Ferroviarius
Topic Author
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High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:28 am

Good evening.

I should like to start a thread on the resp. advantages and disadvantages of High Speed Train Traffic and Air Traffic on certain high frequency traffic corridors. I am not aware that this subject would have been discussed any earlier.

Obviously, High Speed Trains will not be able to replace Airplanes on long distance routes, i.e. mainly routes crossing oceans or vast and more or less un-inhabited areas like Northern Siberia or the Sahara. Neither will high speed train lines be economically sustainable on city pairs as, e.g., Vancouver - Edmonton. However, traffic between the North East of the US and Chicago, or Chicago and the Pacific Coast, or the North East and Texas would, I do not doubt, economically justify new high speed rail links.

As has been demonstrated in Japan and Europe, noticeably France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and, to a somewhat minor degree, other countries, High Speed Trains, besides having a number of considerable technical and economical advantages as compared to airliners, can compete with the latter, provided the infrastructure, i.e. High Speed Train Lines, do exist and the distances between departure point and arrival point do not exceed a certain limit, which, itself is dependent on the actual speed of the trains on the resp. lines (i.e. a magnitude that changes with increasing train speeds). Tokyo - Osaka, Paris - Marseille, Cologne - Munich, Stockholm - Göteborg, London - Paris - Lyon - Avignon - Marseille, Milan - Rome, Madrid - Sevilla a.s.o. can be covered faster or within approx. the same time by train as by plane, and, since there are normally no such things like check-in times, ground transportation between Airports and City Centres, Security Checks, Baggage Limitation, "Fasten Seat Belts" a.s.o. on trains, are more convenient to travel by train. Also, night trains provide sleeping cars with private rooms a.s.o. so that one can cover long distances during the night without being more or less tired and "limp" on the next morning., although at a price, which might exceed a lot of traveller's budgets.
As far as I know, the maximum speed in commercial high speed train traffic is at present 350km/h, i.e. approx. 217 statute miles per hour or 189 knots.
At the same time (ref. newest edition of "La Vie du Rail"), the SNCF ("Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer", the french state railway system) is conducting trial runs on the new LGV Est ("Ligne à Grande Vitesse Est", i.e. high speed railway line between Paris and Strasbourg) employing a double decker TGV ("Train à Grande Vitesse" = High Speed Train) and have so far attained approx. 560km/h, i.e. approx. 348 statute miles per hour or 302 knots. Though the aim of these trials, more or less in-officially, might be to prove that there is no need for the Maglev, one might be inclined to assume that the results of these trials will result in commercial speeds on classic high speed lines in this magnitude within a foreseeable future.

Of course, a modern electric engine, thermodynamically, is much more efficient (roughly by a factor of two, since the efficiency of modern electric locomotives are, astonishingly enough, as large as >90% calculated "from the electric wire to the couplers", while the most efficient non stationary gas turbines might attain thermodynamic efficiencies of max. 50%) and much less pollutant than a gas turbine. Also, there is no dependency on oil. On the other hand, electric high speed train traffic has its technical challenges, e.g. the problem of the contact between the pantograph and the electric wire, the tunnel problems when crossing mountainous regions (two trains racing at speeds exceeding a certain limit and meeting in a tunnel will experience super sonic speeds relative to the streaming air, will have to be pressure isolated to compensate for the violent compression and de-compression effects and so on) but these problems can be solved.

So, will we, sooner or rather later (?), see high speed train lines between New York and Chicago, Chicago and the West, the North East and Texas? Which other lines?

Will there be the political will to challenge "the air industry"? Or will the ongoing discussions on CO2 reduction, the oile prices a.s.o. economically enforce the construction of high speed rail lines?

Will hence, e.g., JFK-ORD by air be history within a foreseeable future?

Thank you in advance for your comments on the issue.

Best,

Ferroviarius
 
deltairlines
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 6:07 am

The only real routes that would economically sustain HSR in the US are corridor-type routes. Right now, we have Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington as HSR; it's quite possible other corridors, most likely such as Los Angeles-Las Vegas, would be the best bet for HSR. Stuff like Northeast-Texas is well over 1000 miles; NYC-Chicago is about 750 miles, which is quite a haul for train travel.
 
flymeFASTER
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 6:27 am

Considering the success of HSR in Japan and Europe, it seems to be a no-brainer as being smart for the future in the USA. Unfortunately, when it comes to transit, much of the time the USA has no brains. Again, that's when it comes to transit. Sounds harsh, but I say that from experience as Pres./Founder of The Monorail Society, which follows ground transport advancements such as monorail and monorail maglev - http://www.monorails.org
Bigger planes & bigger windows? Thanks, but I'd rather you fly me faster!
 
TransWorldSTL
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 6:55 am

Quoting Ferroviarius (Thread starter):
However, traffic between the North East of the US and Chicago, or Chicago and the Pacific Coast, or the North East and Texas would, I do not doubt, economically justify new high speed rail links.



Quoting FlymeFASTER (Reply 2):
onsidering the success of HSR in Japan and Europe, it seems to be a no-brainer as being smart for the future in the USA.

The problem is, in the US, we would have to build above ground tracks almost the entire length of the lines, which would be extremely expensive.. And very few routes would have a high enough demand (at least, currently) to make it worth it for developers.
 
sw733
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:14 am

Quoting TransWorldSTL (Reply 3):
The problem is, in the US, we would have to build above ground tracks almost the entire length of the lines, which would be extremely expensive

Aren't most trains in the world above ground most of their length? And of course it's going to be expensive, but if they can do it in Japan and Europe (where there is less land and it's generally more expensive), why can't they do it in the USA? They can, but they wont, because it is not a public transportation based country.

I almost always pick a train over a plane unless I am on a connection from somewhere where it just doesn't make sense to swtich from a plane to a train. It's just so much easier and hassle free, flying is such a pain these days.
 
remcor
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:20 am

Quoting TransWorldSTL (Reply 3):

The problem is, in the US, we would have to build above ground tracks almost the entire length of the lines, which would be extremely expensive.. And very few routes would have a high enough demand (at least, currently) to make it worth it for developers.

Problem is you can't just throw some high speed rail between two city centers and call it a day. That's usually a plan doomed to failure. If you really want to revolutionize things you need a comprehensive city-to-city transport plan. This includes intra-city networks to get people TO and FROM the train station. Otherwise you'd need to rent a car, which might not make it cost effective for the passenger. It's really too bad that all those trolley lines in American cities were torn up many decades ago.

