hardly compete in terms of pricing. For example, a friend of mine who is in Berlin is going to visit me this weekend. I looked for the cheapest option and it was Lufthansa (140€) compared to the train which cost like 180€ or so.

You probably can get a good bargain if you book well in advance, but with all the low cost carriers around and Lufthansa trying to respond with their 99€ r/t fares it is often cheaper to take the plane.

One important reason might be "Eco-Tax" on electricity and other kinds of energy the "Bahn" (German Railway) has to pay. From what I know jet fuel is not taxed in that way (however, I dont know the reason) what gives the airlines advantages.

Regards

Frederik
Gig 'em Aggies!!!
 
Indy
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:40 pm

Quoting DTManiac (Reply 2):
Just have a look at the new track which was built between Cologne and Frankfurt that reduced the travel time to something under one hour.

Its nice. I would take the ICE from FRA to Wuppertal & back when I go there. Before the new track was built it was the slow route along the river and it would take nearly 3 hours. 2hr 45 min I think. Its still a very nice ride. Much more relaxing and comfortable than air travel.
Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air
 
vunz
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:43 pm

After the TGV line from Paris to Brussels was completed AF ceased operations from CDG to BRU. It takes 75 minutes from Paris Nord to Brussels Midi and there's simply no way an airline can compete on that route, including transfer, security and other hassles.

The TGV line from Amsterdam to Paris is due to open next year, but since AF and KL are so well interconnected in their network and the distance is greater flying will probably stay the easiest way.
 
mbj2000
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:45 pm

The biggest problem of the ICE in Germany is in my oppinion that it cannot be even called high speed train, MUC - FRA is so lame and such a shame, those average speeds were reached in UK some 150 years ago.

With such an alternative flying can only win Sad

... I guess the TGV is a totally different beast.
Like most of life's problems, this one can be solved with bending -- Bender Unit 22
 
DTManiac
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:54 pm

Quoting Indy (Reply 3):
Before the new track was built it was the slow route along the river and it would take nearly 3 hours.

Yes. That was a pain in the a**. I had take the train through the Rhine valley every week when I was doing army services. The interesting thing was that I took several kinds of trains (InterCityExpress, InterCity, InterRegio) and they all took almost the same time to Dusseldorf since the Rhine valley track is speed restricted.

In this context there is another thing to add. Although the ICE can go quite fast weird routings seem to kill the time advantage. I went from Dortmund to Munich on the ICE a few years ago and it took me more than six hours. The train went trough Düsseldorf, Cologne (the slow Rhine valley again), Stuttgart and so on. This is definitely not the most direct routing and six hours is well possible by car (A45 and A3). I would prefer the plane the next time.

Frederik
Gig 'em Aggies!!!
 
A319114
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:04 pm

Quoting Vunz (Reply 4):

The TGV line from Amsterdam to Paris is due to open next year, but since AF and KL are so well interconnected in their network and the distance is greater flying will probably stay the easiest way.

KLM is actually involved with the exploitation of the HSL (High speed line) between Amsterdam and Paris, so I guess at least some flights between AMS and CDG will be replaced by trains.

Also, even though the line itself may open next year, the trains were ordered to late so we'll have to wait even longer untill we can catch the high speed train to Paris.

BTW, Centrair, that Maglev test train looks incredibly cool!
Destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation
 
chase
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:05 am

A train has to get pax from point A to point B. An airplane has to get pax from point A to point B, and lift them 5 miles into the sky. Consequently I believe an airplane will always be less efficient economically than a train. Okay, today trains have to deal with more friction, but that will cease to be the case with more widespread adoption of maglev.
Since train travel generally has more lax security and "arrive X minutes before departure" requirements, I think that on routes shorter than 500 miles or so trains will gradually replace airplanes, especially as trains get faster. For a while. Then, the security and advance arrival requirements of train travel will creep up as it becomes more popular, to the point where these requirements are the same at the train station as they are at the airport.
I would love to see a highspeed train set up to run IND-MDW-ORD-MKE, with these stations set up inside the secure area of the airports, and no other stops on the line.
Just my $0.02.

[Edited 2006-02-07 16:06:27]
 
flyibaby
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:46 am

The problem in the US is no one wants to pay for it, in addition to the fact that no one wants to keep their car parked and take public transportation to work, ect. rather than drive. Personally I would rather front the money now to explore a proposed "highway" of HSR tracks and not worry about widening anymore interstates for cars.
 
Flying Belgian
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:54 am

My bet is that the plane will always be fatser than the train on the AMS-CDG run.
That said, the Thalys has placed BRU in a tricky position and it will hinder BRU's future the next years. The developpement plans in North-West Europe is very promising and a company like Thaly is increasing its profit and load factor every year.

FB.
Life is great at 41.000 feet...
 
Skymonster
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:58 am

Eurostar has 71% of the combined rail/air business between London and Paris, and something like 63% of the combined rail/air business between London and Brussels. I think that says a lot about high-speed rail travel, when it is finally put into place.

Andy
There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots
 
dartland
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:07 am

The US forray into high speed trains has been a disaster. The Acela project for the northeast corrider was a great idea. It is prime territory for high speed trains:
1) Short distances
2) HEAVY air traffic and congestion leading to lots of delays
3) HEAVY people traffic between cities, including much business travel

So what happened? Amtrak and the Canadian/French consortium designed Acela. FANTASTIC train from personal comfort perspective -- just not fast! Since the distances are fairly close, the trains still leave full every weekday, but they've been plagued with problems and literally only shave 10-30 min off travel times from the Metroliner, primarily beceause of fewer stops!

