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DocLightning
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:57 pm



Quoting Seb146 (Reply 48):

As far as the United States, if those studies were correct, why, then, is there rail service like Sounder, ACE, CalTrain, Coaster, and Metrolink as well as Amtrak Cascades service that is always near or completly full? If these trains were such a bad investment, why are they around?

Probably because no such studies exist and he's just married to his car. This American closed-mindedness and complete unwillingness to change our ways will destroy the country if we don't combat it.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
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DfwRevolution
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:36 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 50):
This American closed-mindedness and complete unwillingness to change our ways will destroy the country if we don't combat it.

Doc, that is quite an exaggeration. The public prefers driving cars for a reason. Instead of forcing people into a mode of transportation against their will, we should find ways to keep the personal vehicle a viable mode of transportation in the future. Unless of course, you just want to control people's lives...  duck 

When Texas was pursuing the massive TTC highway corridor, I actively opposed its construction in favor of high-speed rail. I used the resources at my disposal including the Texas A&M Civil Engineering department to make the best case I could to my State Rep for high-speed rail. What I found was that it's far from everything it's cracked-up to be.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 42):
Then the "studies" are WRONG. Sorry, but Japan, Spain, Germany, France all prove those "studies" WRONG.

MOBflyer is more right than wrong

1. Japan, Spain, Germany, and France are not the United States; and the Japanese, Spanish, Germans, and French are not Americans. There are legitimate differences in culture that change the travel patterns of these different peoples.

2. The French claim that TGV Sud-Est was developed for under $15 billion and repaid in under 12 years. That's a better business case than the Boeing 777. So why has every private attempt to finance a high-speed rail system in the U.S. failed? Either because reality isn't as good as the French claim or the example of SNCF isn't applicable to U.S. corridors.
I have a three post per topic limit. You're welcome to have the last word.
 
MOBflyer
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:40 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 42):
Then the "studies" are WRONG. Sorry, but Japan, Spain, Germany, France all prove those "studies" WRONG. For distances of under 300 miles, the trains DO pay for their investment, they DO stimulate economic growth, they DO run full. And no there is NOTHING magical about the crowded corridors of the U.S. to make it not so here. That's why Acela Express, even with its crappy, slow, late service, has over 50% of the market share on the DC-NYC-BOS corridor.

Do you know the capital outlay required to upgrade the tracks to handle passenger service in speeds of more than 79 MPH? Compare that to what it costs to enable them to handle 79 MPH. The countries that you mention all receive atleast capital funding from the government.

Quoting Seb146 (Reply 48):
As far as the United States, if those studies were correct, why, then, is there rail service like Sounder, ACE, CalTrain, Coaster, and Metrolink as well as Amtrak Cascades service that is always near or completly full? If these trains were such a bad investment, why are they around?

They might be full. They don't pay the bills. The NE Corridor pays its operating costs, but does not pay its capital costs.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 50):
Probably because no such studies exist and he's just married to his car. This American closed-mindedness and complete unwillingness to change our ways will destroy the country if we don't combat it.

Woa.... not even sure where to start. I think that mass transit via rail has the real chance of being profitable, but as a business case, most conditions do not warrant upgrading the tracks >79 MPH. Sure, you'll have more passengers when its faster. But in most cases you won't have enough to make the upgrade worth it.
 
MOBflyer
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:47 pm

As a side to what I posted above, in my analysis and preparation of my business plan, (which won first place, btw.... and I'll be in CA in April to compete Internationally), I found that conventional rail (up to 79 MPH) in a dual class configuration, light freight accommodations, with ancillary revenue streams (like concessions, ads, checked luggage, seat selection, etc).... with a frequency most often of 4x daily, provided the greatest ROI.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:55 pm



Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 52):

Woa.... not even sure where to start. I think that mass transit via rail has the real chance of being profitable, but as a business case, most conditions do not warrant upgrading the tracks >79 MPH. Sure, you'll have more passengers when its faster. But in most cases you won't have enough to make the upgrade worth it.

You think. You quoted a study. Now let's see it. And let's see how that study reconciles itself against the raw fact that AVE, TGV, ICE, and Shinkansen all turn a profit. They do this because their infrastructure and operation is good. On-time rates approach 100% and capacity is so enormous that CSM's are absurdly low (around 5¢/mile).

The reason Acela doesn't turn a full profit is because it simply is not competitive enough. If it were a true high-speed rail line that connected Boston and New York in about 1.5-2 hours with 99+% on-time reliability, the airlines wouldn't have a prayer on those routes.

BTW, do you think that airlines pay their capital costs? Who builds airports? Taxpayers. Who builds roads? Ports? Taxpayers.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
Klaus
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:15 am



Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 51):
The public prefers driving cars for a reason. Instead of forcing people into a mode of transportation against their will, we should find ways to keep the personal vehicle a viable mode of transportation in the future. Unless of course, you just want to control people's lives...

Rubbish!

I'm in no way "forced" to use the ICE, I want to in many cases.