LA-Las Vegas might be a good choice if they can get the station within walking distance of the Strip. On holiday weekends that I-15 can be a nightmare drive.

[Edited 2007-03-10 23:21:19]
 
AA737-823
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:23 am

Wow, I like your post. I agree and disagree as follows:

Thermodynamically, you're right- rail cars (even inefficient rail loco's) are far more efficient means for transport than aircraft.
HOWEVER:

Quoting Ferroviarius (Thread starter):
Also, there is no dependency on oil.

Not necessarily correct. In this country, we generate our electricity from (primarily) nat gas, oil, and coal.

Otherwise, let me see...

The problem with the high speed rail is that it is slow. Even the speeds you've listed are far slower than jet aircraft. In this country (as elsewhere, but more so, because we're not willing to sacrifice anything in the name of ecology) we value SPEED. My time is worth more than anything else, so don't stand in my way.

Further, our rail system in this nation is NOT conducive to high-speed use. The northeast corridor, served by Amtrak's high (higher, anyway) speed Acela Express, is limited to only about 80-90 mph on the vast majority of its run, due to track quality. THIS MEANS, all new infrastructure would be required. That would cost a LOT of money, all in the name of replacing jet air travel, whose infrastructure is already in place.

I am a HUGE fan of trains, and ride them whenever it's practical (which, in this country, isn't often). But I don't see long distance high-speed rail ever becoming a reality for us. UNLESS the price of oil shoots upward, in which I see a tremendous rise in cross-country LOW speed rail. All else equal, slow is cheaper than fast. And that's the only motivation I can see for this nation to move 'backward' to rail use. High oil.

You might be interested to know that there is a group in Texas that is trying to push forward a high-speed rail link between Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston. I am in support of this effort in concept, and (ironically) so are American Airlines and Continental. See their website at http://www.thsrtc.com/

I think that medium distance high-speed rail has more potential than anything longer. In the USA, anyway.

R
 
StarGoldLHR
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:30 am

Quoting TransWorldSTL (Reply 3):
The problem is, in the US, we would have to build above ground tracks almost the entire length of the lines, which would be extremely expensive.. And very few routes would have a high enough demand (at least, currently) to make it worth it for developers.

Rubbish. It's all politics and peoples attitudes. The US could build much cheaper high speed lines than they cost in Europe due to the wider spread between cities, less legacy "land use" which means open land can be utilised faster.Just as in europe rail roads can run over land, and build tunnels / bridges over or under roads as required, rather than the network of "Level Crossings".

The US has 2500 miles of open country. In Europe we operate trains at ground level between pairs of cities geographically much closer than many US cities (London, Paris, Brussels etc etc).

To go 2500 from NY - San Francisco, would cover relatively few major cities... Pittsburg, Cleveland, Colombus, Chicago, Denver and so on.

To do the same in Europe (Lisbon, Madrid, Toulouse, Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Berlin and Warsaw).. many more cities/countries..

true.. a coast to coast US high speed line is unlikely, just as the same is true in Europe.. simply distance is too far. High Speed Rail can / will work upto 750 miles at 200mph before Airlines truly make sense over time. But this distance network doesnt exist at this distance either in the US or Europe, more likely 200-400 miles currently.


With a train of 200mph from New York to Chicago could be achieved non-stop in about 4.5 hours.
When you consider the 2 hour flight, 1 hour check in and 30 minute either side of the airport transfers to the city centre.. then Rail competes.

However Boston-DC doesnt work for the same reasons as Europe.. the land is too crowded.

DC-Florida, Florida-Texas, LA-Phoenix, LA-Vegas, LA-San Francisco, San Francisco-Seattle, San Francisco- Salt Lake city-Denver all could work (basically all the old 1950's traditional railroad routes), however they need their own lines, not shared railroad lines with freight etc etc.

Best hope for this is Union Pacific or CSX but it would require a major mind shift/mood swing in population thinking. Part of the problem is the current state of the railroads in the US.. Ive traveled by rail all over the world, as US trains are in a worse state than most regular Chinese railroads. Given this, to most Americans, the thought of riding for 4 hours in a highspeed tin of beans is akin to people flying 8 hours on a Tiger Moth, or sailing by Cargo ship to Europe.
They don't know how good it can really be.
So far in 2008 45 flights and Gold already. JFK, IAD, LGA, SIN, HKG, NRT, AKL, PPT, LAX still to book ! Home Airport LCY
 
TransWorldSTL
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:37 am

Quoting SW733 (Reply 4):

Aren't most trains in the world above ground most of their length? And of course it's going to be expensive, but if they can do it in Japan and Europe (where there is less land and it's generally more expensive), why can't they do it in the USA?

By above ground, I meant in the air.

Japan and Europe, as others have said, already have a public transportation infrastructure built up. In the US, only the Northeast Corridor has any really in depth form of public transportation.

US cities are for the most part, too suburbanized to have public transportation be very affective... If I wanted to, I could jump in my car right now and be at the mall in about 15 minutes... Or I could take the bus... If I took the bus, I would be there in about an hour and fifteen minutes... I could drive to STL (airport) in about 20 minutes.. Or, I could take the light-rail system.. That would take a little over an hour, not including me driving to the light rail station.
 
TransWorldSTL
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:41 am

Quoting StarGoldLHR (Reply 7):
Rubbish. It's all politics and peoples attitudes. The US could build much cheaper high speed lines than they cost in Europe due to the wider spread between cities, less legacy "land use" which means open land can be utilised faster.Just as in europe rail roads can run over land, and build tunnels / bridges over or under roads as required, rather than the network of "Level Crossings".

Well, here in the USA, most people have cars.. And if you put these tracks on ground-level, you would have A LOT of road crossings.. People don't like to stop at the crossings, even if there are gates/lights... Add a high-speed train to the mix, and you have disaster.

I just can't see something like this happening in the US for a VERY long time, as people would much rather fly.
 
eugdog
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:56 am

The rule of thumb is that business people will use the train if the overall trip is less then 3 hours compared to a 1 hour flight. For leisure travelors 5 hours is maximum before they choose the train (this according to the SNCF - this explains the need to bring the Paris Marseilles train journey to a maximum of 3 hours).

