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ozglobal
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:04 pm

ANITIX87 wrote:
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.


Sorry, but how do you do business trips between cities without rail OR going to the airport. Are you really suggesting the fastest option in the US is to drive long haul??

ANITIX87 wrote:
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 rail fans.


So all the other countries in the world were HSR is a sustainable and resounding long term success are just drinking the cool-aid in your view and the associated GDP growth is a mirage and they just need to be more defeatist about the whole thing, like Americans? I'll stick to the (quite 'centrist' and btw Christian) notion of the 'common good.' If it 'sounds like socialism' then it's not me who needs to be careful but those who allowed themselves to be manipulated to such a degree that centrist policy sounds like Stalin coming for them in the night...
 
DfwRevolution
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:52 pm

ozglobal wrote:
So all the other countries in the world were HSR is a sustainable and resounding long term success are just drinking the cool-aid in your view and the associated GDP growth is a mirage and they just need to be more defeatist about the whole thing, like Americans?


Plainly: yes.

There is no meaningful GDP growth in Europe and Japan is actually shrinking. The Euro Zone has averaged 0.6% growth since 2008 versus 1.3% in the USA. That difference is staggering. At that pace, the U.S. economy will double in 53 years while the EU will double in 105 years.

Workforce productivity in Europe significantly trails the USA. Even Germany - if it became a U.S. state - would be ranked in the bottom half of the U.S. economy with a productivity roughly between Oklahoma and Montana.

The only place you see robust GDP growth and high-speed rail are developing economies like China that were growing rapidly anyway.

This is the 21st century and choo-choo trains are not the answer. Low cost, flexible infrastructure that can be used by multiple classes of vehicles provides more value and more economic opportunity than massive sums spent on fixed infrastructure like rail. It's a good thing you like high-speed rail because you probably won't be able to afford all the cool stuff that gets invented in the next hundred years.
 
coolian2
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 1:00 am

Wow. I can only laugh.
 
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Pellegrine
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:08 am

ANITIX87 wrote:
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).


Elevate the track over the current rights of way where there is no extra land, rip up the Acela tracks. So what if it costs 50 billion+. America needs a SERIOUS infrastructure investment. The Japanese did it with FAR less land.
 
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Pellegrine
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:14 am

ANITIX87 wrote:
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).


I don't know you, so I'm reluctant to shove anything down your throat. I'm just a dreamer, well a realistic dreamer, and it is possible with current technology. It just requires the political will and the capital.
 
ozglobal
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:46 pm

DfwRevolution wrote:
ozglobal wrote:
So all the other countries in the world were HSR is a sustainable and resounding long term success are just drinking the cool-aid in your view and the associated GDP growth is a mirage and they just need to be more defeatist about the whole thing, like Americans?


Plainly: yes.

.......

Workforce productivity in Europe significantly trails the USA. Even Germany - if it became a U.S. state - would be ranked in the bottom half of the U.S. economy with a productivity roughly between Oklahoma and Montana.


Is that based on OECD GDP per hours worked? Because the US and European countries fall roughly in the same range, with Norway, Ireland and Luxembourg ahead of the US and Belgium, the NL, and France close (93-100%), with Germany at 91%. If that's 'trailing', then OK. It's worth it to live in a society that's not dangerously divided between the hyper rich and the hyper poor like the US.

DfwRevolution wrote:
This is the 21st century and choo-choo trains are not the answer. Low cost, flexible infrastructure that can be used by multiple classes of vehicles provides more value and more economic opportunity than massive sums spent on fixed infrastructure like rail. It's a good thing you like high-speed rail because you probably won't be able to afford all the cool stuff that gets invented in the next hundred years.


Not sure where this bitterness comes from, but anyway, I can only assume that your approved 'low cost flexible infrastructure' means roads?
 
tommy1808
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 2:46 pm

ozglobal wrote:
Is that based on OECD GDP per hours worked? Because the US and European countries fall roughly in the same range, with Norway, Ireland and Luxembourg ahead of the US and Belgium, the NL, and France close (93-100%), with Germany at 91%. If that's 'trailing', then OK. It's worth it to live in a society that's not dangerously divided between the hyper rich and the hyper poor like the US.


He didn´t just say "trailing", he said "significantly trailing....

DfwRevolution wrote:
This is the 21st century and choo-choo trains are not the answer. Low cost, flexible infrastructure that can be used by multiple classes of vehicles provides more value and more economic opportunity than massive sums spent on fixed infrastructure like rail. It's a good thing you like high-speed rail because you probably won't be able to afford all the cool stuff that gets invented in the next hundred years.


