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william
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Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:47 am

 
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PacificBeach88
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Aug 27, 2016 1:17 am

I would just hope that 100% of the track / rail line can be fixed to allow 186 MPH train service. In many places now, it's only 75 MPH.
 
Kent350787
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Aug 27, 2016 1:20 am

Slightly OT, but does anyone have a view whether Acela is worth the higher fare over NW Regional (even business class on NW regional)? Planning NYC-DC and BOS-NYC sectors for a family holiday (DCA-BOS flight) and working out budgets.
 
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PacificBeach88
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Aug 27, 2016 2:11 am

Kent350787 wrote:
Slightly OT, but does anyone have a view whether Acela is worth the higher fare over NW Regional (even business class on NW regional)? Planning NYC-DC and BOS-NYC sectors for a family holiday (DCA-BOS flight) and working out budgets.


First off, look at the total time difference. Secondly, remember that every Acela train is "business class", meaning you all have a seat. If you don't mind spending an extra 20 to 30 minutes for each segment (NYC-WA / NYC-BOS) and don't mind standing to save $20 to $35 per ticket then go for it. More than likely you will get seats, although doubtful together, then save the money. Make sense?
 
Kent350787
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:57 am

PacificBeach88 wrote:
First off, look at the total time difference. Secondly, remember that every Acela train is "business class", meaning you all have a seat. If you don't mind spending an extra 20 to 30 minutes for each segment (NYC-WA / NYC-BOS) and don't mind standing to save $20 to $35 per ticket then go for it. More than likely you will get seats, although doubtful together, then save the money. Make sense?


Yeah, for a holiday the timing makes little difference. I love fast trains, but NW regional business is still around half Acela price - although we've got a good budget. The new trains would prob push me towards Acela though :)
 
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Aesma
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:18 am

I was going to post a new thread not realizing this one was about the same subject.

We're talking about Alstom trainsets AKA the maker of the French TGV.

I'm watching the vid now and I see "active tilting technology", something not used in France, interesting. I guess I didn't realize that Alstom now owned the pendolino tech.
 
Gemuser
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Aug 27, 2016 10:18 am

Kent350787 wrote:
Slightly OT, but does anyone have a view whether Acela is worth the higher fare over NW Regional (even business class on NW regional)? Planning NYC-DC and BOS-NYC sectors for a family holiday (DCA-BOS flight) and working out budgets.

Sometime Acela is actually CHEAPER than NE Regional! Amtrak now uses a yield management program similar to airlines so the fare paid totally on book/expected load.

Gemuser
 
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OA260
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Aug 27, 2016 10:36 am

Looks impressive. Love the tilting trains. Amtrak look like they will upgrade to a really nice product. Have to try it out :)
 
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Aesma
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:29 pm

I see that on the Acela Express there are already trains looking like TGVs, 25% made by Alstom. However they were made twice as heavy as French sets to comply with crash resistance regs (which is ridiculous, as that weight could very well make a crash worse). Typical.
 
af773atmsp
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:40 pm

The FRA's philosophy is the bigger and heavier, the safer (similar to how people think SUVs are safer than small cars and mainline jets are safer than turboprops). Hopefully these new trains won't have the same weight problems as the current Acelas.
 
Kent350787
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:43 am

Gemuser wrote:
Kent350787 wrote:
Slightly OT, but does anyone have a view whether Acela is worth the higher fare over NW Regional (even business class on NW regional)? Planning NYC-DC and BOS-NYC sectors for a family holiday (DCA-BOS flight) and working out budgets.

Sometime Acela is actually CHEAPER than NE Regional! Amtrak now uses a yield management program similar to airlines so the fare paid totally on book/expected load.

Gemuser


Cheers - booking a fair ways out (to lock things in) doesn't seem to be helping, so we may just suck it up.
 
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seb146
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:16 am

I don't know much about the NEC which is why I am asking:

Here in the North Bay (north of San Francisco) we are getting a commuter train that should be starting service in October or November. They are welding the rails and using cement composite ties. Do they do the same on the Northeast Corridor?
 
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william
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:44 pm

seb146 wrote:
I don't know much about the NEC which is why I am asking:

Here in the North Bay (north of San Francisco) we are getting a commuter train that should be starting service in October or November. They are welding the rails and using cement composite ties. Do they do the same on the Northeast Corridor?


Welded rail and concrete ties are normal these days. Yields smoother ride.
 
Pyrex
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:34 pm

This is absurd. Instead of trying to make the Acela train service marginally faster (and more expensive) to extract some extra dollars from the airlines to subsidize losses on routes to the middle of nowhere, Amtrak should be focusing on true public service, and adding capacity on existing routes. Why on Earth does Amtrak not put double-decker train cars on the Northeast Corridor regional trains? We know they will fit into NY Penn Station, as NJ Transit uses those. Amtrak should be focused on trying to compete against the buses, not against the airlines - there is no reason a train ticket on the NEC regional should cost 3-4x more than a bus ticket, and that I-95 or the streets of NYC should be clogged with dozens of buses dropping people off in the middle of the street like a third-world country.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:44 pm

The two aren't incompatible, in France we have more and more double-decker TGV Duplex seating 508.
 
Olddog
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Aug 29, 2016 5:54 am

The main problem seems to be the state of US rail roads.
New York - Washington around 350 km, around 3 h
Paris-Lyon 425 km only 1 h 55.
 
