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seb146
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High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:31 pm

There is some talk of high speed or commuter rail possible in the United States. I don't know the history, so I am asking: Why can't the freight companies like BNSF or UP build their own or intigrate their own high speed passenger lines on their tracks?
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mdsh00
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:39 pm



Quoting Seb146 (Thread starter):
BNSF or UP build their own or intigrate their own high speed passenger lines on their tracks?

Sharing tracks with freight companies is already a major pain in the butt as it is, especially depending on who owns the track. Imagine how many times a high speed train would have to slow down or stop in order to let a freight train pass.
 
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:54 pm

Quoting Seb146 (Thread starter):
Why can't the freight companies like BNSF or UP build their own or intigrate their own high speed passenger lines on their tracks?

Aside from technical-operational issues that may or may not be easily resolved, I don't think they can compete with cars considering the level interstates are subsidized (i.e., 100%).

Changing this would be difficult because of the auto-industry lobbyists. And probably from truck and freight companies, too.

[Edited 2009-02-28 08:55:55]
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af773atmsp
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 5:15 pm

There has been talk of connecting MSP, MSN, MKE (?) and Chicago by high speed rail. Its a good idea even though I'm sure NW and other airlines would be affected.
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N867DA
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 5:31 pm



Quoting Seb146 (Thread starter):
Why can't the freight companies like BNSF or UP build their own or intigrate their own high speed passenger lines on their tracks?

The major freight companies ditched passenger rail service for a reason-it was bleeding them to death. By the late 60s some trains had just one or two passenger coaches and the rest was freight/mail. Amtrak was formed in 1971 and there were a few holdouts who refused to join the system. I believe Southern Railway (now part of Norfolk-Southern) and Denver and Rio Grande Western (absorbed by Southern Pacific, now part of Union Pacific) tried to run their own passenger rail systems but they died out in the late 70s and early 80s.

Simply put, the freight companies see no way to make profit running their own trains on the tracks. In many places there is no way to simply "upgrade" the track to be suitable for high speed operations and in places where it is possible I suppose the costs may be too high. They can't even run the rolling stock they have now on new high speed rails (I doubt a boxcar can hold up at 150mph+).

I'm not 100% sure, but I'd bet the only regular passenger service BNSF and UP have today is in Chicago. I'm sure someone know knowledgeable than me can tell us if BNSF, UP, etc run their own trains on Metra routes.

For now, just look at pictures of beautiful streamliners from a bygone era and wonder how it must have been...
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DocLightning
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 5:45 pm

We'll hopefully get it in CA! The SF-LA route is crazy. You can either drive 6 hours or brave the delay-prone airways for $150 round-trip made 3 months in advance.

We need that train. It'll relieve so much congestion I can't even begin to describe it.
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N867DA
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:01 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
We'll hopefully get it in CA! The SF-LA route is crazy. You can either drive 6 hours or brave the delay-prone airways for $150 round-trip made 3 months in advance.

You could also hop on the Coast Starlight tomorrow for $52. It'll take thirteen hours but I'm sure there's plenty of scenery on the way!  Silly
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seb146
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:12 pm



Quoting Mdsh00 (Reply 1):
Sharing tracks with freight companies is already a major pain in the butt as it is, especially depending on who owns the track. Imagine how many times a high speed train would have to slow down or stop in order to let a freight train pass.

I have been on Amtrak Cascades many times between Portland and Seattle. I don't think it would take much to lay down tracks next to the current freight tracks that can cut back and forth for passing.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
You can either drive 6 hours or brave the delay-prone airways for $150 round-trip made 3 months in advance.

Same way between SEA-PDX. The biggest difference is flights are not delayed between SEA-PDX much.
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texan
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:16 pm



Quoting Seb146 (Thread starter):
There is some talk of high speed or commuter rail possible in the United States. I don't know the history, so I am asking: Why can't the freight companies like BNSF or UP build their own or intigrate their own high speed passenger lines on their tracks?

One of the reasons is the track gauge. From what I understand, and someone please correct me if I am wrong, trains like RENFE, ICE, and TGV in Europe run on a different gauge of track that better supports their operations. We would have to build entirely new tracks. While Amtrak does operate the Northeast Corridor on "high speed" rail, it operates at much slower speeds than high speed rail in the majority of Europe and the Far East. Turkey and Russia also have trains that operate faster than the U.S.