In the US the train should be competitive with the NY - Washington route. But New York (LGA) and Washington Airports (DCA) are very close to the city centre (as compared to most airports in Europe) so this put presure of trains to be less the 3 hours). Also the sheer convienicance of the Shuttle give travelors the option of turn up and go (but then security delays could work agains the planes)

Trains to Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland can never compete with the plane for business travellors as they could not really be under 3 hours unless new technology comes. Also the density of traffic is much lower then in Europe

Chicago may be 750 miles as the crow flies but the rail line will be much longer as it cannot go as the crow flies. Also whilst a train may reach a speed of 200mph it practice it will spend large amounts at less then that due to bends and gradients. So it highly unlikely that trains could bring NYC and Chicago within 4.5 hrs. The low density of traffic compared to in Europe also makes it far less economic.

Another problem with trains is that very few want city centre to city centre traffic. Most people will start or end their journey in the suburbs where there is more likely to be airport. This is because people tend to live in the suburbs and not in the city centre

Another advantage of airports is people can park their cars at the airport making it more practical if you coming from your home. I wanted to to Manchester from London- I chose the plane because the airport was one hour away and I could park there. To take the train would mean a tedious trip to the city centre by public transport. In London most people living in the suburbs are closer to an airport then to the city centre train station, (when I mean closer - i mean in time to get there by driving)

So overall the train has far limited use in the US then Europe.

[Edited 2007-03-11 00:05:44]
 
floridaflyboy
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 8:31 am

Quoting Eugdog (Reply 10):

I agree very much with essentially everything you said. There are significant markets in th U.S. that could potentially work for HSR, but in reality, the majority of the routes just can't compete with air travel because of the distances, and the convenience for business travelers, in my opionion. Welcome to my RU list.
Good goes around!
 
boysteve
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 8:34 am

As Eugdog has pointed out, 3 hours is the key. If the rail journey is 3 hours or less it will generally win a larger share of the market than air. The rules for business and leisure travellers maybe different but that all comes down to frequency of rail travel.

For example, In the 1990's the split between air and rail from Manchester to London was 50/50. The train ran every hour and took 2.5 hrs whilst the flight took 1 hour.
After 2000 the rail journey became a mess, it got a bit slower (2h 40 mins but longer at weekends) but was also unreliable with many train running late. The market split between rail and air dropped to 40%/60% in air's advantage
Since 2005 the rail is vastly improved. The journey is now 2h15m from London-Manchester on average, or 2h05m London-Stockport which is actually nearer to Manchester Airport. The train also now runs every 30 minutes throughout the day. The train now has 60% market share compared to 40% for air, a role reversal. From 2008 there will be a train every 20 minutes from London - Manchester and air will take a kicking again.
 
SJCRRPAX
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 8:49 am

Quoting Eugdog (Reply 10):
Another problem with trains is that very few want city centre to city centre traffic. Most people will start or end their journey in the suburbs where there is more likely to be airport. This is because people tend to live in the suburbs and not in the city centre

I'd just like to point out that at least in California, all major Airports (LAX, SAN, SJC, SFO, OAK) are closer to the city center than the suburbs. SMF is out of town but the city center is probably more convient than in the middle of nowhere north of town. HSR plan for California will connect quite a few of those airports (depending upon the plan which is implemented, I expect that for LAX, SAN, SJC, and SFO the HSR will arrive at an airport terminal instead of "downtown". It will also connect directly to BART and the "Baby Bullet Trains" in the SF bay area, the Trolly in San Diego, and I have heard the Metro Red Line in LA --- but that's all at least 16 years away if they start building today.
 
GAIsweetGAI
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 8:57 am

Quoting Ferroviarius (Thread starter):
Obviously, High Speed Trains will not be able to replace Airplanes on long distance routes, i.e. mainly routes crossing oceans or vast and more or less un-inhabited areas like Northern Siberia or the Sahara.

This idea may be a bit far-fetched, but it'll do a trans-Atlantic crossing in about 1 hour:
http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science...84010vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html

Quoting Ferroviarius (Thread starter):
560km/h

Are you sure it isn't 360 km/h? Or was this a trial run? (I may be getting confused.)
"There is an art, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
 
ozglobal
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:01 am

Quoting Ferroviarius (Thread starter):
As has been demonstrated in Japan and Europe, noticeably France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and, to a somewhat minor degree, other countries, High Speed Trains, besides having a number of considerable technical and economical advantages as compared to airliners, can compete with the latter.....

Quite. High speed trains are always better than air travel for distances up to around 1000km (600miles). Anyone who says otherwise is simply ignorant, inexperienced and unduly attached to parochial socio-economic thinking.

By high speed train, we do not me the 'half-pregnant' curiosities found in OECD countries who can never finish making up their minds about such infrastructure : Acela - USA, InterCity - UK, Tilt Trains - Oz; modern technology trains running at a third or less of their top speed due to non-investment in new high speed lines. The US, the UK and Oz have NO high speed trains.

Let me cite an example of the typically uniformed consumer opinion from these communities in relation to high speed rail travel:

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 6):
The problem with the high speed rail is that it is slow. Even the speeds you've listed are far slower than jet aircraft. In this country (as elsewhere, but more so, because we're not willing to sacrifice anything in the name of ecology) we value SPEED. My time is worth more than anything else, so don't stand in my way.


Wrong. High speed trains, ie. those cruising at around 300km/h (200mph) or more, over short to medium haul (up to 1000km (here after do the miles conversion yourself - good for your soul), are usually FASTER door-to-door than flying.

High speed lines are mult-billion Euro/Dollar investments that serve a nation for years to come. It is not a problem of cost / benefit, the business case is more than compelling. It all depends on your politics and attitudes (as another poster has stated). Nations who have a longer term planning horizon and see essential infrastructure as part of the common good build high speed rail networks (France, Germany, Japan). Nations who have a minimized notion of the common good invest public money in highways and view rail investment as borderline communist. This behaviour rewards a clutch of private trucking interests by building a free national logistics network for them, whilst the same trucking traffic represents 99% of the wear and tear on the roads. It also panders to the illusion of independence offered by private car travel. It's all about attitudes and bias.