Gemuser
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:45 am

Pyrex wrote:
Why on Earth does Amtrak not put double-decker train cars on the Northeast Corridor regional trains? We know they will fit into NY Penn Station, as NJ Transit uses those. Amtrak should be focused on trying to compete against the buses,

There are VERY limited facilities for turning trains to go back the way they have arrived from in Penn Station, which are heavily used by the NJ Transit trains you refer to. Most trains, even if terminating in NYC have to go under the East River either to another city or to Sunnyside Yard on Long Island to terminate. It's the East River tunnels that are the limiting infrastructure in NYC. Even the Long Island RR does not use double deckers for that reason [and if there was ever a railroad that could use them it's the LIRR. Their only double deck coaches are used out on the east end diesel branches.
The tunnels immediately south of Washington Union Station are also not able to take double deck stock, which is why the Auto Train terminates in Lorton VA.
There is already a project to replace the Hudson River tunnels [they are the most in danger of failing] but it is mired in funding difficulties so 25-35 Billion dollars or so to replace the East River & WUS tunnels does not seem likely.

Gemuser
 
ANITIX87
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:32 pm

PacificBeach88 wrote:
I would just hope that 100% of the track / rail line can be fixed to allow 186 MPH train service. In many places now, it's only 75 MPH.

Unfortunately, this is too cost-prohibitive. The grade crossings the Acela encounters in Connecticut, while improved with vehicle detection and other features, still present a 90MPH limit for all trains (75MPH for those which don't have the vehicle detection and induction loops). The civil layout of the tracks (vertical and horizontal curvature) are also hugely problematic since modifying this would require huge right-of-way acquisitions and enormous impact to the adjacent communities. Train noise would also increase, requiring additional infrastructure of walls or sound barriers.

Unfortunately, true high-speed rail in this country will only exist in NEW construction (retrofit of existing tracks will never work) and even then, the market will be tiny or nonexistent, I fear.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:33 am

ANITIX87 wrote:
Unfortunately, true high-speed rail in this country will only exist in NEW construction (retrofit of existing tracks will never work).



If anything, the fact that Amtrak was able to shoehorn a high speed train into the NEC is an amazing feat, especially considering all the associated technical and size constraints, the integration with slower traffic, the ancient infrastructure and the drastic FRA regulations.

Across the world, high speed train (as in true high speed) has only ever been proven to work on dedicated tracks and infrastructure. It is highly incompatible with anything else on rails, unless it is going to run at the same speed, which defeats the purpose.
So kudos to Amtrak for making Acela work and having stolen most of that traffic from the airlines.

Aesma wrote:
The two aren't incompatible, in France we have more and more double-decker TGV Duplex seating 508.


That would be unfeasible under FRA regulations. Alstom had to resort to pretty creative engineering (for trains at least) to make the Duplex fit under the axle weight limit and other regulatory and size constraints. Under FRA rules, the thing would weigh so much you'd probably need parachutes and retro-rockets to slow it down... Not to mention that adding tilting technology to a double decker car is much more complicated.
The NEC is a whole different game for HST, and can not be compared to anything else.

Also, the first ACELAs were a joint venture between Alstom and Bombardier. I believe Bombardier provided the tilting system as Alstom didn't really have much experience with it back then. (They briefly tried it on a TGV in France but the SNCF didn't really want it).
I see no mention of Bombardier for the new trainsets, so Alstom might be going it alone this time. Their recent acquisitions probably mean they have all the technology they need. Weight reductions are planned apparently, while maintaining FRA crashworthiness.

I wonder whether this and Alstom's already established plant in the US might help in their bid for the CHSR...
 
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Aaron747
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:15 am

Olddog wrote:
The main problem seems to be the state of US rail roads.
New York - Washington around 350 km, around 3 h
Paris-Lyon 425 km only 1 h 55.


Yes. The latest N700 trainsets on shinkansen have improved Tokyo-Osaka (515 km, 320 mi) to 2 hr, 20 min.
 
Pyrex
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:20 pm

Aesma wrote:
The two aren't incompatible, in France we have more and more double-decker TGV Duplex seating 508.


That would be unfeasible under FRA regulations. Alstom had to resort to pretty creative engineering (for trains at least) to make the Duplex fit under the axle weight limit and other regulatory and size constraints. Under FRA rules, the thing would weigh so much you'd probably need parachutes and retro-rockets to slow it down... Not to mention that adding tilting technology to a double decker car is much more complicated.
The NEC is a whole different game for HST, and can not be compared to anything else.
[/quote]

Ok, but my proposal for double-decker train cars was as a replacement for the regional trains, not the Acela ones.... the regional trains that exist today are still pretty competitive in terms of time (and reliability) with buses, it is just that they cost way, way too much.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:02 pm

Pyrex wrote:
Ok, but my proposal for double-decker train cars was as a replacement for the regional trains, not the Acela ones.... the regional trains that exist today are still pretty competitive in terms of time (and reliability) with buses, it is just that they cost way, way too much.


Oh, right.

Then in that case, I can't see why not. There are plenty of FRA-approved double-deck cars available and in service already.
Maybe the traffic just doesn't justify them?
Might be a size issue. I believe the NEC has specific size constraints.
 