Not sure where this bitterness comes from, but anyway, I can only assume that your approved 'low cost flexible infrastructure' means roads?[/quote]

and of course no country with extensive passenger HSR networks had made studies regarding the macroeconomic return of such an investment, and that of course does not mean that for every single recently build track roads lost in that category, right? ;-)

best regards
Thomas
 
DfwRevolution
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:45 pm

Pellegrine wrote:
Elevate the track over the current rights of way where there is no extra land, rip up the Acela tracks. So what if it costs 50 billion+. America needs a SERIOUS infrastructure investment. The Japanese did it with FAR less land.


So if it costs $50 billion dollars, then it's probably not worth building. I have no desire to emulate the decaying Japanese economy.

ozglobal wrote:
Is that based on OECD GDP per hours worked? Because the US and European countries fall roughly in the same range, with Norway, Ireland and Luxembourg ahead of the US and Belgium, the NL, and France close (93-100%), with Germany at 91%.


It is based on absolute production, which is the appropriate measure for assessing demand on transportation infrastructure. How much goods/services are being produced per person? The difference is staggering. Only the tiny microstates outproduce the Unites States. The U.S. has cities that are bigger than Norway and Switzerland. The countries with meaningful population and land area trail the U.S. by double-digits.

ozglobal wrote:
If that's 'trailing', then OK. It's worth it to live in a society that's not dangerously divided between the hyper rich and the hyper poor like the US.


You made a quantitative argument associating high-speed rail with GDP growth. By quantitative measures, developed countries with HSR networks trail the U.S. GDP growth by a staggering amount. Now that your quantitative argument has flopped, you're back to a subjective argument.

Anyone else notice the trend among the choo-choo train supporters? Damn the facts. Damn the cost. Trains are the answer!

ozglobal wrote:
Not sure where this bitterness comes from, but anyway, I can only assume that your approved 'low cost flexible infrastructure' means roads?


Not bitterness, but perhaps fatigue at your obstinate insistence that choo-choo trains are an essential component of the infrastructure mix.

I consider low-cost to include roads, airports, and port facilities. Each of those can be used by multiple sizes and types of vehicles to reach infinite numbers of destinations at free flowing time intervals. HSR can take a fixed vehicle type along a fixed path at fixed times. It's estimated that $9 billion USD was invested to get all of the major U.S. east coast ports ready for the new post-Panmax vessels and yet Pellegrine is willing to spend 5x on a single rail corridor. Get real!

tommy1808 wrote:
ozglobal wrote:
Is that based on OECD GDP per hours worked? Because the US and European countries fall roughly in the same range, with Norway, Ireland and Luxembourg ahead of the US and Belgium, the NL, and France close (93-100%), with Germany at 91%. If that's 'trailing', then OK. It's worth it to live in a society that's not dangerously divided between the hyper rich and the hyper poor like the US.


He didn´t just say "trailing", he said "significantly trailing....


Small differences in GDP growth produce huge changes in outcome. It's the power of compounding growth. I gave a concrete example for you. In my lifetime, the American economy is on pace to double in size. You will need to wait until the 22nd century for the European economy to do the same.
 
ozglobal
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:02 pm

DfwRevolution wrote:

ozglobal wrote:
Not sure where this bitterness comes from, but anyway, I can only assume that your approved 'low cost flexible infrastructure' means roads?


Not bitterness, but perhaps fatigue at your obstinate insistence that choo-choo trains are an essential component of the infrastructure mix. .


Don't think anyone has a monopoly here on obstinance or being fatigued :-). Some of us has claimed that HSR developed nations have seen a contribution to their GDP from those developments. Your point that their overall GDP growth is inferior to that of the US, that the US lacks HSR and therefore assigned causality to this one factor is, I hope, disingenuous. Japan's GDP is shrinking, as you know, not because of their HSR network, but due to the demographic cliff they have fallen off in the past 2 generations.
 
tommy1808
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:44 pm

DfwRevolution wrote:
In my lifetime, the American economy is on pace to double in size. You will need to wait until the 22nd century for the European economy to do the same.


In my lifetime both the US and the German economy did double. Since I am at my halfway point statistically I see no reason why the next half should have any different outcome from the first.
You also forget that you have all those wet dreams of neo-liberals in your country, while we have everything that supposedly slows down economic growth. Extensive welfare and social security systems, high taxes, free education,..... ,....
Guess good infrastructure can make up for all those obsticles.
You also can't compare GDP per capita, you have to correct for different changes in demografics. I have the feeling that the percentage of people that actually do work to grow the GDP develops somewhat different from the US.

Best regards
Thomas
 
coolian2
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:28 pm

Trains are not the answer....as trains in Auckland are outgrowing station capacity and we're putting in a $3 billion tunnel through downtown because we've determined roads are most certainly not the answer.

"Choo choo" trains are widely acknowledged as the most efficient outcome. It's funny that only right wing personal freedom types are the ones that favor more single occupant cars....
 
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Polot
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:43 pm

coolian2 wrote:
Trains are not the answer....as trains in Auckland are outgrowing station capacity and we're putting in a $3 billion tunnel through downtown because we've determined roads are most certainly not the answer.