Because high speed rail between short to medium distance city pairs is always better, faster and more comfortable, airlines normally down-scale capacity or even discontinue operations once the high speed line opens. e.g. Paris - Brussels 310km, 1:15 by TGV, Air France no longer fly this route, but code share with SCNF (railway). Air travel is now a poor second choice for routes such as Paris - Lyon, Paris - London, Paris - Bordeaux, Paris - Marsailles. When new lines open over the next two years. Paris - Strasbourg (June 2007), Paris - Turin and Paris - Cologne will all become faster by train door-to-door. Germany and Japan: same story.




Quoting TransWorldSTL (Reply 9):

Well, here in the USA, most people have cars.. And if you put these tracks on ground-level, you would have A LOT of road crossings.. People don't like to stop at the crossings, even if there are gates/lights... Add a high-speed train to the mix, and you have disaster.

Well, I don't want to shock anyone, but here in Europe most people have cars too. As for level crossings (road crossings) if you're serious about building a high speed line, you build a lot of overpasses and and bridges. In France the there are 1000's of km's of high speed line (300km/h +), 800 TGV's run daily and I don't believe there are any level crossings on the high speed track network.

It is beyond serious dispute that Boston- NY - Baltimore - Washington should have a high speed line. It does not today (I caught the Acela in Nov and it was still much better than flying: space, more comfort and city centre to city centre travel, but is NOT a high speed train).

It is nonsense to say that the US (or UK or OZ) for that matter cannot have a high speed train service because the rail network will not support it. How do you think Japan, France and Germany got their high speed networks?????? They INVESTED and BUILT them because the business case is there when you take a responsible, longer term view. Population densities in the N.E. of the US, the UK and the SYD-CBR-MEL corridor in Oz EXCEED the demand of many routes already operating in France and Germany on high speed line. The obstacle is pure political bias and ignorance of the benefits.

The TGV Europe Est line is current doing speed trials before opening in June and reducing travel time Paris - Strasbourg from 4:15 to 2:20. The target speed record is 570km/hr. As part of the same programme of work, SNCF hope to raise the cruising speed of the entire TGV network from 300 to 320 or even 360 km/h!
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
ozglobal
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:09 am

Quoting GAIsweetGAI (Reply 15):
Quoting Ferroviarius (Thread starter):
560km/h

Are you sure it isn't 360 km/h? Or was this a trial run? (I may be getting confused.)

360 is new target cruising speed. 570 is the target trail speed record. Old world record, also set by TGV, was 515. It seems from the first post, they have already hit 560km/hr on the current trials of the TGV Europe Est line.
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
SJCRRPAX
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:11 am

I have rode the TGV trains in France, and if we ever get our act together in California I hope we either buy Japanese or something home grown. Great train system in France, but the TGV trains seemed to have a side to side sway and on one journey I noticed two people had gotten motion sick, and I wasn't feeling that greatest either, another couple of hours and I probably would have lost it also and I have never had any air sickness on a plane.
 
scrubbsywg
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:11 am

I think it really depends. The eurostar is one great example. 2.5 hours travel time from paris to london, centre to centre. Its quite an amazing thing. and only need for 30 minute check in. It must be done right in order for it to work well.
 
ozglobal
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:14 am

Quoting ScrubbsYWG (Reply 19):
I think it really depends. The eurostar is one great example. 2.5 hours travel time from paris to london, centre to centre. Its quite an amazing thing. and only need for 30 minute check in. It must be done right in order for it to work well.

...Reducing to 2:15 in June.
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
ozglobal
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:19 am

Quoting SJCRRPAX (Reply 18):
I have rode the TGV trains in France, and if we ever get our act together in California I hope we either buy Japanese or something home grown. Great train system in France, but the TGV trains seemed to have a side to side sway and on one journey I noticed two people had gotten motion sick, and I wasn't feeling that greatest either, another couple of hours and I probably would have lost it also and I have never had any air sickness on a plane.

I don't doubt your experience, but the only reason this would happen is if the TGV is traveling at a reduced, but still 'elevated' speed on 'classic' (old) track which is not up to high speed specification. This is VIOLENT on the Acela on stretches of track between Washington and NY. I saw a steward thrown against a wall, lossing a tray of food on the Acela. I have ridden the TGV/Eurostar and Thalys endlessly and not experience any significant or sustained 'swaying'.
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
WunalaYann
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:37 am

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 16):
I don't believe there are any level crossings on the high speed track network

Better yet, there are none. Simply because basic railway regulations forbid level crossings at speeds higher than 160 kph (100 mph). That is one of the reasons why HSR infrastructures are so much more expensive than regular rail tracks. Roughly €8-to-15 million per kilometre, depending on topography, hydrography, geotechnical constraints, etc.

Regarding infrastructure costs, I would just mention the fact that airports ARE infrastructures and that they cost just as much if not more than 500 km of HSR. Not to mention running costs (staffing, maintenance, pollution, etc.).

All in all, you are looking at very comparable costs per km or passenger.

So in the end it comes down to social choices (I did not say "socialist", thank you very much). Looking at the sky in London or New York, and listening to the, hum, "music" of air traffic in such places, I personally believe that short-haul flights could be favourably replaced by HSR shuttles.

Cheers.
 
GAIsweetGAI
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 10:00 am

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 17):

Thanks for the clarification. (Just goes to show how distracted I am at times, like when I watch the French news.)
"There is an art, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
 
CXfirst
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 10:00 am

Quoting Ferroviarius (Thread starter):
Obviously, High Speed Trains will not be able to replace Airplanes on long distance routes, i.e. mainly routes crossing oceans

We have the technology to build ultra high speed trains, but not the funds. There was an article in a magazine I read about a year ago. It was about a proposed ultra high speed line going from London under the atlantic, surfacing on Southern Greenland going under water again and surfacing in Newfoundland and then going down to New York. The only problem was that they couldn't devolop it at that time as the technology was so new that it would cost far too much. However, they predicted in 2025 or so, it would be economically feasable.

-CXfirst
 
GAIsweetGAI
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 10:00 am

Quoting CXfirst (Reply 24):
There was an article in a magazine I read about a year ago. It was about a proposed ultra high speed line going from London under the atlantic, surfacing on Southern Greenland going under water again and surfacing in Newfoundland and then going down to New York.