Is it a success? From one perspective, yes. It certainly moves a lot of people, but time-wise it still takes longer than flying assuming no delays, even given transport time to the airport. Given its cost is roughly equiavelent to the shuttles, most business travelers still opt to fly. From a congestion standpoint, it hasn't done much since DL and US still have hourly shuttles to connect the 3-cities -- but one could argue things would be worse w/o the Acela.

Anyways, that's my perspective. I personally love the train, but if it were a legitimate high speed train with higher frequency, I'm sure you'd fine less demand for the shuttles and the potential to ease air congestion (which while I hate to see DL or US loose a shuttle, the net benefit to all airports involved and all airlines flying from those airports due to that much less congestion can't be a bad thing).
 
congaboy
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:44 am

Quoting Dartland (Reply 12):
Is it a success? From one perspective, yes. It certainly moves a lot of people, but time-wise it still takes longer than flying assuming no delays, even given transport time to the airport.

No delays means flying in perfect conditions on Saturday morning. For all its faults, as Dartland points out, taking Amtrak still works better IMHO on high density city pairs within 300 miles. And I agree with Chase, it would be great to see the Amtrak MetroLiner/Acela model in markets like MKE-CHI-IND, CLT-ATL-CHA-BNA, maybe even HOU-DAL-OKC where you could open the train up through low-density areas.

I for one am really tired of the whole business travel ritual when flying short sectors...the stress factor is worth alot, and increasing in value as fuel prices rise, lines get longer, and service from airlines gets even worse.
"Joey, you like movies about gladiators?"
 
Boeing7E7
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:46 am

Personally, I think the US needs to get its head out of the sand and start connecting airports within 100-250 miles of eachother where it can save time vs. air travel - it won't work everywhere though. The airport capacity benefit is huge from this in high density short hop routes (BOS-JFK, PHL-PIT, MCI-STL, ORD-MKE, SAN-LAX, LAX-LAS, PHX-LAS, DFW-AUS, AUS-IAH, SEA-PDX, MSP-ORD etc...). Will people use it? Only if it's fast enough. The technology for interline is already there. In this day and age it doesn't have to be rail either. Othe uses could be across wide states with an airport at each end - i.e... Rapid City and Sioux Falls with air service to both those airport eliminating the need for essential air service, you could cross that flat as a pancake span with Maglev in about an hour.

[Edited 2006-02-07 17:50:52]
 
apodino
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:56 am

Quoting Boeing7E7 (Reply 14):
Personally, I think the US needs to get its head out of the sand and start connecting airports within 100-250 miles of eachother where it can save time vs. air travel - it won't work everywhere though. The airport capacity benefit is huge from this in high density short hop routes (BOS-JFK, PHL-PIT, MCI-STL, ORD-MKE, SAN-LAX, LAX-LAS, PHX-LAS, DFW-AUS, AUS-IAH, SEA-PDX, MSP-ORD etc...). Will people use it? Only if it's fast enough. The technology for interline is already there. In this day and age it doesn't have to be rail either. Othe uses could be across wide states with an airport at each end - i.e... Rapid City and Sioux Falls with air service to both those airport eliminating the need for essential air service, you could cross that flat as a pancake span with Maglev in about an hour.

I totally agree and couldn't have said it better myself. BOS-NYC and NYC-DCA are covered very well by the Acela. There has been a bill in congress for years that has enjoyed wide veto proof bipartisan support that should be passed, but for some reason it never gets brought up in committee despite the wide support to start High Speed rail investing. This is one area where Europe and Japan have the upper hand on use, and since most of these trains would be powered off Electricity, Oil consumption would drop as a result. I don't see any negatives outside of startup costs.
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:16 am

For those who may not be aware, here is the California government agency that is currently working on High Speed Rail plans in the state. Route selection is nearing completion, connecting in the first phase Los Angeles with San Francisco. The biggest remaining problem will be getting voter approval for bond sales to build the system.
http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/

For Los Angeles to Las Vegas a different group is working on a maglev system. The Federal govenment is currently working on environmental studies.
http://www.maglev-train.com/home.asp

Both routes being studied would serve corridors that currently see high numbers of short flights and auto traffic.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
N1120A
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:19 am

Quoting Dartland (Reply 12):
literally only shave 10-30 min off travel times from the Metroliner, primarily beceause of fewer stops!

Actually, the Metroliner and Acela don't run together. The slower trains are the Regionals, the Metroliner were the old limited/express services before the Acela entered the market and also took over for the Acela when they had the brake trouble. The main problems with the speed of the lines up there is the fact that the tracks are ultra curved and the FRA won't allow Amtrak to run the Acelas at their maximum capabilities. It certainly isn't the trains, because while they are heavier than the TGVs they are based on, they still have the ability to do around 170 mph
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
Oryx
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:26 am

Quoting MBJ2000 (Reply 5):
The biggest problem of the ICE in Germany is in my oppinion that it cannot be even called high speed train, MUC - FRA is so lame and such a shame, those average speeds were reached in UK some 150 years ago.



Quoting MBJ2000 (Reply 5):
... I guess the TGV is a totally different beast.

The railway system in Germany has three heavy disadvantages compared to France:

1. A very dispersed population. Meaning you need to buld something like 3000km of tracks to reach only the biggest cities. In France with the Line from CDG to Lyon you have already covvered a big part of the market.

2. The terrain in the sothern two thirds of germany is not easy at all. It costs something like 20 million euro to build on kilometre of track in the south compared to 10 million in the north. The french system is a lot less complicated partly due to easier terrain (nearly no tunnels etc.)