The other problem is that freight trains are not high speed. So while high speed trains COULD operate on some tracks currently in operation, the freight companies still own the tracks. That gives them the right of way, making passenger trains follow behind them. To truly have an integrated high speed rail system, we need to build new tracks independent of the freight companies. Moreover, we need a more comprehensive and better thought out national rail plan. Want an example? Back in the mid-1990s, the State of Texas contracted with TGV to build high speed rail between the Texas Triangle (Dallas, Houston, San Antonio). It would have operated essentially in straight lines, following the freeways as much as possible. Jump forward to the current Texas proposal. It consists of two lines: San Antonio to DFW and Houston to Killeen/Fort Hood. To get from either Dallas or San Antonio to Houston, you have to take one train to Killeen, change trains, then go to Houston. Moreover, the train is currently planned to have stops in Hillsboro and Waco on the way down to Killeen. Furthermore, the U.S. high speed rail corridor does not include a line from either Houston to San Antonio or Dallas! The San Antonio-Dallas line extends to Oklahoma City and Tulsa in one direction; Texarkana and Little Rock in the other; but not Houston!!!

That's enough ranting from me, but those are the two biggest problems right now with building high speed rail on existing track.
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DocLightning
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:23 pm



Quoting Texan (Reply 8):
From what I understand, and someone please correct me if I am wrong, trains like RENFE, ICE, and TGV in Europe run on a different gauge of track that better supports their operations.

RENFE is the Spanish rail company. Red Nacional de Ferocarriles Españoles. AVE (Alta Velocidad España) is the Spanish high-speed train operated by RENFE.

They operate on standard gauge tracks, but the construction and ballasting is special to tolerate the stresses of several hundred tons of train passing by at 300 KPH.
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IgneousRocks
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:24 pm



Quoting Seb146 (Reply 7):
I don't think it would take much to lay down tracks next to the current freight tracks that can cut back and forth for passing.

It would be a huge engineering and construction task...although you are right it is doable in some form. Although the environmental lobby would tie up the project for years and double or triple its eventual cost.

This is the untold cost of California's proposed high speed line. The taxpayers are going to be penalized for two to three times its cost.
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itsjustme
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:29 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
We'll hopefully get it in CA! The SF-LA route is crazy. You can either drive 6 hours or brave the delay-prone airways for $150 round-trip made 3 months in advance.

I was thinking more like a bullet train between San Diego and Vegas. It could parallel I-15 with a stop in Corona to pick up/drop off passengers. I am surprised Steve Wynn hasn't spearheaded something like this yet.
 
Klaus
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:36 pm



Quoting Texan (Reply 8):
One of the reasons is the track gauge. From what I understand, and someone please correct me if I am wrong, trains like RENFE, ICE, and TGV in Europe run on a different gauge of track that better supports their operations. We would have to build entirely new tracks.

Well, at least according to Rail gauge - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, only Spain differs there (And I'm not entirely certain that they're running their high-speed trains on wide gauge tracks). Pretty much the rest of Europe shares the same gauge with North America, so both the ICE and the TGV would fit in that respect. If I remember correctly, the first wide gauge ICE train sets have recently been delivered to Russia, so that would not be a problem either.

Our high-speed lines have indeed been constructed separately from the regular lines for the reasons given above, and even though they have cost billions of € the benefits justify the investment.

It is really exciting that the USA will get real high-speed rail connections at last. Especially for medium-range travel they are an excellent and convenient addition to the transport infrastructure.
 
Klaus
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:42 pm



Quoting IgneousRocks (Reply 10):
This is the untold cost of California's proposed high speed line. The taxpayers are going to be penalized for two to three times its cost.

It is an experience that high-speed trains often produce substantial positive economic effects for the regions they connect. Whether the actual cost overruns will actually reach the level you're suggesting is one thing. That there will be zero positive effects as you imply, however, is almost certainly false.

In the end there will be a relatively short period of high-volume initial investment for construction but after that a long period of economic benefits with comparatively limited expenditures for maintenance.
 
af773atmsp
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:51 pm

The U.S could build maglev tracks for maglev transportation. It is expensive, but it would mean not having to rely on freight train tracks or completely building new tracks. I think there are a couple proposals for maglev transport in the U.S.
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IH8BY
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:02 pm



Quoting Af773atmsp (Reply 14):
or completely building new tracks

Well, building maglev tracks comes with all the pitfalls (planning etc) that standard rail brings, plus its own issues, other than remaining untested at long distance. I'd imagine this would include the considerably greater cost of the infrastructure and the inability to use existing infrastructure. The latter might not seem important, but should high speed lines be put temporarily out of action or should connections be sought from the high speed network to places that could not support the new infrastructure (as TGVs do to enter certain cities into which building an LGV is impractical - they are then limited to the maximum line speed), rail-based high speed trains provide the flexibility that a Maglev network couldn't.