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DocLightning
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:49 pm

My experience living in NYC was that the ACELA got you to boston in 3:30 and the normal train in 4:00 or thereabouts. The real advantage to the ACELA was the business-class seating. But for the rather large price differential, I chose not to pay for it after the first time.
 
Gemuser
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 02, 2016 10:23 pm

Pyrex wrote:
Ok, but my proposal for double-decker train cars was as a replacement for the regional trains, not the Acela ones.... the regional trains that exist today are still pretty competitive in terms of time (and reliability) with buses, it is just that they cost way, way too much.

See reply above, double deck stock CANNOT go through NY Penn or WUS and facilities for turning trains in NYP are limited and fully used by NJ Transit. You are not going to see double deck stock on NE Regional until the Hudson, East River and WUS tunnels are replaced. Don't hold your breath

Gemuser
 
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Aesma
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Sep 03, 2016 3:33 pm

I think you're talking about current US double deck stuff, not what would be possible if the goal was to use those tunnels.
 
Kent350787
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:00 am

DocLightning wrote:
My experience living in NYC was that the ACELA got you to boston in 3:30 and the normal train in 4:00 or thereabouts. The real advantage to the ACELA was the business-class seating. But for the rather large price differential, I chose not to pay for it after the first time.


Just saying thanks on this further feedback. If I think past my nose we're flying JL and will be able to do a 50% points trip later in the year to try Shinkasen :)

Looks like NE regional for us in the USA.
 
skywaymanaz
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sun Sep 04, 2016 7:37 am

I like the video from Amtrak but vaguely amused the train number F0001 looks like it says FOOL. Also noticed all the people are outlines because there have been complaints before that CGI renderings didn't have enough ethnic diversity.
 
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PacificBeach88
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:11 pm

Gemuser wrote:
See reply above, double deck stock CANNOT go through NY Penn or WUS and facilities for turning trains in NYP are limited and fully used by NJ Transit. You are not going to see double deck stock on NE Regional until the Hudson, East River and WUS tunnels are replaced. Don't hold your breath

Gemuser


New Jersey and New York can thank that self-important pig Chris Christie for screwing up adding tunnel capacity for 20 years. Christie decided it was better for his own potential Presidential run if he killed the tunnel. At the time there were billions upon billions of $$$ in federal funding dollars available from the US Govt due to the Obama stimulus package. The tunnel will never be as cheap as it was then. The numbers are $20 billion to $35 billion now (granted a bigger scope) vs. the $8.9 billion tunnel Christie killed.

Of course, as most of us who believe in infrastructure, and who warned NJ they were playing with fire by postponing the tunnel, Superstorm Sandy flooded the tunnels and heavily damaged them. Current day Republicans never seem to learn until their house is on fire or underwater, then they want the feds to bail them out. SMH
 
skywaymanaz
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:32 am

Are the old Acela trains going to be junked or repurposed elsewhere? California High Speed Rail will supposedly have some major track work in the San Joaquin Valley finished in '19. It would be nice if some of these got used there for faster service until phase 1 comes online between SF and LA in '29. That's assuming the revised scheduling holds out. There have been many problems with the project to put it politely.
 
Gemuser
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:39 am

skywaymanaz wrote:
Are the old Acela trains going to be junked or repurposed elsewhere? California High Speed Rail will supposedly have some major track work in the San Joaquin Valley finished in '19. It would be nice if some of these got used there for faster service until phase 1 comes online between SF and LA in '29. That's assuming the revised scheduling holds out. There have been many problems with the project to put it politely.

From discussion on Amtrak Unlimited it is doubtful. They are apparently ridiculously overweight and the manufacturers of version 1 are not going to support them beyond their contracted time.

Gemuser
 
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Pellegrine
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:56 am

I agree with the persons insinuating that Amtrak should go 186mph from Washington-Union to New York-Penn. And cut out more of these silly stops like New Carrollton and BWI (use the NE Regional for that), and fly right through those stations. It's so annoying to speed up out of WAS Union Station to just slow down at New Carrollton, MD only a few miles away....umm the DMV Metro services that, take the metro down to Union Station. I'd prefer 350kmh speeds really.
 
ANITIX87
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:57 pm

Pellegrine wrote:
I agree with the persons insinuating that Amtrak should go 186mph from Washington-Union to New York-Penn. And cut out more of these silly stops like New Carrollton and BWI (use the NE Regional for that), and fly right through those stations. It's so annoying to speed up out of WAS Union Station to just slow down at New Carrollton, MD only a few miles away....umm the DMV Metro services that, take the metro down to Union Station. I'd prefer 350kmh speeds really.

Even if they cut out all intermediate stops, they'd still be severely restricted on speed for several reasons:
1) Civil layout - the curves on the majority of the Northeast Corridor do not allow the Acela to get anywhere near its top speed. There is only a small portion of Class-8 (160mph) track in the USA, and no Class-9 (220mph) yet.
2) Stations - the Acela doesn't always have dedicated through-track at stations and you can't send a train through a platform-adjacent track at 186mph.
3) Level crossings - FRA regulations prohibit passing through level crossings at high speed without significant protection in place, which is expensive
4) Traffic - the Acela shares its right-of-way with the slower Amtrak stock, MBTA, Shore Line, SEPTA, NJ Transit, Septa, LIRR, Metro-North, and freight companies. There isn't sufficient capacity for all of that service to allow Acela to move at top speed reliably or consistently.
 