This one?  Smile

Quoting GAIsweetGAI (Reply 15):
This idea may be a bit far-fetched, but it'll do a trans-Atlantic crossing in about 1 hour:
http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science....html
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CXfirst
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 10:52 am

Quoting GAIsweetGAI (Reply 25):
This one?

yes, but the article I read was in Norwegian and went into far more detail. It can be found on the internet (the article) but you have to be a subscriber to that particular magazine.

-CXfirst
 
LimaNiner
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 11:15 am

Rail infrastructure is expensive, so it doesn't make economic sense in a country as vast and sparsely populated as the U.S., except in areas like the Northeast. Remember that Germany and France are much more compact than the U.S.

Let's get quantitative: DM&E is currently planning to build 260 miles of rails for coal transport in Wyoming and South Dakota at a cost of US$6 billion. (Google it.) I don't know what portion of that goes towards the actual tracks vs. other stuff (the trains that run on it?). As an upper bound, let's assume the full $6 billion goes towards the cost of the tracks, and we can still discount that later. That's about US$23million per mile, even though the land it will be built on is essentially free (no offense to WY and SD)!

I doubt you could run anything even remotely approaching "high speed" over those rails.

Chicago to San Francisco is about 2,200 miles -- so if the cost scales linearly, and high-speed-capable tracks don't cost any more, we're talking about US$48 billion for the tracks alone. That'll buy you a couple of airports and a whole lot of planes...
 
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jetmech
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 11:21 am

G'day Ferroviarius  Smile,

Very interesting thread you've started here! I'm not too sure about this paragraph though;

Quoting Ferroviarius (Thread starter):
Of course, a modern electric engine, thermodynamically, is much more efficient (roughly by a factor of two, since the efficiency of modern electric locomotives are, astonishingly enough, as large as >90% calculated "from the electric wire to the couplers", while the most efficient non stationary gas turbines might attain thermodynamic efficiencies of max. 50%)

With a gas turbine, the entire energy cycle from "fossil fuel in" to "useful propulsive power out" takes place within the device itself. I have no doubts that an electric motor alone could have an efficiency of up to 90%, but if we consider the entire cycle again from "fossil fuel in" at the power station to "useful propulsive power out" at the wheels, the overall figure is likely to be much less than 90%. I would consider this to be a true measure of the thermodynamic efficiency of an electric locomotive compared to an "electric wire to coupler" comparison.

While I have no doubt that an electric locomotive would still be more efficient than an aircraft in terms of the amount of kg.km's achieved for a given energy input, part of this advantage would be from the physics governing the motion of trains and aircraft, not just the efficiency of the propulsive elements alone.

Regards, JetMech
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Yflyer
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 11:50 am

I doubt it will ever happen, but what I would like to are more airports with rail connections, and more airlines code sharing with railroads like CO does at EWR. Thus instead of flying a short hop to a hub, a traveler could instead travel by rail to that hub, and then catch a flight to his final destination. I once flew SMF-SFO-OGG, for example, and though I have to admit I absolutely loved the flight on an EMB120, I couldn't help but feeling a bit silly flying the less than 100 mile trip from Sacramento to San Francisco and thinking rail would be much more efficient on such a short leg. (For that specific example even an easy transfer from Amtrak to BART would be better than nothing)
 
articulatexpat
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 11:59 am

A couple of points about HSR in the United States. Earlier, FlymeFASTER commented that the US doesn't tend to make good choices with respect to transit investments. This is true. Even if HSR lines were established between appropriate city pairs, the lack of urban transit in those cities would offset the time savings. Rail works well in Europe, Japan, and Korea because railway stations in most major cities are quickly accessible via subways, light rail, etc. In California and in the Northeast Corridor cities, there are useful transit systems. In Texas and Florida, not so much. Many passengers are going to look at the ultimate time savings: why take the bullet train from Miami to Orlando if you'll have to spend the same length of time driving to a location in the suburbs? Might as well just drive.

I'm concerned about the US, though, because the country is not investing in infrastructure at a rate necessary to cope with the growing population. Even before the invasion of Iraq, the process of getting anything done (new bridges, new transport links, airport expansions, etc) had become a nightmare of NIMBYism, government foot-dragging, opposition from pressure groups (environmentalists, or groups opposed to transit or taxes). Sprawl is unsustainable. People are encouraged to move into the cities. Yet the prevailing sentiment seems to be to turn back the clock. Do nothing. Take the new runway project in Seattle: one lawsuit after another, on environmental grounds. As I understand the situation, the environmental due diligence has been done. The result will be more wetlands than before the project began. Or the messiness of the Bay Bridge replacement in Oakland. The Florida HSR project written into the state constitution, then shot down when the citizens became aware that they would (eek!) have to pay for it somehow. Yes, necessary projects are moving forward. But not enough of them, in my opinion, and not nearly as quickly as they are needed.

The Spanish government's goal for its HSR network has been to connect the major provincial cities to Madrid with a journey time of less than 4 (or maybe it was 4.5) hours. This cap seems to be a benchmark for the effectiveness of a train trip. At four hours, the train is competitive with air... especially in the US, where security procedures add so much time to each journey. Above that, flying is faster. The distribution of the major American cities, as well as the country's overall size, suggest to me that several discrete HSR networks would work best: the Pacific Northwest, California, the Midwest (centered on Chicago, perhaps), the Northeast, Texas, and Florida. Possibly even North Carolina: Raleigh to Charlotte. Trips from one region to another would usually still be faster by air. And trips within each region still ought to be enhanced by better-developed urban transit. And will this happen? No, unfortunately I don't think it will.
 
alexinwa
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:11 pm

Lets take SEA-PDX for example, if I could use a train that would do it in 1 1/2 hours I would never set foot on a flight again. If you take waiting time, security and all at the airports a train would crush flights on a segment like this. It comes to a push time wise and I'm betting the train would be alot cheaper.
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articulatexpat
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:19 pm

Quoting AlexInWa (Reply 31):
Lets take SEA-PDX for example, if I could use a train that would do it in 1 1/2 hours I would never set foot on a flight again. If you take waiting time, security and all at the airports a train would crush flights on a segment like this. It comes to a push time wise and I'm betting the train would be alot cheaper.