I have a car, but even with autobahn routes without speed limits (in large parts) it is still tedious to drive (for a car) longer distances when I can just as well relax or even work while racing towards my destination at speeds I could never hope to reach on the road, not even with a Ferrari.

Flying, on the other hand, only starts becoming a viable option when its significant overhead is offset by the greater speed once you're airborne at long last, plus the commute in and out of the airport et cetera.

No, for medium-range travel high-speed rail can be a convenient, relaxing and very practical alternative which neither car nor airplane can really compete with.

You're speaking like someone who doesn't know what he's talking about.
 
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seb146
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:38 am



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 50):
Probably because no such studies exist and he's just married to his car. This American closed-mindedness and complete unwillingness to change our ways will destroy the country if we don't combat it.

The funny thing is: I love my car. I love going on road trips. However, if I have to go to Seattle, I would much rather take Cascades than that horrid I-5 crawl between Olympia and Seattle, plus all those idiot drivers in Seattle who don't understand the signs that say "Speed Limit 55" means they can safely go up to 60MPH (sometimes more) but end up compromising at 30...

Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 52):
They might be full. They don't pay the bills. The NE Corridor pays its operating costs, but does not pay its capital costs.



Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 52):
but as a business case, most conditions do not warrant upgrading the tracks >79 MPH. Sure, you'll have more passengers when its faster. But in most cases you won't have enough to make the upgrade worth it.

Tri-Met (Portland area) just built it's first commuter rail. It runs between Beaverton and Wilsonville. Before they could run the train sets, they had to upgrade the tracks. That ment putting down ties that are made out of concrete and rebar instead of traditional creosote soaked wood. Commuter trains on this line are allowed to travel up to 65MPH. If this were such a bad idea with no capital return, they never would have done it, right? Not one auditor threw up a red flag about upgrading the tracks. The trainsets, however, is another story.

As far as Portland-Seattle, I don't even think a track upgrade would make a difference. Cascades would still have full trains.
You bet I'm pumped!!! I just had a green tea!!!
 
Flighty
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:42 am

The funny thing about high speed rail is that generally, cars are far more environmentally friendly. Trains use a hell of a lot of energy to move just 100 to 300 humans.

Freight trains are amazing, super efficient. But passenger trains... let alone high speed rail...
 
Klaus
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:53 am



Quoting Flighty (Reply 57):
The funny thing about high speed rail is that generally, cars are far more environmentally friendly. Trains use a hell of a lot of energy to move just 100 to 300 humans.

Good luck finding a car which is more economical per passenger while running at 300kph sustained speed, especially when it's being driven alone.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:35 am



Quoting Flighty (Reply 57):
The funny thing about high speed rail is that generally, cars are far more environmentally friendly. Trains use a hell of a lot of energy to move just 100 to 300 humans.

And that energy can come from any source, including hydro-electric, geothermal, wind, nuclear, and solar. Cars have to burn fuel.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
Flighty
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:47 am



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 59):
And that energy can come from any source, including hydro-electric, geothermal, wind, nuclear, and solar. Cars have to burn fuel.

I dunno, it's just not that convincing. People have this happy idea that passenger rail, or high speed rail is some sort of wonderful Xanadu that is super efficient and clean. But rail has many shortcomings. You can't stop for a little detour. You have to depart at the same time, driving to the station and waiting around.

Even if everything goes right, I doubt LAX-PHX by HST is more efficient than travel by minivan, or travel by 737. Each of those is around 70 passenger miles per gallon, assuming 3.5 people in the minivan, give or take. Can a train do the trip for similar efficiency?

High speed trains are more of a glamorous public works project, a showcase, but to me the numbers do not work out. If we want to save energy, there are better ways. I am all for saving energy and cutting our oil dependence. Is this the way?... Or is it just a simplistic baby step, while we refuse to tax oil at the national level more at the national level?
 
MOBflyer
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:54 am



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 54):
You think. You quoted a study. Now let's see it. And let's see how that study reconciles itself against the raw fact that AVE, TGV, ICE, and Shinkansen all turn a profit. They do this because their infrastructure and operation is good. On-time rates approach 100% and capacity is so enormous that CSM's are absurdly low (around 5¢/mile).

http://www.southernhsr.org/RepStudies.html

http://www.sehsr.org/reports.html

Those are the two most frequented report depositories that I used in preparing my project. None of them put in to text what their tables and data showed (regarding the more economic stimulation being via increased frequency than increased speed) because the goal of these organizations is to initiate HSR in their respective district - not conventional rail. But you can dig through them and see it yourself.

AVE, TGV, ICE, and Shinkansen all recieve assistance from the government, be it capital expenditures, or debt absorption.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 54):
BTW, do you think that airlines pay their capital costs? Who builds airports? Taxpayers. Who builds roads? Ports? Taxpayers.

Yes, and if your objective is to provide the best public utility, then increased speed fits well with that. But, as I said, the most economical method of stimulation is in frequency - and a for-profit business is interested in making money. Its like the yield vs market share argument in airlines.
 