Quoting N867DA (Reply 6):
You could also hop on the Coast Starlight tomorrow for $52. It'll take thirteen hours but I'm sure there's plenty of scenery on the way!  

Ha, the Coast Starlate... I took it from Seattle to Emeryville, missing out what appear to be the most delay-affected part of the route! Mind you I wouldn't have made it to LA even if I'd wanted to - I was travelling the day after the terrible crash in Chatsworth and connection to LA was made by motorcoach for part of the journey.
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AverageUser
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:28 pm



Quoting Klaus (Reply 12):
Pretty much the rest of Europe shares the same gauge with North America,

I don't know if you and I understand Europe the same way, but I'd judge from the Wikipedia article that pretty well 50% of Europe in fact does not.

 
Klaus
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:40 pm



Quoting AverageUser (Reply 16):
I don't know if you and I understand Europe the same way, but I'd judge from the Wikipedia article that pretty well 50% of Europe in fact does not.

Sheer land area is hardly the issue here, and Russia is only partially european even in that sense.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:43 pm



Quoting Klaus (Reply 12):

Well, at least according to Rail gauge - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, only Spain differs there (And I'm not entirely certain that they're running their high-speed trains on wide gauge tracks).

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

Quoting Af773atmsp (Reply 14):
The U.S could build maglev tracks for maglev transportation. It is expensive, but it would mean not having to rely on freight train tracks or completely building new tracks. I think there are a couple proposals for maglev transport in the U.S.

Maglev costs twice as much per distance as HSR. And at the speeds involved, the track has to be very straight or the environment within the train would become very unsafe for passengers. So not only is the track itself expensive, but the alignment can get outrageously expensive once you have to start building bridges and tunnels to get under and over obstacles that can't be moved.

Maglev runs at an outrageously high speed. A design in Japan could make 500 km/h or about 310MPH. Even though the train has no moving parts other than the train itself, both the rapidly alternating magnetic fields and the movement of the train through the air are very noisy. The magnetic fields set oxygen molecules in the air vibrating, which is why MRI scanners make all that noise. This raises a significant environmental concerns with respect to both noise and electromagnetic interference.

And on what corridors could we use maglev? It would be nice to have a SD-LA-SF-PDX-SEA line. Speeds of 500 KPH would permit SF-LA in about an hour and would all but eliminate air travel for anything other than the longest routes (SAN-SEA) but the geography of the West Coast is so tricky that this is prohibitive. Also, the energy costs for moving a body through the atmosphere at ground level at those speeds also get prohibitive. We'd need a form of electricity generated by something cleaner than fossil fuels.

At present, our civilization is not yet advanced enough to build a functioning maglev network. This is a project for a civilization that doesn't have an energy crunch, that has a lot more resources available, and that can think farther into the future than our civilization can at this point in time.

High-Speed Rail, on the other hand, has been proven in multiple applications in multiple geopolitical settings to be cost-effective, in fact a money-maker, safe, reliable, and popular.
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Klaus
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:49 pm



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

Thanks, that makes sense.
 
Goldenshield
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:56 pm

When the Front Runner was built in SLC, it was built on about 95% seperate trackage from SLC-OGD. However, the rail company that dispatches FrontRunner puts them in priority over freight, Especially since they only go through that 5% of track every 4 times an hour.

Also, that 95% seperate trackage took almost 2 years to build.
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Leskova
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:16 pm



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

Which would be kind of absurd... they'd be delaying a project which would have just about the best long-term environmental impact possible...
Smile - it confuses people!
 
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Aaron747
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:20 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 18):
Maglev runs at an outrageously high speed. A design in Japan could make 500 km/h or about 310MPH. Even though the train has no moving parts other than the train itself, both the rapidly alternating magnetic fields and the movement of the train through the air are very noisy. The magnetic fields set oxygen molecules in the air vibrating, which is why MRI scanners make all that noise. This raises a significant environmental concerns with respect to both noise and electromagnetic interference.