I've taken Amtrak Cascades SEA - PDX. Despite the great scenery and the clean, comfortable trains, there are only one or two trips per day: no time savings at all. There ought to be a train every hour on that route, at least, with possible intermediate stops only in Tacoma and Olympia. Otherwise, fly or drive.
 
alexinwa
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:21 pm

Well not to start a fight but you have 5xdaily service between SEA-PDX on Amtrak. Not all on the Cascade service.

However I will agree that hourly service with a stop maybe in Tacoma and Olympia would be huge,
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spacecadet
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:30 pm

Quoting LimaNiner (Reply 25):
Rail infrastructure is expensive, so it doesn't make economic sense in a country as vast and sparsely populated as the U.S., except in areas like the Northeast.

Then the obvious follow-up question is, why aren't we at least investing in areas like the Northeast?

Everybody who knows anything about Amtrak - including the head cheeses at Amtrak itself - knows that the Northeast Corridor could (and to an extent, does) support high speed rail on a large-scale basis. It *could* rival the Tokaido line in Japan. But it doesn't, not even close. Why not?

Don't even talk to me about Acela Express. I've ridden Acela Express, and I think it's a fun train to ride. But it has about an 86% on-time rate, it only reaches its relatively low top speed of 150mph at one point on its route from New York to Boston (and it feels like it's gonna leave the rails any second when it does), and trains are often taken out of service for unscheduled maintenance because the trains themselves were built with more sensitivity to political concerns than using proven technology.

If we can't even invest in high speed rail where we *know* it makes sense, then why are we so trusting of those that tell us it doesn't make sense in other areas? We haven't even *tried* it. We really have no idea. What we *do* know is that it works in every other industrialized country, including all of Europe with a land-mass as large as our own. We also know that the limited high-speed service we have here, despite being comparatively slow, using unreliable equipment that's often late even on its generous schedule, is both profitable and often sold out. The fact is people like high speed rail and they have proven that, even in the United States. So I don't buy it when people say real high speed rail wouldn't work here. The only reason it won't work here is because there are people in positions of power who have an *interest* in it not working here.

There are many corridors in the US where high speed rail would work. The NEC is just one of them.
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VonRichtofen
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:31 pm

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 6):
The problem with the high speed rail is that it is slow. Even the speeds you've listed are far slower than jet aircraft. In this country (as elsewhere, but more so, because we're not willing to sacrifice anything in the name of ecology) we value SPEED. My time is worth more than anything else, so don't stand in my way.

If you factor in the time it takes for all the BS at airports (getting there 1.5 hours before, checking in, security, etc. etc.) high speed trains are usually just as fast and often faster depending on the city pairing. Even if it's only just as fast it's much more hassle free and is much more efficient. There was a thing on Discovery Channel where they compared the two. They had two people leaving from the exact spot in downtown New York city. They both had to get to Washington DC. One by air, and one by Acela. The person who went by air arrived only 10 mins before the person who went by Acela, but the person who went by Acela was able to get much more work done during the trip because there's far less hassle.

High speed trains are the wave of the future, for many regions of North America HSR (high speed rail) just simply isn't feasible due to distances and relatively small market sizes, but as population densities grow you'll for sure see them more and more. Especially as the technology allows for ever more efficient and ever more faster trains.

Also, weather doesn't affect trains as much as planes. Often weather which cause many delays at airports would barely phase a rail network.

Kris
 
CXfirst
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 2:44 pm

Quoting AlexInWa (Reply 29):
If you take waiting time, security and all at the airports a train would crush flights on a segment like this. It comes to a push time wise and I'm betting the train would be alot cheaper.

If trains become popular to the millions, then it won't take long until security as strict as airports come, especially if there are more people per train than there are per airplane. However, trainstations will probably be closer to the city (but then again, there will be more congestion in the city).

-CXfirst
 
stirling
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 3:16 pm

Quoting LimaNiner (Reply 25):
we're talking about US$48 billion for the tracks alone

Or, a few months of war.
It's about priorities. What does the U.S. want more?

Quoting LimaNiner (Reply 25):
it doesn't make economic sense in a country as vast and sparsely populated as the U.S., except in areas like the Northeast.

I could think of many more....
The entire West Coast, from San Diego to Seattle, with limited stops, maybe Santa Ana, L.A., Bakersfield, Fresno, Oakland, Sacramento, Redding, Medford, Eugene, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Bellingham.
Also same thing on the East Coast, Miami to Boston, a route there would be more difficult to determine though between Georgia and D.C.
Minneapolis to Chicago
Dallas to Houston
San Antonio to New Orleans
Los Angeles to Phoenix (El Paso)
Chicago to Atlanta
Chicago to NYC
And a few more...

Quoting AlexInWa (Reply 29):
Lets take SEA-PDX for example, if I could use a train that would do it in 1 1/2 hours I would never set foot on a flight again.

If we ever had a train doing 360Km/H, the journey could be done in about 45 minutes!

Quoting SJCRRPAX (Reply 32):
Great train system in France, but the TGV trains seemed to have a side to side sway

Argh! The TGV I was on squeaked so much that my ears hurt!

The way things usually work tho', is to wait for things to deteriorate so badly that continued use is threatened, before anything is ever done....not just in regards to rail, but to all infrastructure projects in general. "Wait til it falls apart" is the only way things seem to get done nowadays.
I just read that nearly every bridge on I-5 in the state of Oregon needs to be replaced....at a cost of billions of dollars, the state admitting it used highway funds for other uses in the state budget over the last 30 years. Oregon is not an isolated incident.

Then there are the crippling effects of special interests. Look how long it has taken to rebuild the East span of the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge.

There is no question high-speed rail transportation would produce tangible benefits to the U.S. for decades to come, but finding the collective will to get such a project done could be close to impossible.
If we could find the same support for the military-industrial complex, and apply it to infrastructure improvement, there would be a national HSR network in this nation by 2020.

Whenever I look at the airspace over areas like NYC or SoCal on websites such as FlightAware, the traffic in the air is mindboggling to me....how much more can the system take....especially with the shift to smaller aircraft flying greater frequencies.