Klaus
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:15 am



Quoting Flighty (Reply 60):
High speed trains are more of a glamorous public works project, a showcase, but to me the numbers do not work out.

Nonsense. Well-implemented systems keep showing that they become essential infrastructure rather quickly, boosting the entire economy in the connected regions. When you simply don't have one it is easy to overlook the potential. When you do, however, it is hard to miss.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 60):
If we want to save energy, there are better ways. I am all for saving energy and cutting our oil dependence. Is this the way?

High-speed rail does not compete with either car or airplane. It fills a need rather well for which both car or airplane are second-rate solutions. At a comparable effective speed the train will usually be more efficient (and as mentioned above it can use more environmentally friendly energy sources, too). And that applies both in the low-speed region and in the high-speed region which cars can't even reach realistically.

Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 61):
AVE, TGV, ICE, and Shinkansen all recieve assistance from the government, be it capital expenditures, or debt absorption.

Road traffic receives positively massive public subsidies. That cars were somehow the "market solution" is quite a misunderstanding once you leave pure ideology behind.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:15 am



Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 61):

Yes, and if your objective is to provide the best public utility, then increased speed fits well with that. But, as I said, the most economical method of stimulation is in frequency -

Again, cars provide infinite frequency and yet people choose to take trains and planes. Your contention does not stand up to a simple analysis.

As it happens, trains do provide the opportunity for higher frequency than aircraft do. Because they operate on a single right-of-way, you can have a train leave as often as every 15 minutes. You don't get much of an economic advantage by adding more cars to a train. It's not that much more expensive to operate ten 5-car trains than it is to operate 5 ten-car trains. The razor-tight timing used on HSR systems makes such frequency possible. In fact, RENFE has some 30 trains daily from Madrid to Barcelona. The only limit to the capacity of a single train is platform length. Thus, trains offer both a capacity and frequency benefit over air travel.

Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 61):

AVE, TGV, ICE, and Shinkansen all recieve assistance from the government, be it capital expenditures, or debt absorption.

As do the airlines. In the form of bailouts, bankruptcy protection, transport infrastructure, etc.

Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 61):
But you can dig through them and see it yourself.

which report and which page?

See, these governments would not be installing HSR unless there were an economic benefit. There is a benefit to the economy with being able to move people and goods quickly, inexpensively, and reliably. The initial investment in HSR is expensive, but once in operation, a high-frequency, high-capacity line can provide revenues that quickly overcome those costs.

The government money invested into rail infrastructure comes from GDP, which is stimulated by having a good transit network. Think of how much money is lost every time a plane is delayed by 3 hours due to congestion or weather. Important meetings get delayed, deals can't be made, time is wasted, and money is lost. This poor investment in infrastructure has hurt America's economy terribly.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
tz757300
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:08 am

Maybe a bit off topic, but what do you guys think that needs to be done to the Northeast Corridor to support high(er) speed rail than it currently is capable of handling? I heard that and upgrade of the caternary on the WAS-NYP portion is mandatory.
 
FlyDeltaJets87
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:18 am



Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 31):
Actually, maximum speed on standard tracks is 220 km/h (notably on the Tours-Bordeaux and Le Mans-Nantes lines), and 320 km/h on high-speed tracks (the entirety of the TGV Est and the Avignon-Marseilles lines).

The ICE train in Europe does 320 kph. I took a picture of the speedomter they have inside the passenger car as it was reading 319 kph or so while we were on the ICE train going between Kaiserslautern and Paris.

Quoting Leskova (Reply 21):
Quoting IgneousRocks (Reply 10):
Although the environmental lobby would tie up the project for years and double or triple its eventual cost.

Which would be kind of absurd... they'd be delaying a project which would have just about the best long-term environmental impact possible...

No one said environmentalists were logical.....

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 54):
BTW, do you think that airlines pay their capital costs? Who builds airports?

But didn't Northwest pay for a good chunk of the World Gateway in DTW?
"Let's Roll"- Todd Beamer, United Airlines Flight 93, Sept. 11, 2001
 
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LTU932
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:08 am



Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 49):
I am not sure if you deliberately speak of yet-to-be-built rail infrastructure, but you leave out half of France (basically the north-south imperial lines whose electrification started before WWII), Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium who use direct current (1500V in France and the Netherlands, and 3000V in Italy and Belgium) on non-high-speed lines.

Yeah, I generalise a bit, I shouldn't have done that. Nevertheless, I did say that some trains can run on both DC and AC power.  Wink

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 47):
Some trains across the board however, can be fitted as multisystem trains, so they can work under different electric currents and even under DC power,

Quoted for emphasis.

Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Reply 65):
The ICE train in Europe does 320 kph.

That's the ICE 3 which does that, and it needs high speed rail tracks to actually get to 320 km/h (otherwise, it can't probably do more than 300 km/h). The ICE 3 can do up to 330 km/h, while the older generation ICE 1 (BR 401) and ICE 2 (BR 402) can't do more than 280 km/h.
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:34 am



Quoting Klaus (Reply 55):
I'm in no way "forced" to use the ICE, I want to in many cases.