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Channex757
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:24 pm

Surprising that the trains 'need' to be overweight. Bombardier now has data from their experience with the Grayrigg crash in the UK where a Pendolino was derailed and the cars rolled down a substantial bank. They retained structural integrity and injuries were minimised.

Are Amtrak still going for a loco+cars design or is the Acela to be an electric multiple unit like the rest of the world now uses?
 
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william
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:40 pm

PacificBeach88 wrote:
Gemuser wrote:
See reply above, double deck stock CANNOT go through NY Penn or WUS and facilities for turning trains in NYP are limited and fully used by NJ Transit. You are not going to see double deck stock on NE Regional until the Hudson, East River and WUS tunnels are replaced. Don't hold your breath

Gemuser


New Jersey and New York can thank that self-important pig Chris Christie for screwing up adding tunnel capacity for 20 years. Christie decided it was better for his own potential Presidential run if he killed the tunnel. At the time there were billions upon billions of $$$ in federal funding dollars available from the US Govt due to the Obama stimulus package. The tunnel will never be as cheap as it was then. The numbers are $20 billion to $35 billion now (granted a bigger scope) vs. the $8.9 billion tunnel Christie killed.

Of course, as most of us who believe in infrastructure, and who warned NJ they were playing with fire by postponing the tunnel, Superstorm Sandy flooded the tunnels and heavily damaged them. Current day Republicans never seem to learn until their house is on fire or underwater, then they want the feds to bail them out. SMH


That Gateway project would have done nothing to help Amtrak, the original concept had those tunnels for NJT and the tracks were not going to Penn Station.
 
af773atmsp
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Sep 12, 2016 2:00 am

Sort of on topic, how would a bullet train similar in design to Shinkansen do against a collision with a freight train or regular passenger train at speeds no more than 90 miles per hour? The reason I ask is since the Shinkansen bullet trains have a long nose (I'm assuming for aerodynamics) if it were possible to have a similar designed train in the U.S. and install crash buffers inside the nose.

Image
 
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WarRI1
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Sep 12, 2016 2:11 am

Not possible to me. Look up Kinetic Energy. Energy created by a moving object I think.
 
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PacificBeach88
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Sep 12, 2016 2:16 am

william wrote:
That Gateway project would have done nothing to help Amtrak, the original concept had those tunnels for NJT and the tracks were not going to Penn Station.


The project Chris Christie killed was the ARC tunnel replace two 104 year old tunnels that AMTRAK uses.

Access to the Region's Core (ARC) was a commuter rail project to increase passenger service capacity on New Jersey Transit (NJT) between Secaucus Junction in New Jersey and Manhattan in New York City. New infrastructure would have included new trackage, a new rail yard, and a tunnel under the Hudson River. A new station adjacent to New York Penn Station was to be constructed as running more trains into the current station was deemed unfeasible. An estimated budget for the project was $8.7 billion. Construction began in mid-2009 and the project was slated for completion in 2018, but it was cancelled in October 2010 by Governor Chris Christie, citing the possibility of cost overruns and the state's lack of funds.[3] $600 million had been spent on the project.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Access_to ... n%27s_Core

Now that he's killed it, the "Gateway Project" has come up as a replacement. One that is triple the cost, and yes, not exactly the same as the ARC, but given it's 7 years since the ARC project was cancelled, it's not surprising an exact same, mile for mile, tunnel for tunnel, end point for end point, project is being considered.
 
stlgph
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Sep 12, 2016 2:35 am

william wrote:
PacificBeach88 wrote:
Gemuser wrote:
See reply above, double deck stock CANNOT go through NY Penn or WUS and facilities for turning trains in NYP are limited and fully used by NJ Transit. You are not going to see double deck stock on NE Regional until the Hudson, East River and WUS tunnels are replaced. Don't hold your breath

Gemuser


New Jersey and New York can thank that self-important pig Chris Christie for screwing up adding tunnel capacity for 20 years. Christie decided it was better for his own potential Presidential run if he killed the tunnel. At the time there were billions upon billions of $$$ in federal funding dollars available from the US Govt due to the Obama stimulus package. The tunnel will never be as cheap as it was then. The numbers are $20 billion to $35 billion now (granted a bigger scope) vs. the $8.9 billion tunnel Christie killed.

Of course, as most of us who believe in infrastructure, and who warned NJ they were playing with fire by postponing the tunnel, Superstorm Sandy flooded the tunnels and heavily damaged them. Current day Republicans never seem to learn until their house is on fire or underwater, then they want the feds to bail them out. SMH


That Gateway project would have done nothing to help Amtrak, the original concept had those tunnels for NJT and the tracks were not going to Penn Station.


That's totally incorrect. Moving NJT off the Hudson Tunnel would have helped line congestion A LOT.
The #1 cause for delays along the entire NE corridor line is congestion into the Hudson Tunnel.
 
ozglobal
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:47 pm

Focus on doing one important thing well: Washington to NY on purpose built and dedicated track. This would allow speeds of up to 350km/h (220mph) and link city centre to city centre in around 1hr. That would be a game changer and the actual experience of it (not just Europeans talking about it) would transform Americans' perceptions and expectations of rail for ever.

Tell me it can't be done...

It is all about economic culture and values. Off course it can be done.
 
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Polot
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:00 pm

ozglobal wrote:
It is all about economic culture and values. Off course it can be done.