3. No central government. In France it was for a long time sufficient that the parliament in Paris desided about new railroads. In Germany you have 16 Laender who want to take part in the discussion. This leads to very long head times, unsystematic construction of lines and unnecessary stops. On the Line from Cologne to FRA the land of Hessian made Berlin pay for a sidelink to Wiesbaden and the land of Rheinland Pfalz is responsible for two an additional stop only 15 km from the previos station.

We have a construction program running until 2015 (officially). Avverages will be a lot better than. Already for the soccer champianship we will se a lot of improvement like Munich -- Nuremberg or Berlin -- Leipzig in 1 hour 15 minutes and MUC -- FRA in 3 hours 15 minutes.
 
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lightsaber
Crew
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:56 am

I'm a big fan of intermodal transportation. In other words, do like at FRA where the ICE connects to the airport. Or a big HND style bus terminal. And soon LHR will have high speed through the chunnel. Not to mention its great when local buses and subway feed an airport as part of a well designed system. (Hint LAX! hint!) The more connections, the more usefull transportation is.

Quoting Chase (Reply 8):
onsequently I believe an airplane will always be less efficient economically than a train.

Less fuel efficient yes. Economical? Depends on what all that land the track is sitting on could have been used for. While moving freight by train is much more economical than a truck, the Alemeda cooridor here in Los Anglese isn't being fully utilized due to the effectiveness of trucking. There is always that trade off. I'd like to see more high speed here in the US and loved the ICE when I visited Germany. But...

Quoting Dartland (Reply 12):
So what happened? Amtrak and the Canadian/French consortium designed Acela. FANTASTIC train from personal comfort perspective -- just not fast! Since the distances are fairly close, the trains still leave full every weekday, but they've been plagued with problems and literally only shave 10-30 min off travel times from the Metroliner, primarily beceause of fewer stops!

That is the problem with US high speed train. Acela was designed to go a little faster on existing tracks. In Europe, many of the tracks are dedicated (certainly on the more successfull runs).

There are only a few runs in the US where a train is economical due to the large distances. (Recall, I live in California, where a city 120 miles away is almost considered a suburb of the one I live/work in.) BOS-NYC-WashingtonDC (with stops in Phil and Baltimore?) is the obvious one. (Better track is required. Better=straight off grade track) LAX-ONT-Ivanpah-LAS is potentially another. There is a dream of a SAN-union statioin (Los angeles)-San Jose-San Fran. But oh... getting the track is going to cost Billions! And politics are going to add diversions to Lancaster, Fresno, etc. Are there a few other runs? Yes. But I just don't see Florida-Northeast via HST. That would be an all day or overnight run.

Quoting Skymonster (Reply 11):
Eurostar has 71% of the combined rail/air business between London and Paris, and something like 63% of the combined rail/air business between London and Brussels. I think that says a lot about high-speed rail travel, when it is finally put into place.

Really? Without the final high speed legs to London yet completed? Wow! I'd like to find out more, do you have a link Skymonster? I'm facinated by how they'll increase the chunnel traffic via better controls and feeder track.  Smile While Eurotunnel the corporation has financial issues, the Chunnel is obviously paying off in major economic advances for both England and France.

Now when will LHR get its new runway?  duck 

Personally, the US right now just needs better subway systems for their cities. E.g., the 2nd ave subway in NYC, Full Wilshire line in LA (to airport, w/green line), DC subway to IAD, etc.

Lightsaber
"They did not know it was impossible, so they did it!" - Mark Twain
 
N1120A
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:13 am

Quoting Oryx (Reply 18):
1. A very dispersed population. Meaning you need to buld something like 3000km of tracks to reach only the biggest cities. In France with the Line from CDG to Lyon you have already covvered a big part of the market.

Actually, France is a much larger country area wise, but has 14 million fewer people. I mean, Paris-Nice is as long as Flensburg-Munich and you still have much more of France to the North (not to mention that France is significantly wider). Beyond that, big cities in Germany are often located on straight lines from other big cities, while they are in different corners and locations in France. I actually think that one of the big problems is that Germany has less space to put new tracks into its already impressive rail infrastructure.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
airbazar
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:19 am

Quoting Dartland (Reply 12):
So what happened? Amtrak and the Canadian/French consortium designed Acela. FANTASTIC train from personal comfort perspective -- just not fast! Since the distances are fairly close, the trains still leave full every weekday, but they've been plagued with problems and literally only shave 10-30 min off travel times from the Metroliner, primarily beceause of fewer stops!

The "failure" of the Acela has nothing to do with the trains themselves. The problem was that everyone wanted a piece of benefits but no one wanted to pay for it. Amtrak certainly wanted faster trains but didn't have the money. The government didn't want to give the money. And the local authorities, although all want the train to stop in their town along the way, none would let the train travel at it's designed high speed though their town. So we ended up with an underfunded rail project with too many stops and not enough speed.

The pathetic thing is that it's still the best thing we have in the US and as proof of it's potential, it has been stealing market share in the BOS-NYC corridor, from airlines since the day of its inception.
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:40 am

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 19):
And politics are going to add diversions to Lancaster, Fresno, etc.

Diversions to Fresno? Sorry I'll disgree, Fresno is not a diversion.

Adding Lancaster/Palmdale was partially a political move to get a stop caused by getting a route decision not to tunnel directly under the Grapevine and Tejon Pass.