And as I said, I don't think you represent the attitude of an average American.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 55):
You're speaking like someone who doesn't know what he's talking about.

Like I said, I set out to prove high-speed rail would be a viable option in Texas by using the resources of the Texas A&M Civil Engineering Dept. I also interviewed experts at the Texas Transportation Institute. I came to the opposite conclusion which I set out to prove. I feel entirely confident saying my opinion is far more grounded in reality than yours, as it applies to passenger rail in the United States (and in particular, Texas).

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 63):
The government money invested into rail infrastructure comes from GDP, which is stimulated by having a good transit network. Think of how much money is lost every time a plane is delayed by 3 hours due to congestion or weather. Important meetings get delayed, deals can't be made, time is wasted, and money is lost. This poor investment in infrastructure has hurt America's economy terribly.

I would agree that the infastructure in the United States is not optimal.

However, the frequency for which "infastructure" is being cited as an economic woe these days is laughable. Infrastructure becomes an economic impediment when the inability to transport a good, service, or person prevents an economic transaction. That does happen in our current transportation network, but on the list of "economic impediments," infastructure isn't even close to being in the top-10. Maybe not the top-50. Infrastructure projects are being trotted out as a convienient means to funnel money into government spending and pork projects.

Regulatory policy, tax code, and the current state of the financial services sector trump infastructure as an impediment to economic activity ten gazillion to one.
I have a three post per topic limit. You're welcome to have the last word.
 
Klaus
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:12 am



Quoting Klaus (Reply 55):
Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 51):
The public prefers driving cars for a reason. Instead of forcing people into a mode of transportation against their will, we should find ways to keep the personal vehicle a viable mode of transportation in the future. Unless of course, you just want to control people's lives...

Rubbish!

I'm in no way "forced" to use the ICE, I want to in many cases.



Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 67):
And as I said, I don't think you represent the attitude of an average American.

Attitudes change with opportunity. At this point, americans don't have a choice.

And given the experience in countries which actually have both a well-developed road network and high-speed rail, the expectation that people just wouldn't care based only on asking people who've never seen a high-speed train up close is quite a bit less than plausible.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:46 am



Quoting FlyDeltaJets87 (Reply 65):

But didn't Northwest pay for a good chunk of the World Gateway in DTW?

They are the primary lessor, but *I* as a Michigan taxpayer at the time, paid for it. The government paid the capital costs, NWA, like RENFE, SNCF, ICE, and Shinkanesn, is paying the costs back with revenue.

The same is true of the new North terminal.

Quoting TZ757300 (Reply 64):
Maybe a bit off topic, but what do you guys think that needs to be done to the Northeast Corridor to support high(er) speed rail than it currently is capable of handling? I heard that and upgrade of the caternary on the WAS-NYP portion is mandatory.

That's part of it. They also need to straighten the tracks in some place, which is going to mean flexing some eminent domain muscle and knocking some people out of their homes. And they need to get rid of at-grade crossings.

There is no reason that the average line speed shouldn't be at least 120 MPH. That would make the trip 2 hours instead of the 3.5 it is right now.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
dragon6172
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:16 am

Is there any way high speed freight would be profitable? I am guessing the answer is no, but just wondering what the opinions were.
Phrogs Phorever
 
AverageUser
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:34 pm



Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 49):
out half of France
Netherlands and Belgium
France and the Netherlands
Italy and Belgium) on non-high-speed lines.

Here's something in the "meanwhile, in another galaxy" vein, tadaa, it's the former SU!

Legend to the map:
Pink: lines being built or projected lines.
Dirt: closed down lines
Purple: unelectrified lines
Blue: 1,5 / 3 kV DC lines
Green: 25 kV AC lines
(pale version of the above three: freight traffic only)

http://www.parovoz.com/maps/supermap/supermap-small.png


Do I see someone surveying the total length of the (DC) network already?
 
AverageUser
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:44 pm



Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 67):
Like I said, I set out to prove high-speed rail would be a viable option in Texas by using the resources of the Texas A&M Civil Engineering Dept. I also interviewed experts at the Texas Transportation Institute. I came to the opposite conclusion which I set out to prove. I feel entirely confident saying my opinion is far more grounded in reality than yours, as it applies to passenger rail in the United States (and in particular, Texas)

Sorry for bumping, but I think you could elaborate that claim. What made you confident Texas can't perform where a second-tier state like Finland can? Did you guys study succesful foreign projects and their ridership sociology at any depth?
 
Boeing74741R
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:27 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 69):
There is no reason that the average line speed shouldn't be at least 120 MPH. That would make the trip 2 hours instead of the 3.5 it is right now.

And with journey times cut that big it would spike a huge increase in passenger numbers. When HS1 was opened in stages linking London with the Channel Tunnel, each stage gut 20mins off the journey time to Paris/Brussels, and each time Eurostar experienced a sudden increase in passenger numbers.
 