Of course it could be done. Are you willing to pay for it?
 
ANITIX87
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:18 pm

ozglobal wrote:
Tell me it can't be done...

I refer you to my comment in Reply #32:

It won't ever done, for many reasons other than "just" economic ones:
1) Civil layout - the curves on the majority of the Northeast Corridor do not allow the Acela to get anywhere near its top speed. There is only a small portion of Class-8 (160mph) track in the USA, and no Class-9 (220mph) yet. In order to build Class 9 (or faster) AMTRAK would need to purchase entirely new right-of-way. That means eminent domain or significant property acquisition which will displace thousands (if not millions) of people and change the affected neighborhoods completely (sometimes positively, often negatively). Is that worth it?
2) Stations - the Acela doesn't always have dedicated through-track at stations and you can't send a train through a platform-adjacent track at 186mph. That requires widening of stations (or new bypass tracks outside curent station locations) which relates to issue #1.
3) Level crossings - FRA regulations prohibit passing through level crossings at high speed. That means very expensive infrastructure changes (bridges, tunnels, etc) so the new track affects everything from surface streets to highways. Why would Amtrak pay for that?
4) "City Center" is a problem: US cities are built around cars and are HUGE compared to their European counterparts. A train to the middle of NY or Washington would have to share track with the slower trains for at least the first and last 10 miles because of infrastructure limitations. That means running at local speeds (an average of around 30mph) which negates so much of the time you've gained. If you counter this by building a new station outside the city, then you need an additional seat/ticket to get into the city, which adds travel time and cancels out the benefit of the high-speed line.
5) Prices: in order to recoup these costs if your proposal, ticket prices would skyrocket well above the price of a plane ticket. This is already a concern in Europe, where rail is popular, efficient, and convenient, can you imagine what it would do here? Low-cost airlines would run AMTRAK out of business in no time, especially with the reluctance people have here to choose the train.
 
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william
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:14 pm

af773atmsp wrote:
Sort of on topic, how would a bullet train similar in design to Shinkansen do against a collision with a freight train or regular passenger train at speeds no more than 90 miles per hour? The reason I ask is since the Shinkansen bullet trains have a long nose (I'm assuming for aerodynamics) if it were possible to have a similar designed train in the U.S. and install crash buffers inside the nose.

Image


Since the US has some of the highest crash standards, it would crumble like a coke can. Some have criticized the FRA for their safety standards as it leads to higher train weights. I believe the Amtrak had to receive a waiver of some type to use this Alstom design.

By the way, google the 1987 Chase accident when an Amtrak AEM7 led Colonial train doing over 110 mph and hit a locomotive that went through a red light. There were many fatalities yes, but the old Amfleet cars held up much better investors thought they would.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1987_Mary ... _collision
 
af773atmsp
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:29 pm

william wrote:

Since the US has some of the highest crash standards, it would crumble like a coke can. Some have criticized the FRA for their safety standards as it leads to higher train weights. I believe the Amtrak had to receive a waiver of some type to use this Alstom design.

By the way, google the 1987 Chase accident when an Amtrak AEM7 led Colonial train doing over 110 mph and hit a locomotive that went through a red light. There were many fatalities yes, but the old Amfleet cars held up much better investors thought they would.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1987_Mary ... _collision


From that page it states; "The front cars on the Amtrak #94 train suffered the greatest extent of damage and were almost completely crushed. However they were nearly empty awaiting additional holiday passengers en route who would have boarded the train at stations further north. According to the NTSB, had these cars been fully occupied at the time, the death toll would have been at least 100."
 
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william
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:45 pm

af773atmsp wrote:
william wrote:

Since the US has some of the highest crash standards, it would crumble like a coke can. Some have criticized the FRA for their safety standards as it leads to higher train weights. I believe the Amtrak had to receive a waiver of some type to use this Alstom design.

By the way, google the 1987 Chase accident when an Amtrak AEM7 led Colonial train doing over 110 mph and hit a locomotive that went through a red light. There were many fatalities yes, but the old Amfleet cars held up much better investors thought they would.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1987_Mary ... _collision


From that page it states; "The front cars on the Amtrak #94 train suffered the greatest extent of damage and were almost completely crushed. However they were nearly empty awaiting additional holiday passengers en route who would have boarded the train at stations further north. According to the NTSB, had these cars been fully occupied at the time, the death toll would have been at least 100."


It was a Trains Mag article printed some time ago, they spoke to the NTSB and they were surprised how the well the cars held up. Yes, the fact the first car was empty helped in keeping the fatalities low, that's a lot of energy that was expended at the crash.
 
ozglobal
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:18 pm

ANITIX87 wrote:
ozglobal wrote:
Tell me it can't be done...

I refer you to my comment in Reply #32:

It won't ever done, for many reasons other than "just" economic ones:


Amazing how deeply dedicated America has become to NOT being able to do things when it comes to anything relating to infrastructure. This is a political trend worthy of its own thread.

ANITIX87 wrote:
1) Civil layout - the curves on the majority of the Northeast Corridor do not allow the Acela to get anywhere near its top speed. There is only a small portion of Class-8 (160mph) track in the USA, and no Class-9 (220mph) yet. In order to build Class 9 (or faster) AMTRAK would need to purchase entirely new right-of-way. That means eminent domain or significant property acquisition which will displace thousands (if not millions) of people and change the affected neighborhoods completely (sometimes positively, often negatively). Is that worth it?