In fact the early reports said more passengers would use the service if it used the I-5/Grapevine route vs. Lancaster. But the costs of tunneling in the Grapevine became a reason to shift toward Lancaster.

But Fresno is a different story. In fact from the earliest planning, the HSR studies have said the highest passenger revenue would come from LA to SF riders, with the 2nd highest revenues from LA/SF to Central Valley passengers, followed by San Diego to LA, then Sacramento to LA.

If we look at it, there are 3 basic routes that make sense in California between LA and SF.

The coastal route similiar to the Highway 101. But the difficulty of creating long, flat, straight stretches through the Coast Range allowing high speeds eliminate that route quickly. Additionally, limited population centers along that alignment.

The Central Valley along the I-5 alignment. Long flat stretches of vacant land available for high speed but no large population centers along the route. So that would result in billions being spent for something serving only the Southern California to Bay Area passengers.

The Central Valley along the Highway 99 corridor. Long, flat stretches available allowing high speeds. Additionally several population centers of approx 1 million people each could also be served, reducing auto traffic which would cut smog and decrease the money needed to be spent on highways and airports in California's fastest growing region.

The mileage difference in the 2 Central Valley alignments is small, adding only minutes. But the additional passenger counts provide a gain that is considered worth it.

The real political battle seems to the route into the Bay Area. One group wants to enter from the south through San Jose then to the rest of the region. The other wants to enter through the East Bay with splits to other parts of the Bay Area.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
vs25
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:55 am

From a UK perspective we have a lot to gain from HSR, especially the maglevs. We're a small country and most domestic flights are under an hour. With a maglev going from London to Brimingham, then Manchester, then crossing over to Leeds, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and then up to Edinburgh and back over to Glasgow. A strange route, but one that connects the majority of the big UK cities together.

Manchester would become 30 minutes from London, which puts it on the same time as Kingston (where I live) in South West London. Manchester would become commutable to London. Newcastle would be 1.5 hours instead of 3 hours. Probably not good for house prices up north, but it would do wonders for the traffic on our congested roads and the economy.

Plans I've seen would also connect the track into LHR and it would stop at BHX and MAN along the way. You could get on a train in Leeds and be in LHR in an hour. Flights between LHR and MAN would cease to exist, and it would probably kill MME and NCL to LHR too. EDI and GLA would still be quicker by plane, but not by much when you add in the usual airport times.

I'm all for it. I know it would cost a fortune and we Brits aren't known for our "grand projets". It would take some act of God or major act of parliament to put and that's before we even think about the NIMBYs throughout the whole country. 30 counties and millions of people within a couple of miles of the track. That's a lot of NIMBYs to complain.
 
Boeing7E7
Posts: 5512
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2004 9:35 pm

RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 4:41 am

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 16):
For those who may not be aware, here is the California government agency that is currently working on High Speed Rail plans in the state. Route selection is nearing completion, connecting in the first phase Los Angeles with San Francisco. The biggest remaining problem will be getting voter approval for bond sales to build the system.

Screw Rail...That's the Union favorite. Operators with endless compensation and a small army to keep the rails in good condition. Installation cost is on par with Maglev because they would need multiple new straight sections that don't exist today in California.

This is the answer...

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 16):
For Los Angeles to Las Vegas a different group is working on a maglev system. The Federal govenment is currently working on environmental studies.

High installation cost, but only about 10-15% more than rail and low O&M cost. No vehicle operators and a staff of 20 for every 100 miles. Rails is about 40 per 100. Maglev also uses the highway right of way meaning you don't have to fight with the rail companies. None of this stop every 5 miles crap either. Connect airports, or don't bother with it. You lose any potential gains if you stop more than once in a 100 mile segment.
 
ltbewr
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:27 am

I have traveled by rail in Europe a number of times, including the French TGV, and loved it. Rail is a lot better in Europe for when one is going city center to city center for distances up to 300 miles there, especially when able to go 100 MPH (160 Kms/Hour). Using passes and off peak fares, it is often far cheaper than air flights, and problably takes less time.
Air is still going to be better when one has to go to places that are on islands or were the network of trains takes you longer due to their route networks. In the USA, as noted above, politics, costs to taxpayers, our addiction to using cars, the need for flexibility a car allows, poor and low speed track routes, a limited passanger track system, puts them at a disadvantage. If high speed rail were to be better in the USA, that is able to do speeds like the TVG's on certain routes such as the Northeast Corrordor BOS-DC and SF-LA-SD, then it would be successful and take away from airline use.
 
N1120A
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:36 am

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 25):
Rail is a lot better in Europe for when one is going city center to city center for distances up to 300 miles there, especially when able to go 100 MPH (160 Kms/Hour).

Actually, they go much faster than that, even in the UK
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
jcavinato
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:49 am

Two weeks ago I rode the Shanghai MAGLEV. 20 miles in 8.1 minutes. A gradual speed build up and slow down, but at its top (264 mph) I could have ridden that train all day if it was possible. Too, it is very wide -- three and three seating and yet none of it felt cramped at all. Seat pitch about what you find in today's F/C on international planes.
 
beertrucker
Posts: 202
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 12:13 pm

RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:16 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 17):
Quoting Dartland (Reply 12):
literally only shave 10-30 min off travel times from the Metroliner, primarily beceause of fewer stops!