Priorities, priorities, priorities.
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SJCRRPAX
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 3:17 pm

(Repost w/o political baggage!)
California has a high speed rail plan, you can read about it at the states HSR website:

http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov

The plan has been approved (environmental impact) and awaits funding. Basically California will build it if the Federal Government will fund most of it. The operating and maintance expense is expected to be covered 100% from the fare box. They expect it will take 16 years to build from approval, at a cost of $25 Billion in 1999 dollars (A figure I am certain is off by maybe a factor of 10x) --- they must not have figured in land acquistions costs. Speed wise they expect that it will beat air travel between all major California Cities, I think mostly because you got to show up 2 hours early for flights, but who is to say the terrorists won't start targeting HSR, and cause a 2 hour wait for HSR also. One thing nice about air transportation is 100's of miles of track doesn't need to be protected from the bad guys. For you SAN fans, HSR will be built before your new airport.  rotfl 
One thing I can't figure out is why in the 1860's we could build a transcontinental railroad in a couple of years but now it takes 10 years to built a 10 mile BART (BAY AREA RAPID TRANSIT) extension or 16 years to built a new rail line from SAN to SFO,
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 3:29 pm

Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 34):
There was a thing on Discovery Channel where they compared the two. They had two people leaving from the exact spot in downtown New York city. They both had to get to Washington DC. One by air, and one by Acela. The person who went by air arrived only 10 mins before the person who went by Acela, but the person who went by Acela was able to get much more work done during the trip because there's far less hassle.

I used the UA Airways shuttle DCA-LGA once - only ONCE. It was an arduous task. DCA isn't bad at all, LGA is a cluster . . . .

I found that - all things considered - hopping the DC Metro from Springfield into Washington Union Station, connecting to Amtrak right to New York City was a far simpler, less stressful, much, MUCH more relaxing way to make your way from Washington DC to New York.

I also used Amtrak to get to Philly's 30th St Station - right down town, sure as hell beat screwing around with that nightmare airport known as PHL with their oh so personable staff.

Give me Amtrak on the Northeast Corridor anytime.


I've also found that from SAN to LAX, the best way to travel is again, by Amtrak. As is the Capital Corridor trains from SJC to SMF. I've used those rather than trying to navigate I-5 or US101 in California. Comfortable, generally on time, much more relaxing.

There is something to be said for rail travel, and dedicated high speed rail travel.

Quoting SJCRRPAX (Reply 37):
One thing I can't figure out is why in the 1860's we could build a transcontinental railroad in a couple of years but now it takes 10 years to built a 10 mile BART (BAY AREA RAPID TRANSIT) extension or 16 years to built a new rail line from SAN to SFO,

I can answer THAT question - especially in California . . . . you've got nine years of political "save the World", "Save the Spotted Tree Lizard", "NIMBY" BS to get through before the first tie can be laid or rail ordered. Same reason SAN can't get their act together on a new airport . . . Miramar was ideal, but the blasted NIMBY's killed that for you . . .

There's the problem. Eliminate that detritus and the problem would be solved.
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ozglobal
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:16 pm

Quoting Articulatexpat (Reply 30):
Quoting AlexInWa (Reply 31):
Lets take SEA-PDX for example, if I could use a train that would do it in 1 1/2 hours I would never set foot on a flight again. If you take waiting time, security and all at the airports a train would crush flights on a segment like this. It comes to a push time wise and I'm betting the train would be alot cheaper.

I've taken Amtrak Cascades SEA - PDX. Despite the great scenery and the clean, comfortable trains, there are only one or two trips per day: no time savings at all. There ought to be a train every hour on that route, at least, with possible intermediate stops only in Tacoma and Olympia. Otherwise, fly or drive.

 crazy   crazy  Uhhm... We are comparing a potential high speed train service with the airlines, not whatever 19th century service is in place today..... For the sake of any argument at least assume that train is configured with appropriate frequencies and travels at 200-250mph.
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ozglobal
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:21 pm

Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 33):
If we can't even invest in high speed rail where we *know* it makes sense, then why are we so trusting of those that tell us it doesn't make sense in other areas? We haven't even *tried* it. We really have no idea. What we *do* know is that it works in every other industrialized country, including all of Europe with a land-mass as large as our own. We also know that the limited high-speed service we have here, despite being comparatively slow, using unreliable equipment that's often late even on its generous schedule, is both profitable and often sold out. The fact is people like high speed rail and they have proven that, even in the United States. So I don't buy it when people say real high speed rail wouldn't work here. The only reason it won't work here is because there are people in positions of power who have an *interest* in it not working here.

There are many corridors in the US where high speed rail would work. The NEC is just one of them.

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VonRichtofen
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:29 pm

Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 33):

There are many corridors in the US where high speed rail would work. The NEC is just one of them.

You know what? I wonder if you really need huge population densities to make it work. For example, here in Alberta there's the corridor between Calgary and Edmonton. Calgary is just over 1 million and Edmonton is close to 1 million. There's some small cities between the two with Red Deer being the biggest. Anywho, there was talks about the feasibility of a high speed rail link going Calgary-Red Deer-Edmonton. Two seperate firms did a feasibility study and both gave it the green light. They were thinking proggessively not reactionary (I know, rare in North America), they looked at how a high speed rail would develope the corridor over the coming years, not just how it would do at this moment. It would allow people to work in Calgary, but live in Red Deer. This would help the traffic gridlock in all cities.

Kris
 
XT6Wagon
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:30 pm

I think alot of our european friends have no idea how spread out the American population is. I grew up in New Mexico. Its roughly the land area of Germany, yet has a couple million people.

The LA basin is a good example to, Something like 14million people IIRC, but the sprawl of the urban area is something like 150X100miles in the longest E-W and N-S if my memory serves me. So the number of square miles used is very large compared to many european cities, and the issues with collecting said population together for a rail intercity system to work is... difficult at best.

Last, you might want to know that flying is actually a very efficient way to go places if you are going very far.
 
ozglobal
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:42 pm

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 42):
I think alot of our european friends have no idea how spread out the American population is.

We understand very well and have in most cases traveled extensively in the US between said cities. If you take the time to read the discussions above, you will see that distance and density HAVE been taken into account in the proposed routes. City pairs reachable in under 4hrs by high speed rail are competitive with the airlines. Historic fact. Even the half-baked Acela competes with the airlines!

On another point, I'm from Australia and a lot of our American friends have no idea how spread out the Australian population is. (Country the same size as continental US, with a population of 23 million). Suburban sprawl is similar to the US phenomenon. However, the concertration of population in SYD and MEL with CBR in between represents the SECOND busiest air corridor in the world. That's right, busier that your US city pairs. There is a stronger case for a HST on this corridor than almost anywhere in the world. But the same 'conventional wisdom' based on bias, misinformation and vested interests prevents this step forward.