Tunnel boom is just about the only issue with trains that Japanese and German R&D have proved unable to resolve completely. Funny thing is, they seem to have convinced government regulators that there's nothing that can be done about it, so in a country like Japan, it justifies the cost of locating higher speed trains in remote areas away from population centers. Sound familiar? Airports, anyone? Haha...

The new Chuo shinkansen that is a proposed super maglev between Tokyo and Osaka has been aligned on a routing through the Central Japanese Alps rather than the coastal route the Tokaido shinkansen has used since its opening in the early 60s. The costs on the table are absolutely staggering to get maglev built through a mountain range, but nonetheless, the government was convinced it was the only way to trade more speed for less environmental impact.  Wow!
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AverageUser
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:37 pm

Quoting Klaus (Reply 17):
Quoting AverageUser (Reply 16):
I don't know if you and I understand Europe the same way, but I'd judge from the Wikipedia article that pretty well 50% of Europe in fact does not.

Sheer land area is hardly the issue here, and Russia is only partially european even in that sense.

You were not talking of Russia but of Europe. At least in Finland they still teach that Russia west of the Ural mountains belongs to Europe. What was that "extra" sense? A chauvinistic one?

Taking into consideration the extensive rail network that is operating in the CIS, in the Baltics, and Finland, I should say it's rather more than "pretty much nothing besides Spain".

I can reveal a little secret here. VR of Finland is operating Pendolino HSTs, and a joint venture is well underway to extend the HST line from Helsinki to St. Petersburg, all on broadgauge. Russian Railroads have already rebuilt St. Petersburg-Moscow for 250 km/h.
So even if you're unsure of your gauge, Alstom will sell you some Pendolinos.

http://www.kareliantrains.fi/en/index/Company.html

Pendolino FI-RU

[Edited 2009-02-28 14:41:42]
 
Klaus
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:45 pm



Quoting AverageUser (Reply 23):
You were not talking of Russia but of Europe. At least in Finland they still teach that Russia west of the Ural mountains belongs to Europe. What was that "extra" sense? A chauvinistic one?

Trying flame bait again? I'm not interested.  Yeah sure

When comparing the respective network sizes the picture should be pretty clear.
 
AverageUser
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:48 pm



Quoting Klaus (Reply 24):

When comparing the respective network sizes the picture should be pretty clear

Then it's some pretty clear numbers coming up from you soon?

Quoting Klaus (Reply 24):
Trying flame bait again? I'm not interested

Neither am I, so please stay focused.  Smile
 
austinairport
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:03 am



Quoting Texan (Reply 8):

The other problem is that freight trains are not high speed. So while high speed trains COULD operate on some tracks currently in operation, the freight companies still own the tracks. That gives them the right of way, making passenger trains follow behind them. To truly have an integrated high speed rail system, we need to build new tracks independent of the freight companies. Moreover, we need a more comprehensive and better thought out national rail plan. Want an example? Back in the mid-1990s, the State of Texas contracted with TGV to build high speed rail between the Texas Triangle (Dallas, Houston, San Antonio). It would have operated essentially in straight lines, following the freeways as much as possible. Jump forward to the current Texas proposal. It consists of two lines: San Antonio to DFW and Houston to Killeen/Fort Hood. To get from either Dallas or San Antonio to Houston, you have to take one train to Killeen, change trains, then go to Houston. Moreover, the train is currently planned to have stops in Hillsboro and Waco on the way down to Killeen. Furthermore, the U.S. high speed rail corridor does not include a line from either Houston to San Antonio or Dallas! The San Antonio-Dallas line extends to Oklahoma City and Tulsa in one direction; Texarkana and Little Rock in the other; but not Houston!!!

wo, wo. Hillsboro and Waco? But not Austin? Makes no sense. LOL.
But Killeen would be great. I live in Temple.
 Smile

but the high speed freight rail thing. Well here's my theory.

Trains have the huge motor that generates electricity. The electricity is transferred to all the cars via a cable. The power is used to turn THERE wheels. The train doesnt actually pull the cars. Its just there for the conductor, and to provide the power.
So most high speed rail trains are electric and draw there power from an overhead line. So wouldnt it make sense that if we built the tracks the same gauge as what current freight trains run on, then, the proposed high speed rail and freight trains could run on the same track. IDK. just throwin that out there.. LOL.  Smile
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Goldenshield
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:24 am

Quoting AustinAirport (Reply 26):
Trains have the huge motor that generates electricity. The electricity is transferred to all the cars via a cable. The power is used to turn THERE wheels. The train doesnt actually pull the cars. Its just there for the conductor, and to provide the power.