JJJ
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:23 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 18):
AVE runs on the same gauge as the rest of Europe. Cercanías runs on wide-gauge. Spain is trying to switch their entire system over, but it's not exactly a simple program.

It's not going to happen. Talgo is a world leader in gauge-change systems (that's the reason there are services from Spain to Paris, Geneva and Milan) and the future is HSR which already runs on a common gauge.

Quoting Cpd (Reply 30):
One of the attractions of TGV is that it can run on the same tracks as all the other trains operated by SNCF.

The case with RENFE/AVE is slightly different. Some slower trains run on the HSR tracks but increase the number of stops (Avant), a sort of high-speed regional train.

That said, there is a TGV-derived train running on Iberian gauge in Spain: the Euromed between Alicante and Barcelona. Runs on the standard track so it can just hit 220 in some places (it's been tested up to 250 km/h, though).
 
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DocLightning
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:39 pm



Quoting Boeing74741R (Reply 73):

And with journey times cut that big it would spike a huge increase in passenger numbers. When HS1 was opened in stages linking London with the Channel Tunnel, each stage gut 20mins off the journey time to Paris/Brussels, and each time Eurostar experienced a sudden increase in passenger numbers.

Yup. Right now, the Acela trainsets are only about 5 cars. If they increased average line speed from >80 to 120MPH it would probably double ridership. That could either double frequency or double trainset length.

The other thing is that they need to get off this Business Class-Only high horse. Every other system has tourist class and Acela should, too.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
MOBflyer
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:01 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 75):
The other thing is that they need to get off this Business Class-Only high horse. Every other system has tourist class and Acela should, too.

The business class fares barely pay the operating bills, not the capital ones. How do you even remotely expect to be able to make the case for introducing economy seats?

I guess this entire argument boils down to whether you believe that HSR should be operated as a public service or a private enterprise.... where I doubt very seriously we will see eye to eye.
 
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seb146
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:28 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 75):
The other thing is that they need to get off this Business Class-Only high horse. Every other system has tourist class and Acela should, too.

That was something I did not know. Amtrak Cascades uses Talgo trainsets. They offer both Business and Economy/Coach seating. Business is a little more, but quiet and has a few more amenaties. During the summers, sometimes they have two Talgo trainsets running together because they are so overbooked.
You bet I'm pumped!!! I just had a green tea!!!
 
PPVRA
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RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:46 pm

Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 76):


I guess this entire argument boils down to whether you believe that HSR should be operated as a public service or a private enterprise.... where I doubt very seriously we will see eye to eye.

Are you willing to privatize airports and highways? (I am) Put them all (highways, rail, air) on equal footing. Internalize capital costs and let the market figure out what's the best mix of all of these modes of transportation.

Short of that I can only see niche markets for private passenger rail. Imagine paying property taxes on every mile on the thousands of miles built all over the country. Completely insane when airlines and cars get airports and highways built for them and operate in them at-cost, and whoever runs them have no taxes to pay.

Quote:
At the same time, railroads carried a substantial tax burden. A World War II-era excise tax of 15% on passenger rail travel survived until 1962. Local governments, far from providing needed support to passenger rail, viewed rail infrastructure as a ready source for property tax revenues. In one extreme example, in 1959 the Great Northern Railway, which owned about a third of one percent (.34%) of the land in Lincoln County, Montana, was assessed more than 91% of all school taxes in the county. To this day, railroads are generally taxed at a higher rate than other industries, and the rates vary greatly from state to state.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak#Taxation

[Edited 2009-03-02 10:52:09]
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
ME AVN FAN
Posts: 12970
Joined: Fri May 31, 2002 12:05 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:08 pm



Quoting Mdsh00 (Reply 1):
how many times a high speed train would have to slow down or stop in order to let a freight train pass.

-
Passenger trains always have priority over freight trains. Which means that it is the freight trains which have to stop to let passenger trains pass.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 9):
They operate on standard gauge tracks,

-
ICE and TGV also operate into Switzerland and use the normal tracks

Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 41):
over reasonable distances for HSR, the "investment" in upgrading tracks to take speeds higher than 79 MPH for passenger trains does not pay off

-
A) what is "reasonable" ? I mean NY-LA would be like Paris-Moscow, a distance I regard as a bit extreme for rail-travel.
B) But in European countries with high-speed-trains, the investments DID and do pay off.
 
MOBflyer
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:42 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:36 pm



Quoting PPVRA (Reply 78):
Short of that I can only see niche markets for private passenger rail. Imagine paying property taxes on every mile on the thousands of miles built all over the country. Completely insane when airlines and cars get airports and highways built for them and operate in them at-cost, and whoever runs them have no taxes to pay.

Private railroads (read: freight railroads) own their tracks, and pay taxes on them as it is.

Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 79):

-
Passenger trains always have priority over freight trains. Which means that it is the freight trains which have to stop to let passenger trains pass.

Not in America. Passenger trains run on tracks owned by freight companies.... and passenger traffic yields to freight traffic.

Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 79):
A) what is "reasonable" ? I mean NY-LA would be like Paris-Moscow, a distance I regard as a bit extreme for rail-travel.