"Choo choo" trains are widely acknowledged as the most efficient outcome. It's funny that only right wing personal freedom types are the ones that favor more single occupant cars....


No one said trains weren't an answer. They are and the US needs a better developed rail (both metro and regional) network. But you have to be smart about the types of train you are using. As you said in Auckland they are putting in a $3 billion tunnel to help ease congestion and grow the network. I note, however, they are not spending 10 tens of billions of dollars on a HSR network. Aren't you sad that your country is failing you and ignoring the "common good?" Why won't New Zealand see the light like idyllic Europe/China/Japan?

I don't think anyone is advocating that we should stop spending money trying to improve our rail network. Rather spending money to develop a completely dedicated HSR operation is a colossal waste of money with highly questionable benefits.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:14 pm

Polot wrote:
I note, however, they are not spending 10 tens of billions of dollars on a HSR network. Aren't you sad that your country is failing you and ignoring the "common good?" Why won't New Zealand see the light like idyllic Europe/China/Japan?


Well for obvious reasons, high speed rail isn't really an option in a smallish country of 4,7 million people, that is world famous for its mountain ranges and the fact that two of the biggest cities are separated by some 50 kilometers of several hundred meters deep water ;)
 
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Polot
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:38 pm

VSMUT wrote:
high speed rail isn't really an option in a smallish country of 4,7 million people

So? Most of the US has a population density similar to New Zealand.
VSMUT wrote:
that is world famous for its mountain ranges

So is Japan.
VSMUT wrote:
the fact that two of the biggest cities are separated by some 50 kilometers of several hundred meters deep water

Didn't stop the Chunnel or the Japanese (Seikan Tunnel).




Note I'm not actually serious. I know HSR doesn't make sense in NZ...but it doesn't make sense for most of the US. The one place it does make sense (the NE corridor) is so built up, with no attention in that build up paid to rail for decades, that the cost of inserting a viable dedicated HSR line in it would be astronomical.

The US has long neglected to spend on its rail network and other mass transit options in favor of our roads. That doesn't mean, however, to rectify the situation you swing to the other end of the pendulum and overspend on the solution. It means you make careful, smart, measured, and economical decisions tailored to individual cases. For the NE Corridor in the US that means maximizing speed and capacity under current track/route limitations, and look for opportunities here and there along the way to make the track/routing more efficient for speed. Just like Amtrak is doing with Acela. If you have an ant infestation in your house you can easily get rid of it by blowing your house up with dynamite. Its cool and flashy, but not necessarily the smart thing to do in the long run...
 
coolian2
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:22 pm

I apologise if my "Trains are not the answer" sarcasm didn't translate well through text.
 
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Pellegrine
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:27 pm

DfwRevolution wrote:
Pellegrine wrote:
Elevate the track over the current rights of way where there is no extra land, rip up the Acela tracks. So what if it costs 50 billion+. America needs a SERIOUS infrastructure investment. The Japanese did it with FAR less land.


So if it costs $50 billion dollars, then it's probably not worth building. I have no desire to emulate the decaying Japanese economy.


You do realize $50 billion is a child's allowance in the US Fed budget. You must realize the cornucopia of crumbling road infrastructure in America as well...
 
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Polot
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:50 pm

Pellegrine wrote:
DfwRevolution wrote:
Pellegrine wrote:
Elevate the track over the current rights of way where there is no extra land, rip up the Acela tracks. So what if it costs 50 billion+. America needs a SERIOUS infrastructure investment. The Japanese did it with FAR less land.


So if it costs $50 billion dollars, then it's probably not worth building. I have no desire to emulate the decaying Japanese economy.


You do realize $50 billion is a child's allowance in the US Fed budget. You must realize the cornucopia of crumbling road infrastructure in America as well...


$50 billion here, $50 billion there and soon you are talking about real money;). Adding a $50 billion HSR network doesn't suddenly alleviate our need to address our crumbling road infrastructure. What is smarter: $50 billion on a HSR (in the NE corridor) and $10 billion on our road infrastructure (nationwide), or $50 billion on our road infrastructure (nationwide) and $10 billion on the NE corridor rail network?
 
tommy1808
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:12 am

Polot wrote:
$50 billion here, $50 billion there and soon you are talking about real money;). Adding a $50 billion HSR network doesn't suddenly alleviate our need to address our crumbling road infrastructure. What is smarter: $50 billion on a HSR (in the NE corridor) and $10 billion on our road infrastructure (nationwide), or $50 billion on our road infrastructure (nationwide) and $10 billion on the NE corridor rail network?


Given how governments like the US, Germany and a few other can get long term loans at or below the inflation rate, the obvious answer is: if you are reasonably sure about it having a macro(!) economic return of investment, build it now. Both.
Even something enormous like JFK-LAX, build over 20 years, would probably cost a fraction of a percent of the DoDs Budget, which certainly is much harder to justify in terms of its effects on GDP and living quality. At least w/o looking at a much broader picture than you need to for rail.