Kinda, sorta.

The only trains in North America that have traction motors on each car, let alone each wheelset, are light rail. Heavy rail only has the head-end (and sometimes, tail-end, if it's a heavy freight train) loco(s) for power. All of the other cars are not self-powered and rely on the loco for power.

[Edited 2009-02-28 19:54:19]
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MOBflyer
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:53 am

Passenger traffic is more economically stimulated via increased frequency than increased speed.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:16 am



Quoting AustinAirport (Reply 26):

Trains have the huge motor that generates electricity. The electricity is transferred to all the cars via a cable. The power is used to turn THERE wheels. The train doesnt actually pull the cars. Its just there for the conductor, and to provide the power.

Depends on the train. For example, the new ICE-3 design (the Seimens Velaro) has distributed traction where each car has traction motors. On the other hand, the Talgo trainsets that RENFE uses for the AVE have a locomotive in front that pulls the rest of the cars.

Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 28):

Passenger traffic is more economically stimulated via increased frequency than increased speed.

That's not necessarily true. It is true for a certain range of travel times, but not all. For example, suppose I have a choice of driving from New York to LA or flying. If I drive, the frequency is essentially infinite; I can leave whenever I want. Yet people choose to fly because of the speed advantage.
-Doc Lightning-

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cpd
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:56 am



Quoting Texan (Reply 8):
One of the reasons is the track gauge. From what I understand, and someone please correct me if I am wrong, trains like RENFE, ICE, and TGV in Europe run on a different gauge of track that better supports their operations. We would have to build entirely new tracks. While Amtrak does operate the Northeast Corridor on "high speed" rail, it operates at much slower speeds than high speed rail in the majority of Europe and the Far East. Turkey and Russia also have trains that operate faster than the U.S.

One of the attractions of TGV is that it can run on the same tracks as all the other trains operated by SNCF.

It can operate at a higher speed on some of these classic lines - (150-190km/h), but it can just operate like everything else - until it gets on the LGV - where the speed picks up to around 300-310km/h. I know the max speed is 300km/h - but they do creep above that at times.
 
WunalaYann
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:47 am



Quoting Klaus (Reply 12):
(And I'm not entirely certain that they're running their high-speed trains on wide gauge tracks)

They are not. The high-speed rail network in Spain is the only part of the Spanish rail system that operates on UIC gauge (1.436m).

Quoting Cpd (Reply 30):
It can operate at a higher speed on some of these classic lines - (150-190km/h), but it can just operate like everything else - until it gets on the LGV - where the speed picks up to around 300-310km/h. I know the max speed is 300km/h - but they do creep above that at times.

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

Quoting Klaus (Reply 13):
comparatively limited expenditures for maintenance.

I am a noted proponent of rail, and more specifically high-speed rail. But maintenance costs are actually massive, provided the operator/owner chooses to maintain the network properly. If you do it the Aussie way, it's basically free since, well, we don't maintain our tracks at all...  biggrin 

And therefore everybody here acts surprised when we see the bill for entirely re-tracking and re-sleepering the whole friggin' network all in one go. Muhaha.  sarcastic 
 
austinairport
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:47 am



Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 27):
Kinda, sorta.

The only trains in North America that have traction motors on each car, let alone each wheelset, are light rail. Heavy rail only has the head-end (and sometimes, tail-end, if it's a heavy freight train) loco(s) for power. All of the other cars are not self-powered and rely on the loco for power.

dang. I was close.  tongue 
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tz757300
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:54 am



Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 27):
The only trains in North America that have traction motors on each car, let alone each wheelset, are light rail. Heavy rail only has the head-end (and sometimes, tail-end, if it's a heavy freight train) loco(s) for power.

I disagree. Many rail lines (I don't consider these light rail) in the Northeast of the US have traction motors on each car. SEPTA, NJ Transit, LIRR, and Metro-North use transiets that use traction motors on each car.
 
cpd
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:28 am



Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 31):

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

But in comparison with classic rail technologies - even the 150-220km/h speeds are a big improvement - not that it is always constant, because they tend to go between 100-200km/h as needed. I was thinking of TGV Atlantique no. 400 on it's way to Bordeaux in my example.