Like I said, you need to build a new 'corridor.' The 19th century one is beyond therapy. Expensive? Yes. Is the money there? NEC is the close to the largest concentration of corporate an personal wealth on the planet. AND they already favour the (relatively slow) train over the airlines. --> Hiper rich, captive market. Yes, it's worth it.

ANITIX87 wrote:
2) Stations - the Acela doesn't always have dedicated through-track at stations and you can't send a train through a platform-adjacent track at 186mph. That requires widening of stations (or new bypass tracks outside current station locations) which relates to issue #1.


Can we please forget about the current lines and stations? You won't be using them for HSR. In France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China, etc. new infrastructure was built because it is the only way to do it and is totally worth it.

ANITIX87 wrote:
3) Level crossings - FRA regulations prohibit passing through level crossings at high speed. That means very expensive infrastructure changes (bridges, tunnels, etc) so the new track affects everything from surface streets to highways. Why would Amtrak pay for that?


Not suggesting Amtrak is in a position to fix the old system. You need a new one. Refer to 1 and 2 above.

ANITIX87 wrote:
4) "City Center" is a problem: US cities are built around cars and are HUGE compared to their European counterparts. A train to the middle of NY or Washington would have to share track with the slower trains for at least the first and last 10 miles because of infrastructure limitations. That means running at local speeds (an average of around 30mph) which negates so much of the time you've gained. If you counter this by building a new station outside the city, then you need an additional seat/ticket to get into the city, which adds travel time and cancels out the benefit of the high-speed line.


Not sure what your image of European cities is. Yes, they're more compact, but the metro areas of London and Paris at 14Million and 12Million population respectively are bigger than nearly all US cities and relatively few live in the city centre. Yet, Paris - London city centre - city centre HSR has 85% of the market. Travellers in my example from DC to NY will typically be doing business and staying in a certain radius of the city centre, as they do in London and Paris. (I have lived in all four cities. Have you?)

ANITIX87 wrote:
5) Prices: in order to recoup these costs if your proposal, ticket prices would skyrocket well above the price of a plane ticket. This is already a concern in Europe, where rail is popular, efficient, and convenient, can you imagine what it would do here? Low-cost airlines would run AMTRAK out of business in no time, especially with the reluctance people have here to choose the train.


You make the mistake of thinking I am proposing a self contained business case for a private venture. Nothing of the sort. This is a strategic infrastructure investment with a 10-25year pay back in GDP growth. No business can take that bet. That's what government is for: doing big things for the furtherment of civilisation; and it works and it produces GDP growth everywhere it has happened. The state sinks the costs of the dedicated line. The corporate sector sets up the services. Once profitable, this is opened to competition. This is the model in France and elsewhere.

When did the US become the nation of CAN'T ?
 
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Pellegrine
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:26 am

ANITIX87 wrote:
Even if they cut out all intermediate stops, they'd still be severely restricted on speed for several reasons:
1) Civil layout - the curves on the majority of the Northeast Corridor do not allow the Acela to get anywhere near its top speed. There is only a small portion of Class-8 (160mph) track in the USA, and no Class-9 (220mph) yet.
2) Stations - the Acela doesn't always have dedicated through-track at stations and you can't send a train through a platform-adjacent track at 186mph.
3) Level crossings - FRA regulations prohibit passing through level crossings at high speed without significant protection in place, which is expensive
4) Traffic - the Acela shares its right-of-way with the slower Amtrak stock, MBTA, Shore Line, SEPTA, NJ Transit, Septa, LIRR, Metro-North, and freight companies. There isn't sufficient capacity for all of that service to allow Acela to move at top speed reliably or consistently.


Build a new dedicated high-speed track that is elevated in some parts bypassing level crossings and some stations. Heck, make it 400 kmh / 250 mph! If the average speed between WAS-NYP is 82 mph, then that's pathetic. IMO, from WAS-NYP the route should be: Washington Union-Baltimore Penn-Philadelphia 30th-NY Penn. (Yes cut out Newark Penn, that traffic can take regional. If they're catching a flight there, the can book a connection from DCA/IAD/BWI/PHL.

This is the real test for the rest of the nation, because this route is the most profitable, and would be even given a $20-25 billion investment in this type of dedicated rail.
 
ANITIX87
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:14 pm

ozglobal wrote:
Like I said, you need to build a new 'corridor.' The 19th century one is beyond therapy. Expensive? Yes. Is the money there? NEC is the close to the largest concentration of corporate an personal wealth on the planet. AND they already favour the (relatively slow) train over the airlines. --> Hiper rich, captive market. Yes, it's worth it.

The train is favored over the airline largely because of price and the inconvenience of the airport (people traveling on coroporate business are at the whim of their company, often). A high-speed line would improve the time concern but the prices would almost certainly exceed airfare, which means companies would stop sending employees by train. AMTRAK's market share for NYC-WAS is around 70% of all rail/air travelers but their total numbers have remained relatively constant since 2012 at ~11.5 million. People are traveling less and less for business as the digital age makes the planet smaller and as the market shifts towards leisure travel, time/speed will matter less which will reduce much of the draw of a high-speed line. This is supported by both TGV's and Shinkansen's ridership numbers.

ozglobal wrote:
Can we please forget about the current lines and stations? You won't be using them for HSR. In France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China, etc. new infrastructure was built because it is the only way to do it and is totally worth it.