But w/o the proper environment HSR doesn´t make sense in the US, or anywhere for that matter. In the NRE you probably don´t need 220 miles/hours speeds for amazing short travel times, even 125 miles/hour would probably do it, if they can be reached over most of the distance.
Switzerland probably shows the right way, instread of going for shortest possible travel times between major railway stations, they went for overall optimized travel times and connections across the network.

I think it is a lot about mind set. Many Americans seem to think in terms of "I am not using it, so why should my tax money be invested in it?", while people in Europe probably tend to think more along the lines of "I am not using it, but yay, less road congestion. Freie Fahrt für Freie Bürger."

What good is a highway w/o speed limit if you can only creep at 50 .....

best regards
Thomas
 
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Aesma
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:18 am

DfwRevolution wrote:
There is no meaningful GDP growth in Europe and Japan is actually shrinking. The Euro Zone has averaged 0.6% growth since 2008 versus 1.3% in the USA. That difference is staggering.


Growth is closely related to population growth, so the situation in Japan and some European countries is not surprising, it is alarming.

Also, the Eurozone did a significant deficit control operation, without allowing the central bank to intervene until recently. Spending money you don't have is a great way to boost growth. In fact I'd say the results in the US are quite bad compared to the sums spent, probably because the money wasn't spent on the right things.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:03 am

Polot wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
high speed rail isn't really an option in a smallish country of 4,7 million people

So? Most of the US has a population density similar to New Zealand.


That's because there are vast amounts of land in the US that has a population of nought. The NE corridor serves a potential market of 50 million, compared to 4,7 million in New Zealand. The distance from Boston to Washington is the same as from Auckland to Wellington.

Polot wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
that is world famous for its mountain ranges

So is Japan.


Japan has a lot more people, and forcing them onto roads or planes would inevitably cause congestion. BTW, the population density of Japan is 340.8/km2, compared to 359.6/km2 for the Northeast megalopolis, so they are in fact very similar ;)

Polot wrote:
VSMUT wrote:
the fact that two of the biggest cities are separated by some 50 kilometers of several hundred meters deep water

Didn't stop the Chunnel or the Japanese (Seikan Tunnel).


The Chunnel connects the British population of 64 mio. (13,9 mio. of which live in London) with the French of 66 mio. (12,4 mio. of Paris).

The Seikan tunnel is one I don't really see the greatest economic benefit of. It was probably more of a political decision, to avoid further accidents at sea, due to the horrible weather in the area.


Polot wrote:
Note I'm not actually serious. I know HSR doesn't make sense in NZ...but it doesn't make sense for most of the US.


It would mean fewer regional jets/turboprops plowing those needlessly short routes, opening up more room in airports for flights to places much further away. It would relieve some of the most over congested roads in the region. A regional HSR network can also be used for commuter trains over shorter distances, and connect city centers to airports, something that greatly benefits air transport.
 
ANITIX87
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:58 pm

ozglobal wrote:
Sorry, but how do you do business trips between cities without rail OR going to the airport. Are you really suggesting the fastest option in the US is to drive long haul??

In the United States, in many, many cases, yes. Our interstate system is so good (hence why rail is so far behind) that it's almost always the best option in terms of price and time. I take business trips to Pittsburgh every 2 months and I do about 75% of them by car (6hr drive) and the other 25% by plane. I am going on vacation to DC twice in October, and I will be driving both times.

ozglobal wrote:
So all the other countries in the world were HSR is a sustainable and resounding long term success are just drinking the cool-aid in your view and the associated GDP growth is a mirage and they just need to be more defeatist about the whole thing, like Americans? I'll stick to the (quite 'centrist' and btw Christian) notion of the 'common good.' If it 'sounds like socialism' then it's not me who needs to be careful but those who allowed themselves to be manipulated to such a degree that centrist policy sounds like Stalin coming for them in the night...

After all the discussion we had, I think I've realized part of my point may not be coming across. HSR is perfect for Europe and Asia where the cities and infrastructure were built around them from the start. It is not the solution for the United States where we've been so focused on the automobile and our cities have grown and expanded so quickly around the suburbs. Our metropolitan areas (note: not city centers, but the entire catchment areas) of our airports and major transit hubs are generally much larger than those in Europe or Asia. Our rail network is so far behind that it's beyond saving in terms of new infrastructure. Give me a rehabilitated interstate system over a shiny new HSR (even if the former costs more) any day of the week here in the USA.

Pellegrine wrote:
I don't know you, so I'm reluctant to shove anything down your throat. I'm just a dreamer, well a realistic dreamer, and it is possible with current technology. It just requires the political will and the capital.