[Edited 2007-03-11 10:44:21]
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rootsair
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:48 pm

Quoting DeltAirlines (Reply 1):
Right now, we have Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington as HSR;

then wat is High speed for US train. I heard it does not exceed 200 km/h
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XT6Wagon
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:53 pm

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 43):
We understand very well and have in most cases traveled extensively in the US between said cities.

Where we do have the density, we don't have the ability to build the tracks and stations needed. Largely a matter of will, but far too many times by the time a forward looking project is funded and about to be built, once empty land is now built up and stupidly expensive to use for the project anymore.

Oh and corruption is a major major problem, seems like no project can get off the ground w/o someone buying massive amounts of land where its going to go, and around it. Then when its green lighted, they get paid far above what they paid, and keep the surrounding land to build commercial property with their new found money.

Certainly the 100+ years of near abandonment of the current rail network as a national resource hurts alot.
 
ozglobal
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:58 pm

Quoting LimaNiner (Reply 25):
Chicago to San Francisco is about 2,200 miles -- so if the cost scales linearly, and high-speed-capable tracks don't cost any more, we're talking about US$48 billion for the tracks alone. That'll buy you a couple of airports and a whole lot of planes...

To avoid speculation, here's a real figure for upgrading the rest of the Paris - Bordeaux line, from Tours to Bordeaux, to full LGV (linge grande vitesse) http://www.lefigaro.fr/eco/20070302....is_bordeaux_sera_tout_tgv_en_.html (in french, but figure is 5B Euros)
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
ozglobal
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 6:09 pm

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 16):


Quoting GAIsweetGAI (Reply 15):
Quoting Ferroviarius (Thread starter):
560km/h

Are you sure it isn't 360 km/h? Or was this a trial run? (I may be getting confused.)

360 is new target cruising speed. 570 is the target trail speed record. Old world record, also set by TGV, was 515. It seems from the first post, they have already hit 560km/hr on the current trials of the TGV Europe Est line.



Quote:
Update on the Record of 2007 (Wikipedia)

Operation TGV 150, where 150 again refers to a target speed in metres per second, is a series of high speed trials currently underway on the LGV Est, prior to its June 2007 opening. Operation TGV 150 is conducted jointly by SNCF, TGV builder Alstom, and LGV Est owner Réseau Ferré de France. The highest speeds are expected to be reached near kilometer post 190 on the LGV Est, between the Meuse and Champagne-Ardenne TGV stations, where the most favorable profile exists. Following a series of increasingly high speed runs, the official speed record attempt will take place on April 5 2007, with a target speed of 570 km/h.

TGV POS trainset number 4402 was modified for the speed trials, and is comprised of three specially modified Duplex cars, fitted with powered bogies similar to the AGV prototype, marshalled between the TGV POS power cars. The trainset has four more powered axles than trainset 325 in the 1990 speed record, and has a maximum power output of 26,820 hp.

The record was first broken unofficially on February 13, 2007 with a speed of 554.3 km/h, reached on the LGV Est at the level of the village of Passavant-en-Argonne.[1]


See also: Land speed records for rail vehicles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_speed_record_for_railed_vehicles

[Edited 2007-03-11 11:19:23]
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
eugdog
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RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:06 pm

Delighted witht the RU nomination by Floridaflyboy!

There are few other important comments about High Speed Train

Building new tracks in the US or in England would be much harder then in France. There would be massive local opposition which would delay and dramtically increase the cost. . In France local opposition is often ignored or not taken seriously because the county power base is so centered around Paris and due to its tradition of "dirigism".(the local planning consultation for a Nuclear power station in France takes about 3 weeks - the same consultation would take years in the UK) Also in England in the densely populated land is very expensive (the same in the US North East Corridor). In the 60s when land was much cheaper countries like Japan could easily afford to purchase the land to build trains - I do not think they could do it today!

Also trains operation is a fixed cost operation - so it needs a very high usage of tracks (on a per mile basis) to make it pay. You literally need revenue bearing trains running down the tracks every couple of minutes to make it pay. In a densely populated country this could be possible but in the US (except outside the NE corridor) I very much doubt it will pay. A link between San Francisco and Los Angeles is absurd. The traffic would be never be enough because there a no major cities in between except possibly Fresno.

In fact it does not even pay in the very highly densely populated UK - the country most suited to high speed travel - high speed trains will still need a subsidy to operate and need billions from government to lay down the track.

I was reading an article about in France that an flight to Marseilles is taxed at 50% but the TGV is subsidised at 50%!

There are external benefits of train travel that would justify subsidy (particularly in the UK with its overcrowded roads) but I think that the subsidy needed in the US would far exceed the external benefit except possibly in the north easet corridor
 
ozglobal
Posts: 2536
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:33 am

RE: High Speed Trains Vs. Air Traffic

Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:22 pm

Quoting Eugdog (Reply 48):
Building new tracks in the US or in England would be much harder then in France. There would be massive local opposition which would delay and dramtically increase the cost. .

Sounds like whining. It's all about attitudes and political will. Most of the objective parameters for determining the cast for a HST are well understood. The rest is a smokescreen for simply not WANTING HST's. We can build highways, airports and factories in these other countries, why not high speed railways? It's the inability to imagine things differently that is the greatest obstacle.



Quoting Eugdog (Reply 48):
In France local opposition is often ignored or not taken seriously because the county power base is so centered around Paris and due to its tradition of "dirigism"

An (English?) caricature. Source please? The planning of new TGV lines takes decades and is highly political and involves many rounds of consultation. Just look at the TGV website and the proposed future tracks after 2010. They are especially vague about exact routes due to the political sensitivities.

In summary, you seem to be saying, no credit to the French, nothing to learn from their experience: It was easy for them and hard or impossible for us. Could this not be just unimaginative, fatalistic and cowardly thinking in the face of the challenges and potential benefits in the US and UK?

Quoting Eugdog (Reply 48):
I was reading an article about in France that an flight to Marseilles is taxed at 50% but the TGV is subsidised at 50%!

Source?

The concept you raise of external benefits is a key one. What is the total cost of ownership and the total benefit of ownership of road vs rail vs air for a nation. This is a vital and rich reflection to undertake.
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.

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