Actually, the Metroliner and Acela don't run together. The slower trains are the Regionals, the Metroliner were the old limited/express services before the Acela entered the market and also took over for the Acela when they had the brake trouble. The main problems with the speed of the lines up there is the fact that the tracks are ultra curved and the FRA won't allow Amtrak to run the Acelas at their maximum capabilities. It certainly isn't the trains, because while they are heavier than the TGVs they are based on, they still have the ability to do around 170 mph

Acutally there is one more thing you forgot about the Acela. It is not the curves so much as it is other trains slowing it down. After you leave New Haven. There is only 2 Tracks till you get closer to Boston. Yes there are a few curves to worry about, but not as many as to really slow it down that bad. As I said the main prob is the other trains. Nothing will change a lot in this. Unless they can make a dedicated line for the Acela. Cause do remember. You ever sit on the tracks in CT there are a few freight trains on the lines too. Not too many but a few. Any of the slower trains will slow a faster one up.
Fly HI
 
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lightsaber
Crew
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:42 am

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 22):
with the 2nd highest revenues from LA/SF to Central Valley passengers, followed by San Diego to LA, then Sacramento to LA.

 scratchchin  really? Ok. I take back my Fresno comment.  Smile But can you provide a link. I'm only seeing 66 pax/day on faremeasure (yes, imperfect...) While I would expect the train to carry *many* more (if politics keeps the price down), a train needs to carry a thousand+ pax/day.

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 22):
The real political battle seems to the route into the Bay Area. One group wants to enter from the south through San Jose then to the rest of the region. The other wants to enter through the East Bay with splits to other parts of the Bay Area.

Or the route through LA. Will is originate at LAX, union station, or ???

Quoting Boeing7E7 (Reply 24):
Connect airports, or don't bother with it. You lose any potential gains if you stop more than once in a 100 mile segment.

 checkmark  The route for the meglav should be LAX-unionstation-ONT-Ivanpah-LAS-north Vegas. While I'd like there to be one less stop, the three in LA are needed for O&D and two in Vegas for O&D. I threw in the new Ivanpah airport because politics will demand the feed. I didn't know maglev was cheaper to maintain. Thanks.

Lightsaber
"They did not know it was impossible, so they did it!" - Mark Twain
 
Mir
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:55 am

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 25):
especially when able to go 100 MPH (160 Kms/Hour).

Try 198mph (300km/h). That's what the TGV can do, as can the newer ICE trains and the newer Shinkansen (Shinkansen is the fastest in the world since it accelerates faster than the TGV or ICE, according to a book I have, but that may be out of date).

-Mir
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Rj111
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 9:13 am

In test conditions they got TGV up to 300+ MPH.

Would never be feasible in regular passenger service in the near future, but impressive anyway.
 
FATFlyer
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 9:33 am

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 29):
really? Ok. I take back my Fresno comment. But can you provide a link. I'm only seeing 66 pax/day on faremeasure (yes, imperfect...) While I would expect the train to carry *many* more (if politics keeps the price down), a train needs to carry a thousand+ pax/day.

Don't forget FAT and rest of the Valley doesn't have low fare airline service within California. So much of the current in-state travel occurs in private vehicles or Amtrak. Few passengers fly FAT-LAX or FAT-SFO because of the perceived high cost and small planes.

Instead, for example, Amtrak currently operates 6 roundtrip trains in the Valley, 4 run Bakersfield to Oakland and back, 2 run Bakersfield to Sacramento and back. All 12 runs stop at Fresno. Dedicated bus service carries pax from all trains at Bakersfield to/from various southern destinations.

The San Joaquin Amtrak service is the 5th busiest in the country, over 700,000 passengers used the service in 2004. The Fresno station alone averaged 662 daily pasengers in 2004. 45 minutes south at Hanford station it was 373/day and 45 minutes north at Merced it was 201/day. And that is on service that is scheduled at 1-2 hours longer than driving. Many more could be diverted from autos if time was not a factor.

In terms of HSR, I haven't kept up on all of the documents and studies, but in the 2000 study here,
http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/plan/pdf/Ridership_Revenue.pdf
it's interesting to look at the air fare comparison on page 44 (pdf pg 86). Valley intra-state air fares run higher compared to the rest of the routes.

Page 37 in the body (pdf pg 79) shows 1994 and 1997 trip numbers on various routes using various modes. The Valley to LA/SF is similiar to the San Diego to LA traffic ratio between air and auto, but rail use is higher out of San Diego.

On page 59 (pdf pg 101) it has 2020 projected revenue numbers showing breakdowns of potential O&D. Page 66 (pdf 108)is potential station passenger counts.

The point I guess I'm trying make is that the Central Valley travel won't show in faremeasure. We can debate the assumptions used for numbers in the HSR models but in the Central Valley there is still a lot of passenger traffic not using air or rail at this time.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
 
moparman
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 9:44 am

On the Acela in the Northeast. The person who said that the rails are keeping down the speed is absolutely correct in his view. I recently had the chance to ride the Acela in FC from Washington Union Station to Boston. It was amazing in terms of service. Far, far, far superior to what I have experianced with Deutsche Bahn's ICE or on the French Rail's TGV in terms of service. And both of the later, DB especially, the service is excellent. In comparison to the Amtrak service, the staff was even better then in many a FC product on top airlines. The food! it was top notch, of similar quality served by 4 star resteraunts. This train isn't exactly all that slow either, as we hit 150mph on several occasions with average speeds of around 100mph. 160km/h isn't all that slow in Europe either - sure there are faster trains, but what is the average? I would say right around 100mph.
"Harming a patient is unethical, but I can inflict as much pain as I like" Dr. Phlox
 
JonnyGT
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 9:59 am

Mopar, the average speed of Acela during it's entire trip from Washington to Boston is 68 miles per hour. Hardly, impressive.