When was the infrastructure built in France and Germany? The bulk of new infrastructure in Asia is linking major, distant cities with few roads and low accessibility between them. That is considerably cheaper and easier than doing it in what you quoted as the largest concentration of corporate and personal wealth on the planet.

ozglobal wrote:
Not suggesting Amtrak is in a position to fix the old system. You need a new one. Refer to 1 and 2 above.

The NEC is one of the only places Amtrak makes any money (along with the awesome AutoTrain) which means it receives very little subsidy. If Amtrak doesn't pay for it, who else will?

ozglobal wrote:
Not sure what your image of European cities is. Yes, they're more compact, but the metro areas of London and Paris at 14Million and 12Million population respectively are bigger than nearly all US cities and relatively few live in the city centre. Yet, Paris - London city centre - city centre HSR has 85% of the market. Travellers in my example from DC to NY will typically be doing business and staying in a certain radius of the city centre, as they do in London and Paris. (I have lived in all four cities. Have you?)

Major European cities have several large train stations, which makes the size of the city MUCH smaller in the spirit my comment was intended. If London only had Waterloo Station and Paris only had Gard du Nord, you'd be right to compare the populations. Neither Americans nor Europeans live in large numbers in city centers, but the Europeans usually have a way of getting to their primary stations via mass transit, something that is severely lacking in the USA. Having to drive to a major terminus to catch a high-speed train is considerably more troublesome than being able to hop on a bus/metro as you can do in Europe.

ozglobal wrote:
You make the mistake of thinking I am proposing a self contained business case for a private venture. Nothing of the sort. This is a strategic infrastructure investment with a 10-25year pay back in GDP growth. No business can take that bet. That's what government is for: doing big things for the furtherment of civilisation; and it works and it produces GDP growth everywhere it has happened. The state sinks the costs of the dedicated line. The corporate sector sets up the services. Once profitable, this is opened to competition. This is the model in France and elsewhere.

I actually a PPP would be the only way a HSR line along the NEC would ever be built. No state, town, agency, or taxpayer is going to even consider footing the bill especially with the view Americans have on government (try telling a conservative that it's the government's job to "do big things").

Pellegrine wrote:
Build a new dedicated high-speed track that is elevated in some parts bypassing level crossings and some stations. Heck, make it 400 kmh / 250 mph! If the average speed between WAS-NYP is 82 mph, then that's pathetic. IMO, from WAS-NYP the route should be: Washington Union-Baltimore Penn-Philadelphia 30th-NY Penn. (Yes cut out Newark Penn, that traffic can take regional. If they're catching a flight there, the can book a connection from DCA/IAD/BWI/PHL.

This is the real test for the rest of the nation, because this route is the most profitable, and would be even given a $20-25 billion investment in this type of dedicated rail.

Where would you put the new line? This area is the densest in the nation in terms of people, roads, business, and infrastructure. There's just no room because the country was built around cars and the interstate system. I agree with your routing, but if you want to use those stations you'd still have to build branches from your new line to those existing stations, which will slow trains considerably and for a long time going in/out of stations. There's no chance a new HSR line would cost 25 billion. Estimates in California, where their HSR is being analyzed and is much easier to design/build (less dense population, fewer infrastructure concerns, etc), stand at around 103 million dollars per mile of track. With the NYC-WAS line being around 220 miles, you're looking at 22.6 billion without all the consideration for new land, eminent domain, displacement of people/business/roads/etc or anything else. You say it would break even, but when? In 2011 (the last year I could find numbers for) Acela Express made a profit of 125 million (the NEC as a whole made a profit of 61 million). If we're conservative and say it costs 30 billion and even if I make the assumption that HSR is a roaring success and profits double, it will take 120 years for the new NEC to turn a profit. By that time, it will be obscolete and new construction will have taken its place, increasing the break-even time considerably. Still a good idea?

Unfortunately, it will just never happen. Amtrak will continue to polish the turd that is the Acela Express but it will remain, at its crux, a turd.

Incidentally, I will be the happiest person alive if I am proven wrong - you're welcome to keep this post to shove down my throat - because as a rail signals engineer, I wish nothing more than to see rail (especially HSR) adopted here in the USA and especially where I grew up (NYC).
 
ozglobal
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:40 pm

ANITIX87 wrote:
ozglobal wrote:
Not sure what your image of European cities is. Yes, they're more compact, but the metro areas of London and Paris at 14Million and 12Million population respectively are bigger than nearly all US cities and relatively few live in the city centre. Yet, Paris - London city centre - city centre HSR has 85% of the market. Travellers in my example from DC to NY will typically be doing business and staying in a certain radius of the city centre, as they do in London and Paris. (I have lived in all four cities. Have you?)

Major European cities have several large train stations, which makes the size of the city MUCH smaller in the spirit my comment was intended. If London only had Waterloo Station and Paris only had Gard du Nord, you'd be right to compare the populations. Neither Americans nor Europeans live in large numbers in city centers, but the Europeans usually have a way of getting to their primary stations via mass transit, something that is severely lacking in the USA. Having to drive to a major terminus to catch a high-speed train is considerably more troublesome than being able to hop on a bus/metro as you can do in Europe.