I don't think LA-NY makes sense in any way for HSR... reasonable city pairs typically don't exceed 600 miles in distance.

Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 79):
B) But in European countries with high-speed-trains, the investments DID and do pay off.

No they did and do not. Perhaps as a social case, but not as a business one. I wish people would quit saying that they did something that they did not. The increased revenue that the investment brought in does not pay off the initial investment. Thats why their governments have to invest in their capital projects.
 
Klaus
Posts: 21573
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:45 pm



Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 80):
No they did and do not. Perhaps as a social case, but not as a business one.

That is pretty much the difference between long-term public investment and short-term shareholder thinking: A well-run state will invest in infrastructure which in total will turn a profit and which will strengthen the economy as a whole. Private enterprise does not and generally can not fulfill that role.
 
WunalaYann
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:55 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:08 pm



Quoting Flighty (Reply 60):
Can a train do the trip for similar efficiency?

There's this thing called nuclear power, that produces zero GHG.  Wink

Try finding a plane, car or ship that can match this.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 62):
Road traffic receives positively massive public subsidies.

So does air traffic.

Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 80):
Not in America. Passenger trains run on tracks owned by freight companies.... and passenger traffic yields to freight traffic.

And no one said things could not change.  Smile

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 69):
That's part of it. They also need to straighten the tracks in some place, which is going to mean flexing some eminent domain muscle and knocking some people out of their homes. And they need to get rid of at-grade crossings.

The only problem with using upgraded standard rail infrastructure (as opposed to dedicated high speed railtrack) for both standard and high speed train is capacity constraints. Faster trains need wider paths (the distance between two trains). Therefore if you increase speed, you reduce the number of trains that can run on a given section of track if trains of varying speeds use the same track.

That is why dedicated tracks are the better option from an operational perspective.

Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 80):
No they did and do not. Perhaps as a social case, but not as a business one. I wish people would quit saying that they did something that they did not.

Did you work on the benefit/cost analysis of, say, the Paris-Marseille high speed train? I did. And the BCR was above 1. What does that tell you?

 Smile

Financial/business cases are not the same thing as economic impact assessments and benefit/costs analyses. The scope of the study is much broader for the latter, as a reflection of the stakeholders involved (the broader community as opposed to a given investor).

Infrastructure, being of national and sometimes continental economic impacts, belongs to the broader community and therefore should not be restricted to a financial return on investment.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 69):
They are the primary lessor, but *I* as a Michigan taxpayer at the time, paid for it. The government paid the capital costs, NWA, like RENFE, SNCF, ICE, and Shinkanesn, is paying the costs back with revenue.

 checkmark  A reality conveniently left out.
 
MOBflyer
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:42 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:14 pm



Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 82):
And no one said things could not change.  

Look at who I quoted.... who wrongly said that passenger trains always get priority.

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 82):
Infrastructure, being of national and sometimes continental economic impacts, belongs to the broader community and therefore should not be restricted to a financial return on investment.

Depends on who the "investor" is.... I don't want the government running these types of things. If I am an investor in such a venture, I want to get a ROI in $$$, not a good feeling. The investors of my plan would receive a 55% ROI over 5 years. (11% coupon on bonds for five years)
 
Klaus
Posts: 21573
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:19 pm



Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 82):
There's this thing called nuclear power, that produces zero GHG.

That's a popular fallacy, but nuclear power actually has a rather large carbon (and other GHG) footprint. One of the factors being the massive amounts of conventional fuels used for uranium mining, and these numbers keep growing with the progressive depletion of the mines. The many millenia of waste management to come incur a substantial energetic (and of course financial) costs as well, at least thus far also with substantial emissions. It gets really murky as soon as you leave the glossy brochures behind...
 
WunalaYann
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:55 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:29 pm



Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 83):
Depends on who the "investor" is.... I don't want the government running these types of things. If I am an investor in such a venture, I want to get a ROI in $$$, not a good feeling. The investors of my plan would receive a 55% ROI over 5 years. (11% coupon on bonds for five years)

Then do not bring European experiments in HSR in the discussion.  Smile European experiences are not feel-good stories. They are economic, social and environmental successes. I, for one, do not have an opinion on whether such experiences could be replicated in similar fashion in the US, simply because I have not seen the EIA nor the BCA for HSR in the US.

European governments invested in HSR, and sometimes under the form of PPPs, because no investor had the cash to fund €20b projects with financial ROI of 0.5%. Logical.

But as long we keep talking about different aspects (financial ROI vs economic BCR), then we will reach completely different conclusions. It does not make your study wrong, or mine right, or the other way around. You and I address different issues, that's all.

Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 83):
Look at who I quoted.... who wrongly said that passenger trains always get priority.

I fail to see your point. No one prevents an organisation from changing its rules, provided it stays within the rule of law. If the government operates the train, then the government decides which type of trains gets priority. If you say that freight trains in the US have priority over passenger trains, then I have no reason to doubt you. And it seems in line with traffic volumes completely tilted towards freight.