I haven't seen a TGV do 320 in normal operation, only 300km/h (as shown on the speedo tape-readout and the 300 limit light) - but it is well known they'll do much better than that.

Makes me a bit angry that our governments here view high speed rail as so difficult. They won't do anything long-term. They are dreadfully lazy.

TGV Duplex was the desired option, but it has never gone anywhere.
 
Goldenshield
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:19 am



Quoting TZ757300 (Reply 33):
Many rail lines (I don't consider these light rail) in the Northeast of the US have traction motors on each car. SEPTA, NJ Transit, LIRR, and Metro-North use transiets that use traction motors on each car.

You're right. I forgot about subway type systems. In fact, the New York Subway system is technically considered Heavy rail; however, I was thinking mainline use, so it completely skipped my mind.
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AverageUser
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:57 pm

Here's a more or less historical 1995 clip on the Pendolino HST EMU from the YLE TV open archives. I hear the VR executive claim "this train will definitely not freeze up in winter", which might finally have been realized now in 2009 after they modified the (electrical) couplings. Last year they still had to give up the scheduled coupling of sets in my station and start driving them routinely as two trains to Helsinki 5 minutes apart.

http://www.yle.fi/player/player.jsp?id=48735&locale=

(Let's hope there are no viewing locale restriction on this particular clip)
 
IgneousRocks
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:51 pm



Quoting Leskova (Reply 21):
Which would be kind of absurd... they'd be delaying a project which would have just about the best long-term environmental impact possible...

I agree, it's absurd. But it is going to happen. Although Southwest Airlines played a role in defeating the proposed Texas Triangle in the 1990s, the environmental lobby too massaged the sentiments of the prevalent agricultural and ranching industries for them to come out against the high speed lines in many instances.
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ltbewr
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:59 pm

A major killer for High Speed Rail in the USA is that many have to travel from suburb to suburb, not from center city to center city thus giving advantage to cars or even air travel. This is one of the factors that killed off pax train travel in the USA from the early 1950's and further compounded by the creation of the Interstate highway system, cheap fuel prices, higher incomes making cars affordable to all but a few persons.
 
af773atmsp
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:55 pm



Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 38):

What about a major transit hub in city centers? If the Central Corridor (light rail line from Minneapolis to St. Paul) is built the St. Paul Union Depot might be used as a transit hub for buses, light rail, commuter rail, and high speed rail to Chicago.
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seb146
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:16 pm



Quoting Af773atmsp (Reply 39):
What about a major transit hub in city centers? If the Central Corridor (light rail line from Minneapolis to St. Paul) is built the St. Paul Union Depot might be used as a transit hub for buses, light rail, commuter rail, and high speed rail to Chicago.

That, too, is a problem. What does each city consider the "transit hub?" In Portland, Amtrak serves Union Station. Beginning in September, two light rail lines will stop about a block from there and the buses will be back on the Transit Mall (5th Ave and 6th Ave). In Seattle, commuter rail uses the same station as Amtrak, but light rail will be two blocks away. In both cases, buses are very close. In SFO, there is the Transbay Terminal and Jack London Square in OAK. IIRC, there is not much of a connection between BART and Jack London Square.

I don't know if high speed cross-country rail would work in this country. I think high speed rail will only work in corridors. Even if we do get 300MPH rail, no one will want to be on a train that long from New York to LA or Miami to Seattle except train enthusiasts. I don't think they would have the frequency to make it sustainable.
You bet I'm pumped!!! I just had a green tea!!!
 
MOBflyer
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:02 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 29):
That's not necessarily true. It is true for a certain range of travel times, but not all. For example, suppose I have a choice of driving from New York to LA or flying. If I drive, the frequency is essentially infinite; I can leave whenever I want. Yet people choose to fly because of the speed advantage.

But there will never be a high speed rail alternative that is competitive, time-wise, with air travel, on a segment that long. Study after study indicates that over reasonable distances for HSR, the "investment" in upgrading tracks to take speeds higher than 79 MPH for passenger trains does not pay off in enough increased ridership and revenue. I just wrote a business plan for "Southern Blazer Rapid Rail" - which would be a privately run passenger railroad throughout the Southeast United States, focused around Birmingham, AL. Through that, I have studied this quite thoroughly.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:57 pm



Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 41):
But there will never be a high speed rail alternative that is competitive, time-wise, with air travel, on a segment that long. Study after study indicates that over reasonable distances for HSR, the "investment" in upgrading tracks to take speeds higher than 79 MPH for passenger trains does not pay off in enough increased ridership and revenue.