What really needs to happen is private development of high speed corridors in the US, since trying to set up an efficient national service would be completely impossible.

If there were regionalized sections of HSR, like DAL-AUS-HOU. ATL-TPA-ORL-MIA, DC-Boston, IND-CHI-STL-KC, built and managed by private entities, it would take an enormous strain of air traffic filling these routes with small puddle jumper flights.
 
TGV
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:08 am

Quoting DTManiac (Reply 2):
However, from my experience the trains can hardly compete in terms of pricing. For example, a friend of mine who is in Berlin is going to visit me this weekend. I looked for the cheapest option and it was Lufthansa (140�) compared to the train which cost like 180� or so.

This really depends on the pricing policy of the rail company.

From this point of view DB (Germany) and SNCF (French Railways) have had quite different approaches. SNCF has a wide range of prices, from expensive full fares to very low bought-in-advance fares (not exchangeable, not reimbursable, does it reminds you of something ?).
This is due to the fact that in 1993, SNCF introduced a yield management system (derived from SAABRE from AA). This functions only with a compulsory reservation of the seats, which has always been the case for the TGV (and now compulsory reservation is also introduced on conventional long distance trains).

I just checked the prices for a Paris to Marseille trip (750 km/3 hours to 3 hours15 depending on the stops) in one month: depending on the fare a second class ticket will go from 30 euros (ticket sold only on internet, you have to print the ticket yourself at home!) to 92 euros (full fare).

SNCF has chosen a lower pricing policy than DB. As mentioned by Moparman this reflects on the quality of service on-board, as obviously you have to save on operations costs. But this is a reason why LCC have a difficult time in France.

Quoting A319114 (Reply 7):
Also, even though the line itself may open next year, the trains were ordered to late so we'll have to wait even longer untill we can catch the high speed train to Paris.

There are already Thalys trainsets running from Paris to Amsterdam, using the conventional line from Brussels to Amsterdam. They will be able to run on the new line at high speed as soon as this line is opened.

Quoting Skymonster (Reply 11):
Eurostar has 71% of the combined rail/air business between London and Paris, and something like 63% of the combined rail/air business between London and Brussels. I think that says a lot about high-speed rail travel, when it is finally put into place.

According to the French experience market share for HST/air is around 90/10 for a HST trip of 2 hours (usually quicker than the corresponding air transport taking into account access/egress times to stations/airports) and around 65/35 for a HST trip of 3 hours (in that case air can be faster depending to the above mentioned access/egress times).
But of course the fare structures of the rail and of airlines (presence of LCC) have an effect also.

Quoting Oryx (Reply 18):
The french system is a lot less complicated partly due to easier terrain (nearly no tunnels etc.)

Not only: initially German lines were built with a mixed traffic approach, so the lines were designed to be able to accommodate freight trains which can not accept very steep gradients. On the other hand French high speed lines have always been reserved for TGV traffic and been designed accordingly (gradients up to 35 per thousand, when freight trains are generally limited to 15 per thousand). This difference enables French high speed lines to have lower construction costs, by following more the natural ground, even with more difficult terrain.

Quoting Mir (Reply 30):
Try 198mph (300km/h). That's what the TGV can do, as can the newer ICE trains and the newer Shinkansen

Since 2002 there is a 60 km section of the LGV Mediterran�e with an operating speed of 320 km/h.
This has enabled to check the system comportment at this speed (maintenance needs and maintenance costs compared to 300 km/h), as this speed will be used on all the LGV Est-Europ�en, which first section of 300 km from Paris to the East of France will open next year.


[Edited 2006-02-08 02:14:42]
Avoid 777 with 3-4-3 config in Y ! They are real sardine cans
 
TPEcanuck
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:24 am

Thanks to everyone for all the interesting comments and insight in this thread.

I wanted to turn the conversation to a slightly more narrow focus and talk about the possibility of high speed rail, small urban airports, and urban renewal.

Many cities have smaller airports in the heart of their urban area. For example, Taipei has Songshan Airport, Toronto as the island airport, and I'm sure there are others.

My question is if HSR can replace some of these "local" connections that can be made from these airports, could these airports be made virtually redundant? If so, consider how valuable these peices of property would be to their respective airport authorities, publics or development companies. For example, Songshan airport, once Taiwan's international gateway, sits on a prime piece of land along a river front. With highspeed rail making rail travel times to the major markets serves from this airport (Kaoshiung, Taichung, Tainan) similar to or quicker than air, one has to wonder how the airlines will survive. Of course there is the issue of the Songshan flights to Taiwan's outer islands, but I doubt the volume on these flights and the reduced demand to other markets justifies the airport.

Any thoughts on these types of issues from the group?

Darren
 
UpperDeck79
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:51 am

Quoting Centrair (Reply 1):
You can leave from Tokyo or Shinagawa and be in central Nagoya in just about an hour and central Osaka in about 1.5 hours

You are exaggerating quite a bit...

Tokyo-Nagoya: 1 h 42 min (Shinkansen Nozomi)
Tokyo-Osaka: 2 h 36 min (Shinkansen Nozomi)

And in Osaka, Shinkansen stops in Shin-Osaka station, which is not in the heart of Osaka (although an easy subway ride away).
AY and ANA rock!
 
vv701
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:57 am

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 19):
Quoting Chase (Reply 8):
onsequently I believe an airplane will always be less efficient economically than a train.

Less fuel efficient yes. Economical? Depends on what all that land the track is sitting on could have been used for.