This common come back of American HSR skeptics has always been for me one of the most puzzling: The argument seems to go, commuting to a major centralised transport hub in a US major city is about as much fun as cranial bore surgery, so this will majorly curtail ridership. Then for love of logic, why oh why are they, under the same hellish constraints, so willing to do so for another highly centralised transport hub with poor mass transit called an "air...port" ??

ANITIX87 wrote:
ozglobal wrote:
You make the mistake of thinking I am proposing a self contained business case for a private venture. Nothing of the sort. This is a strategic infrastructure investment with a 10-25year pay back in GDP growth. No business can take that bet. That's what government is for: doing big things for the furtherment of civilisation; and it works and it produces GDP growth everywhere it has happened. The state sinks the costs of the dedicated line. The corporate sector sets up the services. Once profitable, this is opened to competition. This is the model in France and elsewhere.

I actually a PPP would be the only way a HSR line along the NEC would ever be built. No state, town, agency, or taxpayer is going to even consider footing the bill especially with the view Americans have on government (try telling a conservative that it's the government's job to "do big things").


To the so called US 'conservatives,' who are nothing of the sort, whose GOP just imploded to the eye of anyone paying attention, I would point them to one of their own pin-up-boys, Eisenhower, who spent gargantuan public funds to open up the country through public infrastructure: the Interstate network.

ANITIX87 wrote:
Incidentally, I will be the happiest person alive if I am proven wrong - you're welcome to keep this post to shove down my throat - because as a rail signals engineer, I wish nothing more than to see rail (especially HSR) adopted here in the USA and especially where I grew up (NYC).


Very glad to here it. Appreciating the value of HSR to a society is a very good indicator of someone who gets the concept of the "Common Good," a value all too lacking in the US since the early 70's.
 
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Polot
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:24 am

ozglobal wrote:
This common come back of American HSR skeptics has always been for me one of the most puzzling: The argument seems to go, commuting to a major centralised transport hub in a US major city is about as much fun as cranial bore surgery, so this will majorly curtail ridership. Then for love of logic, why oh why are they, under the same hellish constraints, so willing to do so for another highly centralised transport hub with poor mass transit called an "air...port" ??

Because air...ports are usually on the outskirts of cities and are designed to connect to and have easy access from the highway system, with ample room for parking. Major cities in the US (just like everywhere else) are crowded with limited (and often very expensive) parking, meaning if you want a major centralized transport hub in the middle of the city you need to build up the mass transit system linking the hub to the rest of the metro area so that people can easily access it.

ozglobal wrote:
To the so called US 'conservatives,' who are nothing of the sort, whose GOP just imploded to the eye of anyone paying attention, I would point them to one of their own pin-up-boys, Eisenhower, who spent gargantuan public funds to open up the country through public infrastructure: the Interstate network.

Eisenhower left the presidency 55 years ago. Today's conservative and the GOP are very different.
ozglobal wrote:
Very glad to here it. Appreciating the value of HSR to a society is a very good indicator of someone who gets the concept of the "Common Good," a value all too lacking in the US since the early 70's.

Most Americans see the value of HSR, and honestly most Americans think HSR is a very cool concept, and wishes it was in the US. But then you look at the cost of implementing it. "Common Good" doesn't mean you should ignore "Common Sense." The money necessary to build a HSR network in the US can in many areas be much better spent on other infrastructure improvements, rather than having a heavily subsidized loss making HSR "just because."
 
ANITIX87
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:05 pm

ozglobal wrote:
This common come back of American HSR skeptics has always been for me one of the most puzzling: The argument seems to go, commuting to a major centralised transport hub in a US major city is about as much fun as cranial bore surgery, so this will majorly curtail ridership. Then for love of logic, why oh why are they, under the same hellish constraints, so willing to do so for another highly centralised transport hub with poor mass transit called an "air...port" ??

You cannot possibly compare airports to rail stations. Access to airports in the US is, largely, unacceptable when it comes to mass transit options. Most airports are distant from city-centers and are made to be accessed by road. Additionally, people don't see the airport as a "quick" getaway place. It's tedious, it's slow, and it's mostly for leisure and longer trips, so losing 2 hours when you're going away for a week or have a 6-hour flight doesn't seem like the end of the world. Nobody would want to lose 2 hours on a quick business trip or a short getaway.

ozglobal wrote:
To the so called US 'conservatives,' who are nothing of the sort, whose GOP just imploded to the eye of anyone paying attention, I would point them to one of their own pin-up-boys, Eisenhower, who spent gargantuan public funds to open up the country through public infrastructure: the Interstate network.

Modern conservatives are a vastly different bunch than the Republicans from the middle of the 20th century. When Eisenhower beat Stevenson in '52 and '56, the only states that voted Democratic were the Bible Belt states, which have been hardcore Republican since 1964 when the dynamic shift happened.

ozglobal wrote:
Very glad to here it. Appreciating the value of HSR to a society is a very good indicator of someone who gets the concept of the "Common Good," a value all too lacking in the US since the early 70's.

Be careful using "common good" in the USA - most Americans think it sounds like socialism - and something that's good for the 10 million people who use HSR each year is NOT necessarily good for the 290 million other Americans, especially those who need social programs to live or who are in support of school and healthcare benefits. Thinking HSR would benefit the society as a whole is too utopian. It would, simply, be a money-draining eye candy for the agency running it, an over-priced convenience for the few people using it, and a briefly interesting destination for railfans.

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