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

Nobody is proposing HSR from JFK to LAX. Nor are we proposing it from Kansas City to St. Louis. We're building it from SFO-SAN via LAX with an extension to SMF.
-Doc Lightning-

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

Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:46 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 42):

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

Nobody is proposing HSR from JFK to LAX. Nor are we proposing it from Kansas City to St. Louis. We're building it from SFO-SAN via LAX with an extension to SMF.

Yes and no on that last paragraph Doc - Kansas City to St. Louis is a designated high speed rail corridor, but it then leads onto Chicago.

http://www.fra.dot.gov/downloads/Research/hsr_corridors_2009.pdf

Have to say I'm a bit surprised that Jacksonville isn't connected to either Orlando so as to allow Silver service (or at least what's now presently the Silver Star, since several Silver Meteor or Palmetto cities don't appear on the map) to ultimately become an uninterrupted high speed corridor running along the East Coast.
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PPVRA
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:04 pm

This is a pretty interesting history of the decline of American passenger railroads after WWII. The entire industry seem to have vanished in a couple of decades, with only some freight left.

One Act of congress, the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated the rail industry to an extent, seems to indicate that aside from dealing with subsidized interstates and autos, these companies were under a substantial and suffocating regulatory burden. Jimmy Carter and Congressman Staggers are probably responsible for we still having ANY rail around.

[Edited 2009-03-01 13:08:54]
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
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DocLightning
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:27 pm



Quoting Garnetpalmetto (Reply 43):

Yes and no on that last paragraph Doc - Kansas City to St. Louis is a designated high speed rail corridor, but it then leads onto Chicago.

OK, fair enough. I was just trashing the Midwest.  box 
-Doc Lightning-

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

Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:50 pm



Quoting MOBflyer (Reply 41):
Study after study indicates that over reasonable distances for HSR, the "investment" in upgrading tracks to take speeds higher than 79 MPH for passenger trains does not pay off in enough increased ridership and revenue.

I take these researchers had a solid background in Bumblebee Wing Studies?
I am riding regularly on trains that run faster than 127 km/h and there's both ridership and revenue, and I'm on the same planet still.
 
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LTU932
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:03 pm



Quoting Texan (Reply 8):
One of the reasons is the track gauge. From what I understand, and someone please correct me if I am wrong, trains like RENFE, ICE, and TGV in Europe run on a different gauge of track that better supports their operations.

Apart from some of Spain's rail tracks (some use 1668 mm and other 1435 mm) and maybe part of Eastern Europe (e.g. Russia, with its 1520 mm rail gauge), pretty much all European countries use the standard rail gauge of 1435 mm.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_gauge

What differs between some countries is the electric current to supply the trains. Germany uses, in its heavy rail network, 15 kV AC at 67 Hz, while other countries use e.g. 5 kV; in any case, AC power will always be used for this. Exceptions in Germany are the S-Bahn in Hamburg and Berlin which, while considered heavy rail, use DC power (750 V in Berlin, and 1200 V in Hamburg, both from a third rail, like a tube (U-Bahn). Some trains across the board however, can be fitted as multisystem trains, so they can work under different electric currents and even under DC power, allowing international service without the need of changing trains at the border or changing locomotives.

One of those multisystem trains is a derivative of the BR (class) 403 (aka ICE 3), which is the BR 406 (ICE 3M) and BR 406F (ICE 3MF). The ICE 3M was built for rail operations between Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria), while the ICE 3MF was built for service between Frankfurt/Main and Paris/Gare de l'Est.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICE_3
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seb146
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:18 pm



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

As far as the United States, if those studies were correct, why, then, is there rail service like Sounder, ACE, CalTrain, Coaster, and Metrolink as well as Amtrak Cascades service that is always near or completly full? If these trains were such a bad investment, why are they around?
You bet I'm pumped!!! I just had a green tea!!!
 
WunalaYann
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RE: High Speed Rail

Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:29 pm



Quoting LTU932 (Reply 47):
What differs between some countries is the electric current to supply the trains. Germany uses, in its heavy rail network, 15 kV AC at 67 Hz, while other countries use e.g. 5 kV; in any case, AC power will always be used for this.

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

Hence the quad-current Thalys and some high-tech freight locomotives.

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