The lowest cost Virgin Trains (monopoly) London-Manchester fare works out at over 0.40 pounds sterling per mile. The Virgin Atlantic LHR-LAX advanced passenger excursion fare works out at around 0.02 pounds sterling per mile. So clearly either Branson is robbing the British train traveler or the airplane is NOT 'less efficient economically than a train'. Yes there is the cost of land. But a far higher cost over any period of time is the infrastructure cost of laying, replacing and maintaining the railway track. Cost wise stations equate with airports (give or take). Cost wise signaling equates with air traffic control (give or take). But cost wise track maintenance, replacement and original capital cost equates with . . . Free as air?

Quoting Skymonster (Reply 11):
Eurostar has 71% of the combined rail/air business between London and Paris

While this is perfectly true, the Eurostar infrastructure costs (that is the capital and maintenance costs of track and tunnel) are so high that at current fare levels or anything near them, Eurostar can never make a profit. If the fares on Eurostar were pitched to give some possibility of recovering the capital cost then Eurostar would be (in travel cost terms) the Concorde of the 21st century. But, of course, Eurotunnel is there and has had to be paid for and it is better that it gets some revenue (as long as it can cover its day-to-day operating costs) than no revenue by shutting it down. At least then its operating profit can be used to pay some of the interest charges on its huge debt. But anyone who uses Eurostar as an argument for economical medium and long distance rail travel must be smoking something!

Another factor leading to the 71 per cent figure is that it includes all traffic going through the Channel Tunnel to France whatever the starting and finishing points. However the 29 per cent air figure is specifically London - Paris and excludes all other services. So if you travel Manchester-Paris by train you are counted in the London-Paris figures (because you pass through London). But if you fly Manchester-Paris you are not (because you overfly London).

This is important because there has been a huge growth in regional air traffic between the UK and France in both the LCC and full service areas in recent years. While much of this traffic has been generated by the introduction of these services, a significant amount used to be part of the combined rail / air London to Paris market.
 
Mandrake
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:01 am

It is not necessary to always move people by train or plane! It is not people who need to be moved from points A to B - it is their ideas, responses, routine replies etc.
Every day I watch the slow strangulation of my city by transport systems trying to cope with hordes of people who don't really need to do it.
The waste of people's time and the gross consumption of fossil fuels to get Jo Blow to an office where he could just as easily work at home, is dismaying.
The tools for a work-at-home system already exist. A little bit of tweaking the security and the verifying processes is all that is needed to make the system work on a wide scale.

Mandrake
Everything nice has its price, and the nicer, the pricier.
 
HKGKaiTak
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:17 am

Quoting TPEcanuck (Reply 36):
I wanted to turn the conversation to a slightly more narrow focus and talk about the possibility of high speed rail, small urban airports, and urban renewal.

IMHO rail can never replace the "urban" airports you describe here. No politician will ever close an airport as flying is always more "sexy" than rail, no matter how high speed it is.

High speed rail with so many cars and expensive tracks and rolling stock is probably not cheap when you're comparing with turboprops and regional jets?
4 Engines 4 LongHaul
 
MarshalN
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:23 am

It's always very frustrating when you take the Acela and in CT the train visibly slows down. It's a shame, because you know the thing can go much faster (as it does between PVD and BOS). If it can go at a high speed throughout the trip you can make it from BOS to NYC in less than 3 hours. That's a lot of time saved and you are in city center, not LGA or JFK. It's really a shame.
 
N1120A
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:25 am

Quoting VV701 (Reply 38):
The lowest cost Virgin Trains (monopoly) London-Manchester fare works out at over 0.40 pounds sterling per mile. The Virgin Atlantic LHR-LAX advanced passenger excursion fare works out at around 0.02 pounds sterling per mile. So clearly either Branson is robbing the British train traveler or the airplane is NOT 'less efficient economically than a train'. Yes there is the cost of land. But a far higher cost over any period of time is the infrastructure cost of laying, replacing and maintaining the railway track. Cost wise stations equate with airports (give or take). Cost wise signaling equates with air traffic control (give or take). But cost wise track maintenance, replacement and original capital cost equates with . . . Free as air?

The thing is, Virgin Trains doesn't have to absorb infrastructure costs (Network Rail handles that) and, like you said, has a monopoly on service. The privatisation of the railways in the UK actually made travel more expensive because UK train riders now subsidize the profits of these companies that are conducting inherently unprofitable activity
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
JayinKitsap
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:32 am

What I noticed with the Shinkansen was they kept things simple. Clean but unfancy stations certainly at the boarding platform. What no granite and Marble? Ok, so the Kyoto central station is massive and quite beautiful, but it is also private. They have spent the money wisely. In the US, we have the Taj Mahal complex - super fancy stations but not the investment to make them reliable or efficient.

Another thing is the time of the stop - very short. I think the train is in Shin Osaka for 3 minutes, at Kobe it is about 2 minutes. With their frequency and having 3 speeds of Shinkansen's (only the main stops say 5 between Tokyo and Osaka, add 4 or 5 stops on the middle speed, and add another 6 or so on the slowest one) with the longest one taking about 40 more minutes than the fastest between Tokyo & Osaka.

Their Shinkansen fares were not cheap, but realistically priced. The fares for the regular trains between Osaka & Kyoto were pretty cheap, about 600 yen for one way of about 45 miles. They carry the vast majority of commuters because it is faster and cheaper than any other alternatives. They also serve to collect pax for the Shinkansen's.
 
UpperDeck79
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:43 am

Quoting JayinKitsap (Reply 43):
Another thing is the time of the stop - very short.