But a dedicated HSR would render such arbitrations superfluous because it would physically separate both types of traffic.
 
AverageUser
Posts: 1824
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:21 pm

RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:49 pm



Quoting Klaus (Reply 84):
It gets really murky as soon as you leave the glossy brochures behind...

Oh, Klaus my man, you found my pet subject! Do let's toss the brochures, come and see me some time up here! We'll perhaps visit the location where the Finnish nuclear waste is going to be sealed up for forever (not much to be seen from above ground of course). We'd shop and inspect the books of the fund that has been already set up, by law, in advance to cover that.

Of course you would say mining uranium has a large footprint. However, once refined, it has a hugely economical ratio of energy content per weight, in a class of its own really. If you are worried about footprints you should be more worried about all that metal ore that has been mined and processed, and still is being mining and processed, for building fossil fuel transport and storing facilities! Think of all the oil tankers in the world, past and present. Oil refineries, Gas pipelines, gas stations etc etc.

-AU
 
MOBflyer
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:42 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:57 pm



Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 85):
Then do not bring European experiments in HSR in the discussion.  

I didn't, thank you. I was simply replying to those that did.

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 85):
I fail to see your point. No one prevents an organisation from changing its rules, provided it stays within the rule of law. If the government operates the train, then the government decides which type of trains gets priority. If you say that freight trains in the US have priority over passenger trains, then I have no reason to doubt you. And it seems in line with traffic volumes completely tilted towards freight.

Right now, there are very few corridors with separate tracks for passengers and freight. In most cases, is is freight railroads that own the tracks and collect payment from Amtrak and others for use of them. Given that the FREIGHT CARRIERS OWN THE TRACKS, they set the rules - the government cannot do that. And the FREIGHT railroads are most definitely not going to relinquish their priority... they want to improve their own on-time rates.
 
Klaus
Posts: 21573
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:00 am



Quoting AverageUser (Reply 86):
We'll perhaps visit the location where the Finnish nuclear waste is going to be sealed up for forever

Such an illusion of "forever" is coming to a screeching halt as we speak with our german presumably "final" nuclear waste storage facility in Asse, after a measly few decades already. These ideas are only good to shift the burden for a rather short-term benefit to the coming generations, basically just for some lazy and shortsighted current deciders rescuing themselves to retirement before the consequences hit home again, demanding massive public subsidies to clean up the mess. Nothing more than that.

Quoting AverageUser (Reply 86):
If you are worried about footprints you should be more worried about all that metal ore that has been mined and processed, and still is being mining and processed, for building fossil fuel transport and storing facilities! Think of all the oil tankers in the world, past and present. Oil refineries, Gas pipelines, gas stations etc etc.

Sure. Nuclear (fission) energy is just not the way out of that for many reasons. It's a lot more hard work still to be done and especially much less attractive for large energy monopolists, but there's no way around increased efficiency and renewable energy sources for the future. Nuclear fission is just an extremely expensive dead end with an extremely heavy risk back-loading.
 
WunalaYann
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:55 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:03 am



Quoting Klaus (Reply 84):
That's a popular fallacy, but nuclear power actually has a rather large carbon (and other GHG) footprint. One of the factors being the massive amounts of conventional fuels used for uranium mining, and these numbers keep growing with the progressive depletion of the mines.

Ah, cycle of life. Indeed.

Then we need to look at cycle of life for coal and oil as well.  Wink
 
Klaus
Posts: 21573
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:07 am



Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 89):
Then we need to look at cycle of life for coal and oil as well.

These two are pretty much beyond hope anyway...!  cool 

But I also wouldn't accept a menu choice limited to either cyanide or salmonella.  mischievous 

So back to regular scheduled programming...
 
PPVRA
Posts: 8515
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 7:48 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:17 am



Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 80):

Private railroads (read: freight railroads) own their tracks, and pay taxes on them as it is.

But airlines don't have to incur those costs because the government runs the airports. AFAIK bus companies don't either. That leaves private rail at a disadvantage. The taxes by itself might not be enough to completely kill freight rail off, but it tilts the playing field against them.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
MOBflyer
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:42 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:35 am



Quoting PPVRA (Reply 91):
But airlines don't have to incur those costs because the government runs the airports. AFAIK bus companies don't either. That leaves private rail at a disadvantage. The taxes by itself might not be enough to completely kill freight rail off, but it tilts the playing field against them.

You ARE aware of the massive profits that the likes of CSX routinely post, right?
 
AverageUser
Posts: 1824
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:21 pm

RE: High Speed Rail

Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:36 am



Quoting Klaus (Reply 88):
These ideas are only good to shift the burden for a rather short-term benefit to the coming generations,

Dear Klaus, as I write this on my computer (that runs typically 25% on the nuclear), a portion of my electricity bill goes into a fund that finances the project that will seal up the Finnish nuclear waste in Finnish rock for forever, and will also take care of final dismantling of the stations at their expiration. Long-term aspects has been settled and reflected into the actual consumer price right now, not in some distant grim future. All imaginable aspects have been taken care of. The Finnish reactors work exceptionally troublefree, uptime with full power has typically been 95%. The only practical competition would come from hydropower, but ours is a flat country with a large number of relatively small rivers with most of them already having been harnessed.
 