You can shove whatever you want down my throat (interpret however you want). I'm a dreamer, too - I joined the rail systems industry for a reason - but at some point you've got to be realistic and know what will or won't work given market trends, economics, sustainability, growth, and public response. Saying, "it can be done, so what if it costs $50 billion" is short-sighted when you consider the lack of infrastructure improvements in the USA, the current state of automotive infrastructure around which our country is built, the lack of mass-transit use nationwide, and the population distribution and lack of free land we have here in the Northeast. I never once said it was impossible, I just said it'll never happen.
 
DfwRevolution
Posts: 9314
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:39 pm

coolian2 wrote:
"Choo choo" trains are widely acknowledged as the most efficient outcome. It's funny that only right wing personal freedom types are the ones that favor more single occupant cars....


Efficient in terms of what? Energy? Who cares, we are sitting on more energy resources than we know what to do with. Energy isn't scare. Capital is scare and high-speed rail is a terribly inefficient use of capital. Just ballpark some numbers around to realize the magnitudes involved here:

O'hare Modernization Project - $6.7 billion
O'hare Travelers per Year - 77 million
Capital per Annual Traveler - $87

Pelligrene's NE Corridor Plan - $50+ billion
NE Regional + Acela Travelers per year - 11 million
Capital per Annual Traveler - $4,545+ (!)

The decision to proceed with any capital project is a statement that, not only is it a good investment, but it is the best possible investment. Look at those numbers and compare it to the opportunities presented by roads, airports, and seaports and tell me a $50+ billion NE rail corridor is the best possible use of capital.

ozglobal wrote:
Your point that their overall GDP growth is inferior to that of the US, that the US lacks HSR and therefore assigned causality to this one factor is, I hope, disingenuous.


It's no more or less disingenuous than your factually incorrect claim that economies with HSR enjoy superior GDP growth.

I think it is fair to say that HSR is more a symptom than the disease itself. The disease is that European economies do a poor job managing capital and labor efficiently. The symptom is a willingness to sink massive sums of money in wasteful projects like HSR.

Pellegrine wrote:
DfwRevolution wrote:
Pellegrine wrote:
Elevate the track over the current rights of way where there is no extra land, rip up the Acela tracks. So what if it costs 50 billion+. America needs a SERIOUS infrastructure investment. The Japanese did it with FAR less land.


So if it costs $50 billion dollars, then it's probably not worth building. I have no desire to emulate the decaying Japanese economy.


You do realize $50 billion is a child's allowance in the US Fed budget. You must realize the cornucopia of crumbling road infrastructure in America as well...


If it's an NPV negative project, you don't do it if it costs $50.

And I don't accept the premise that the U.S. infrastructure - roads in particular - are "crumbling." I think it's an issue that the public sector and construction industries have overblown for the purpose of diverting themselves more taxpayer funds. Who exactly writes those infrastructure "Report Cards?" The American Society of Civil Engineers. When an industry trade group says you need to give it billions of dollars, that shouldn't merit the slightest skepticism? Headline: barbers say short hair is in!
 
Acheron
Posts: 1852
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 1:14 am

Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:51 pm

DfwRevolution wrote:
Pellegrine wrote:
Elevate the track over the current rights of way where there is no extra land, rip up the Acela tracks. So what if it costs 50 billion+. America needs a SERIOUS infrastructure investment. The Japanese did it with FAR less land.


So if it costs $50 billion dollars, then it's probably not worth building. I have no desire to emulate the decaying Japanese economy.

Small differences in GDP growth produce huge changes in outcome. It's the power of compounding growth. I gave a concrete example for you. In my lifetime, the American economy is on pace to double in size. You will need to wait until the 22nd century for the European economy to do the same.


Instead, lets be an economy that even the dumbest medical bill can send people to bankruptcy and poverty.

I love it when people rave about macroeconomic indicators even if it means it will fuck a lot of people.

Trickle down 'nomics just kicked in, yo!.*

*too bad it's bullshit.
 
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Pellegrine
Posts: 2691
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:19 am

Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:46 pm

DfwRevolution wrote:
coolian2 wrote:
"Choo choo" trains are widely acknowledged as the most efficient outcome. It's funny that only right wing personal freedom types are the ones that favor more single occupant cars....


Efficient in terms of what? Energy? Who cares, we are sitting on more energy resources than we know what to do with. Energy isn't scare. Capital is scare and high-speed rail is a terribly inefficient use of capital. Just ballpark some numbers around to realize the magnitudes involved here:

O'hare Modernization Project - $6.7 billion
O'hare Travelers per Year - 77 million
Capital per Annual Traveler - $87

Pelligrene's NE Corridor Plan - $50+ billion
NE Regional + Acela Travelers per year - 11 million
Capital per Annual Traveler - $4,545+ (!)

The decision to proceed with any capital project is a statement that, not only is it a good investment, but it is the best possible investment. Look at those numbers and compare it to the opportunities presented by roads, airports, and seaports and tell me a $50+ billion NE rail corridor is the best possible use of capital.

ozglobal wrote:
Your point that their overall GDP growth is inferior to that of the US, that the US lacks HSR and therefore assigned causality to this one factor is, I hope, disingenuous.