And another thing is the frequency. You might have flights Tokyo-Osaka every half an hour, but the Shinkansen runs every 7th minute!!! (And before and after special holidays, even more frequently...)
AY and ANA rock!
 
Av8rDAL
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:15 pm

Have to share my ICE experiences:

Last March (2005). I needed to go from Cologne to Berlin. ICE was 90 EUR and 4 hours. Germanwings was 60 EUR and 1 hour. Germanwings won.

June 2001: Berlin Zoologischer Garten - Frankfurt a.M. Hbf on the ICE SPRINTER- 3.5 hours. Packed train, but it was still cool to have a nonstop connection between the two city centers. Checking in, waiting, boarding and flying the same route probably would have killed more time than the train.

I must say, if you get a rail pass, the trains are worth it and you are able to spend less time traveling and more time in the cities you visit.

Overnight trains though: Munich Hbf to Rome Termini, departs 9pm, arrives 10am. That's a rough ride on the train. I flew the same route and later took the train. I must say that I would gladly give dba my money rather than use Trenitalia and take my chances with the unpleasantness of riding overnight (but if you want an adventure, by all means, take that train).
Maintain thine airspeed, lest the Earth rise up and smite thee.
 
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RayChuang
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:26 pm

Actually, right now it appears only the routes between Tokyo and Osaka, Paris and Nice, and Paris and London is where high-speed rail can successfully compete against airline service.

Especially now that the British side of Eurostar is getting the high-speed trackage really necessary to reduce transit time between London and Paris. Which does reminds me: I've heard that they plan to replace Waterloo International station with a new station in London by 2010; does anyone know where will the new station will be?
 
vincewy
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:50 pm

Wow, 40+ replies once I return and great info too. Regarding aforementioned projects in US, I think the first HSL they need is Boston-New York-DC, the definition of this is, no other trains (traditional rails, freighters) share the lines, no railroad crossing, travels upward of 200 km/hr (newer lines will go upward of 300), , limited turning angel on tracks (perhaps someone can elaborate). Next of importance is between LA and Bay Areas, I have doubt over the network out of Chicago, as the connecting cities are much smaller, distances are also longer, modifying current lines might be more feasible.

Using that criteria, in Europe, only TGV network out of Paris is truly high speed rail, ICE (Germany) and ETR500 (Italy) are considered fast rails. Japan (except Akita and Yamagata), South Korea (TGV), and Taiwan (Shinkansen) would all be considered HSR.

Quoting TPEcanuck (Reply 36):
With highspeed rail making rail travel times to the major markets serves from this airport (Kaoshiung, Taichung, Tainan) similar to or quicker than air, one has to wonder how the airlines will survive

There were worries earlier about the fate of TSA-KHH and TSA-TNN, but TSA is right next to prime commercial areas with major tech firms across the river (Neihu), IMO those routes will stay, perhaps fewer flights with smaller aircrafts, catering mostly to business travelers. TXG will be gone, ask any cab drivers and no one is even willing to drive to the airport.
 
iwok
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RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:57 pm

Quoting Congaboy (Reply 13):
it would be great to see the Amtrak MetroLiner/Acela model in markets like MKE-CHI-IND, CLT-ATL-CHA-BNA, maybe even HOU-DAL-OKC where you could open the train up through low-density areas.



Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 16):
For those who may not be aware, here is the California government agency that is currently working on High Speed Rail plans in the state. Route selection is nearing completion, connecting in the first phase Los Angeles with San Francisco. The biggest remaining problem will be getting voter approval for bond sales to build the system.
http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/

For Los Angeles to Las Vegas a different group is working on a maglev system. The Federal govenment is currently working on environmental studies.

And the federal govt and special interests will be performing environmental studies for ever. Once the greens get involved, the train track will have to divert 100miles because of some friggin "endangered" desert weed, and then the NIMBY guys in the new location will fight to have it re-routed into Nevada, which would mean huge tunnelling costs and in the end we'll wind up with...

Quoting Airbazar (Reply 21):
So we ended up with an underfunded rail project with too many stops and not enough speed.



Quoting MarshalN (Reply 41):
That's a lot of time saved and you are in city center, not LGA or JFK. It's really a shame.

The sad think about the Boston-NY run is that the bus is usually quicker than train.

I fondly recall the years before 9-11; I used to show up at the airport about 20-minutes before the flight with my e-ticket and walk right up to the gate. Short-haul air travel was so much easier back then.

Having said all that, I'd love to have a Maglev network in the southwest. Wishful thinking..  Sad

iwok
 
Glareskin
Posts: 1002
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2005 9:35 pm

RE: Impact Of High Speed Rail

Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:20 pm

Quoting Flying Belgian (Reply 10):
My bet is that the plane will always be fatser than the train on the AMS-CDG run.
That said, the Thalys has placed BRU in a tricky position and it will hinder BRU's future the next years. The developpement plans in North-West Europe is very promising and a company like Thaly is increasing its profit and load factor every year.

 checkmark  AMS-CDG could not become a success IMO. The price for a ticket is too high, the travelling time too long and there are too many stops. If Ryanair or Easyjet is going to start service EIN - CDG Thalys doesn't have a chance! BRU-Paris Nord is OK but I still think the price is high.

Quoting Mir (Reply 30):
Shinkansen is the fastest in the world since it accelerates faster than the TGV or ICE

Hmm, you haven't heard of MAGLEV? Try a search on the German Transrapid system that is in operation in Shanghai, China.
There's still a long way to go before all the alliances deserve a star...