PPVRA
Posts: 8515
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 7:48 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:53 am



Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 92):

You ARE aware of the massive profits that the likes of CSX routinely post, right?

Massive profits or not the playing field is still tilted against rail. The rail industry could be even more significant than it is today. And we are well aware from the airlines that passenger operations tend to be much more sensitive to economic conditions than freight.

More or as significant as the taxes is the massive subsidizing of interstates. Airlines don't even matter all that much anyways, as they tend to lose out to cars for shorter hops too.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
WunalaYann
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:55 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:57 am



Quoting Klaus (Reply 90):
These two are pretty much beyond hope anyway...!

Preaching to the choir.  Wink

Quoting Klaus (Reply 90):
But I also wouldn't accept a menu choice limited to either cyanide or salmonella.

Oh, sorry, I forgot to include hydroelectric-that-wreaks-havoc-on-ecosystems. So that is another entry on the menu - shall we call it E-coli?  biggrin 

Anyway. TGV rules and that's the end of it. Any questions?

 Smile
 
Klaus
Posts: 21573
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:37 am



Quoting AverageUser (Reply 93):
a portion of my electricity bill goes into a fund that finances the project that will seal up the Finnish nuclear waste in Finnish rock for forever

I don't doubt that that is the intention. I doubt that that will be the reality, especially over the multiple millenia it would take to contain the toxic waste. Our own concept of such a storage facility for "forever" is currenty collapsing as we speak.

Quoting AverageUser (Reply 93):
Long-term aspects has been settled and reflected into the actual consumer price right now, not in some distant grim future

It is a high-risk bet on perfect political, economical and technological stability through the coming millenia. Or in other words: A short-term political pretense to ignore the need to actually tackle the current challenges and to hell with coming generations who won't have any benefits at all but will be forced to deal with large volumes of highly toxic waste basically forever.

Quite a nasty and expensive deal for anybody but the current electricity corporations which can cement a strongly centralized electrical infrastructure where everybody is dependent on very few power plants with minimal chances for competition.

Quoting AverageUser (Reply 93):
All imaginable aspects have been taken care of.

Sure. If one limits one's imagination strictly enough, that might actually be so. Unfortunately reality has a habit of not conforming to the imaginations of the nuclear industry.

Even the financial side can get much dicier than anticipated during times like these.

Quoting AverageUser (Reply 93):
The Finnish reactors work exceptionally troublefree, uptime with full power has typically been 95%.

95% is actually not a good figure for essential infrastructure.
 
Flighty
Posts: 9963
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:07 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:40 am



Quoting PPVRA (Reply 94):
Massive profits or not the playing field is still tilted against rail. The rail industry could be even more significant than it is today.

I say again, rail is a wonderful way to move 12,000 tons of coal. It is very efficient and profitable doing that.

But humans are tiny, fragile creatures, 160lb on average let's say, who are not the type of cargo trains are best to carry. Trains have a huge amount of metal that is really designed for carrying huge amounts of freight. Their networks are very inflexible. I think we already have a wonderful human train network, it is called the highway system. We operate our own train-cars ("Cars") on this wonderful railroad called the highway. It is not very speedy, 75MPH or so on the interstate, but it works well for most people. We need not build it, because it is already there.

Significantly, there are also large road-trains called Megabus. Megabus is a rubber tired train that connects many cities with convenient, relatively clean service. Interestingly, Megabus is extremely energy efficient over long distances, likely surpassing any passenger rail in the USA or Europe.

While some may feel rubber tired buses are not as good as trains, Megabus will counter with prices so low, no train system could ever compete. Their double decker has 76 seats and gets probably 5 MPG. This works out to about 380 seat miles per gallon, much more efficient than trains. This means it's cheaper -- about $30 each way for some relatively long stages. High speed rail is cool, it is more pleasurable than flying, but it does not seem competitive by the numbers. The financial track record of such projects is pretty bad also.
 
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DocLightning
Posts: 21840
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:51 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:50 am



Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 76):

The business class fares barely pay the operating bills, not the capital ones. How do you even remotely expect to be able to make the case for introducing economy seats?

Well, you cut the fare by the same as the increase in the capacity and you will make the same revenue per car. Durh!

You mean to tell me that airline fares pay airline operating bills?
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
WunalaYann
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:55 am

RE: High Speed Rail

Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:20 am



Quoting Flighty (Reply 97):
This works out to about 380 seat miles per gallon, much more efficient than trains.

Since most trains in most developed countries run on electricity, the mere notion of l/100 km or miles per gallon is simply not applicable.

Besides, what transport mode carries 1,030 passengers at 320 km/h with a safety record that puts the ultra vast majority of airlines to shame? A hint - it is three letters, the first of which being "T" and the last two are "GV".

 bigthumbsup 

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