It's no more or less disingenuous than your factually incorrect claim that economies with HSR enjoy superior GDP growth.

I think it is fair to say that HSR is more a symptom than the disease itself. The disease is that European economies do a poor job managing capital and labor efficiently. The symptom is a willingness to sink massive sums of money in wasteful projects like HSR.

Pellegrine wrote:
DfwRevolution wrote:

So if it costs $50 billion dollars, then it's probably not worth building. I have no desire to emulate the decaying Japanese economy.


You do realize $50 billion is a child's allowance in the US Fed budget. You must realize the cornucopia of crumbling road infrastructure in America as well...


If it's an NPV negative project, you don't do it if it costs $50.

And I don't accept the premise that the U.S. infrastructure - roads in particular - are "crumbling." I think it's an issue that the public sector and construction industries have overblown for the purpose of diverting themselves more taxpayer funds. Who exactly writes those infrastructure "Report Cards?" The American Society of Civil Engineers. When an industry trade group says you need to give it billions of dollars, that shouldn't merit the slightest skepticism? Headline: barbers say short hair is in!


Those rails are good for more than one year. Do you know the average price paid for a RT WAS-NYP on Acela? Do you know the average pax carried per day at that average revenue point?

NE is the busiest, most profitable part of Amtrak. That's why Washington-New York often costs 2-3x what Washington-Chicago costs (an even longer distance).
 
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Pellegrine
Posts: 2691
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:19 am

Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:16 pm

DfwRevolution wrote:
coolian2 wrote:
"Choo choo" trains are widely acknowledged as the most efficient outcome. It's funny that only right wing personal freedom types are the ones that favor more single occupant cars....


Efficient in terms of what? Energy? Who cares, we are sitting on more energy resources than we know what to do with. Energy isn't scare. Capital is scare and high-speed rail is a terribly inefficient use of capital. Just ballpark some numbers around to realize the magnitudes involved here:

O'hare Modernization Project - $6.7 billion
O'hare Travelers per Year - 77 million
Capital per Annual Traveler - $87

Pelligrene's NE Corridor Plan - $50+ billion
NE Regional + Acela Travelers per year - 11 million
Capital per Annual Traveler - $4,545+ (!)

The decision to proceed with any capital project is a statement that, not only is it a good investment, but it is the best possible investment. Look at those numbers and compare it to the opportunities presented by roads, airports, and seaports and tell me a $50+ billion NE rail corridor is the best possible use of capital.

ozglobal wrote:
Your point that their overall GDP growth is inferior to that of the US, that the US lacks HSR and therefore assigned causality to this one factor is, I hope, disingenuous.


It's no more or less disingenuous than your factually incorrect claim that economies with HSR enjoy superior GDP growth.

I think it is fair to say that HSR is more a symptom than the disease itself. The disease is that European economies do a poor job managing capital and labor efficiently. The symptom is a willingness to sink massive sums of money in wasteful projects like HSR.

Pellegrine wrote:
DfwRevolution wrote:

So if it costs $50 billion dollars, then it's probably not worth building. I have no desire to emulate the decaying Japanese economy.


You do realize $50 billion is a child's allowance in the US Fed budget. You must realize the cornucopia of crumbling road infrastructure in America as well...


If it's an NPV negative project, you don't do it if it costs $50.

And I don't accept the premise that the U.S. infrastructure - roads in particular - are "crumbling." I think it's an issue that the public sector and construction industries have overblown for the purpose of diverting themselves more taxpayer funds. Who exactly writes those infrastructure "Report Cards?" The American Society of Civil Engineers. When an industry trade group says you need to give it billions of dollars, that shouldn't merit the slightest skepticism? Headline: barbers say short hair is in!


Capital isn't scarce either, not for something like this. Loans are made out of thin air...as long as the bank or consortium has the adequate fractional reserve. The NE Corridor is very profitable. I just said $50B to say it; I've got no idea how much it would cost. Studies would need to be done, compromises selected, blah, blah, etc.
 
User avatar
Polot
Posts: 12431
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:01 pm

Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:56 pm

Pellegrine wrote:
Capital isn't scarce either, not for something like this. Loans are made out of thin air...as long as the bank or consortium has the adequate fractional reserve. The NE Corridor is very profitable. I just said $50B to say it; I've got no idea how much it would cost. Studies would need to be done, compromises selected, blah, blah, etc.


No offense, but please don't ever got a job where you are in charge of the money. Your rather cavalier attitude towards $50 billion+ and loans is alarming...


Amtrak, by the way, estimated in 2012 that it would cost $151 billion (triple what we have been talking about) to construct a 220 mph HSR rail in the NE corridor with a 2030 completion for Washington to NYC and 2040 completion for NYC to Boston.

Pellegrine wrote:
NE is the busiest, most profitable part of Amtrak. That's why Washington-New York often costs 2-3x what Washington-Chicago costs (an even longer distance).

Its the most profitable part of Amtrak's current system/structure. That doesn't mean you can throw unlimited money at it and it will remain profitable. Amtrak is able to charge more in the NE corridor because it is highly competitive with air travel. Longer routes like Washington-Chicago are not, so Amtrak must discount to help attract passengers and fill trains. If Amtrak charges too much on the NE corridor however people will just turn back to the airlines.
 
User avatar
Pellegrine
Posts: 2691
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:19 am

Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:32 pm

Polot wrote:
Pellegrine wrote:
Capital isn't scarce either, not for something like this. Loans are made out of thin air...as long as the bank or consortium has the adequate fractional reserve. The NE Corridor is very profitable. I just said $50B to say it; I've got no idea how much it would cost. Studies would need to be done, compromises selected, blah, blah, etc.


No offense, but please don't ever got a job where you are in charge of the money. Your rather cavalier attitude towards $50 billion+ and loans is alarming...


Amtrak, by the way, estimated in 2012 that it would cost $151 billion (triple what we have been talking about) to construct a 220 mph HSR rail in the NE corridor with a 2030 completion for Washington to NYC and 2040 completion for NYC to Boston.

Pellegrine wrote:
NE is the busiest, most profitable part of Amtrak. That's why Washington-New York often costs 2-3x what Washington-Chicago costs (an even longer distance).

Its the most profitable part of Amtrak's current system/structure. That doesn't mean you can throw unlimited money at it and it will remain profitable. Amtrak is able to charge more in the NE corridor because it is highly competitive with air travel. Longer routes like Washington-Chicago are not, so Amtrak must discount to help attract passengers and fill trains. If Amtrak charges too much on the NE corridor however people will just turn back to the airlines.


Too late. I work in finance. $50B isn't a lot of money for this type of infrastructure project. It just isn't. How much do you think it would cost to build a Denver Intl. in 2016 dollars?
 
User avatar
Polot
Posts: 12431
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:01 pm

Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:23 pm

Pellegrine wrote:
Polot wrote:
Pellegrine wrote:
Capital isn't scarce either, not for something like this. Loans are made out of thin air...as long as the bank or consortium has the adequate fractional reserve. The NE Corridor is very profitable. I just said $50B to say it; I've got no idea how much it would cost. Studies would need to be done, compromises selected, blah, blah, etc.


No offense, but please don't ever got a job where you are in charge of the money. Your rather cavalier attitude towards $50 billion+ and loans is alarming...


Amtrak, by the way, estimated in 2012 that it would cost $151 billion (triple what we have been talking about) to construct a 220 mph HSR rail in the NE corridor with a 2030 completion for Washington to NYC and 2040 completion for NYC to Boston.

Pellegrine wrote:
NE is the busiest, most profitable part of Amtrak. That's why Washington-New York often costs 2-3x what Washington-Chicago costs (an even longer distance).

Its the most profitable part of Amtrak's current system/structure. That doesn't mean you can throw unlimited money at it and it will remain profitable. Amtrak is able to charge more in the NE corridor because it is highly competitive with air travel. Longer routes like Washington-Chicago are not, so Amtrak must discount to help attract passengers and fill trains. If Amtrak charges too much on the NE corridor however people will just turn back to the airlines.


Too late. I work in finance. $50B isn't a lot of money for this type of infrastructure project. It just isn't. How much do you think it would cost to build a Denver Intl. in 2016 dollars?

Well it ended up costing ~$7.8 billion in 2016 dollars. Even if we assume it would cost more today than 20 years ago, and taking into account improvements made to the airport since opening we are still a long way off from $50 billion...

DEN also sees about 5x more passengers annually as Amtrak gets on their NE corridor services.
 
User avatar
Pellegrine
Posts: 2691
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:19 am

Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:10 am

Polot wrote:
Pellegrine wrote:
Polot wrote:

No offense, but please don't ever got a job where you are in charge of the money. Your rather cavalier attitude towards $50 billion+ and loans is alarming...


Amtrak, by the way, estimated in 2012 that it would cost $151 billion (triple what we have been talking about) to construct a 220 mph HSR rail in the NE corridor with a 2030 completion for Washington to NYC and 2040 completion for NYC to Boston.


Its the most profitable part of Amtrak's current system/structure. That doesn't mean you can throw unlimited money at it and it will remain profitable. Amtrak is able to charge more in the NE corridor because it is highly competitive with air travel. Longer routes like Washington-Chicago are not, so Amtrak must discount to help attract passengers and fill trains. If Amtrak charges too much on the NE corridor however people will just turn back to the airlines.


Too late. I work in finance. $50B isn't a lot of money for this type of infrastructure project. It just isn't. How much do you think it would cost to build a Denver Intl. in 2016 dollars?

Well it ended up costing ~$7.8 billion in 2016 dollars. Even if we assume it would cost more today than 20 years ago, and taking into account improvements made to the airport since opening we are still a long way off from $50 billion...

DEN also sees about 5x more passengers annually as Amtrak gets on their NE corridor services.


DEN, as it opened, is not the DEN we know of today. You can look around the world, a 3km+ runway capable of heavies $1B+, a world-class terminal $1B+, etc.

Of course DEN sees more traffic than Amtrak NEC. They offer all those "$39" specials, and they're in Denver of all places.
 
User avatar
Polot
Posts: 12431
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:01 pm

Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:31 am

Pellegrine wrote:
Polot wrote:
Pellegrine wrote:

Too late. I work in finance. $50B isn't a lot of money for this type of infrastructure project. It just isn't. How much do you think it would cost to build a Denver Intl. in 2016 dollars?

Well it ended up costing ~$7.8 billion in 2016 dollars. Even if we assume it would cost more today than 20 years ago, and taking into account improvements made to the airport since opening we are still a long way off from $50 billion...

DEN also sees about 5x more passengers annually as Amtrak gets on their NE corridor services.


DEN, as it opened, is not the DEN we know of today. You can look around the world, a 3km+ runway capable of heavies $1B+, a world-class terminal $1B+, etc.

Of course DEN sees more traffic than Amtrak NEC. They offer all those "$39" specials, and they're in Denver of all places.


Actually DEN is largely the same as when it opened. No new terminals has been added. Concourse C was expanded 2 years ago by 5 gates for $46 million, and I believe B has been expanded too.

I believe no new runways have been added but I could be wrong on that.

Let's say each runway is $1B and the terminal cost $3 billion. That's $9billion for the 6 runways and the terminal. What are they spending the rest of the $40 billion on? Are they paving the apron with gold?
 
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Pellegrine
Posts: 2691
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:19 am

Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:19 am

Polot wrote:
Let's say each runway is $1B and the terminal cost $3 billion. That's $9billion for the 6 runways and the terminal. What are they spending the rest of the $40 billion on? Are they paving the apron with gold?


Now that would really be a waste of money unless they covered it in rough-surface glass bricks, or something like that. A regular LD-9 (in ideal circumstances, with a solid door) can only carry about 340-349 Good Delivery gold bars (~400 oz t), weighing 9,236-9,573 pounds. This is worth about $180.5 million USD as of 9/16/16.
 
stlgph
Posts: 11414
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:57 am

In Illinois it has cost $3 billion to re-work a stretch of 15 mile single line track between Pontiac and Dwight on solid, flat, prairie land to allow for Lincoln Service trains to go faster (100-110 miles per hour) to help, along with other work on the line to reduce Chicago to St. Louis travel time by merely an hour.

This $50B magical number that's been come up with for the proposed suggestions on the Northeast Corridor including building new tracks, elevating tracks ... well, I hope to come visit your unicorn farm, kids.
 
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Aesma
Posts: 14861
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:35 pm

European towns are centuries older than the invention of the train, so I'm not sure how they have been built around it. The situation is the reverse in the USA.

Building new tracks, tunnels, stations, in cities, is expensive no doubt, it still gets done, for example the Météor project in Paris (Paris Métro Line 14), still being expanded. Then outside the cities, it's not that expensive. TGV lines built today, including the needed bridges, tunnels etc., average at 25 millions euro per Km. For example the soon to be finished 350 km/h capable LGV Sud Europe Atlantique, putting Bordeaux at 2 hours from Paris (a 500Km straight line trip), with 300Km of new track parallel to the current one, will cost about 7 billions euros.
 
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Polot
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:16 pm

Aesma wrote:
European towns are centuries older than the invention of the train, so I'm not sure how they have been built around it. The situation is the reverse in the USA.


Many European towns were also heavily damaged by WW2. Easier to incorporate rail when you are rebuilding from rubble. Many towns/cities in the NE also predate mass adoption of trains (remember we are talking about the oldest part of the country), or completely razed their rail network as automobiles started hitting the scene in the early 20th century.

The NE US just doesn't have the wide open country side to make a cheap rail line, and in the parts of the country that do the distances between cities are so vast it is difficult for even the fastest current HSR technology to be competitive with air travel.
 
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Pellegrine
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Re: Amtrak debuts Acela replacement

Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:11 am

Polot wrote:
Amtrak, by the way, estimated in 2012 that it would cost $151 billion (triple what we have been talking about) to construct a 220 mph HSR rail in the NE corridor with a 2030 completion for Washington to NYC and 2040 completion for NYC to Boston.


Great, I want to see it. Acela can easily (short in, busy times) be $280+ for business class OW WAS-NYP, and $400+ for first class OW! Someone work the numbers over 50+ years. I'm too tired now. I might try to get some inside fare info next week.

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