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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
Yes 249 89.57%
No 29 10.43%
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 04:38 AM   #201
isaidso
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Montreal-New York should be built, but only after the Windsor-Quebec City route is built. Eastern Canada is falling further and further behind wealthier jurisdictions like Alberta and Texas. It is vital that this line be built.

You would think with the world's #1 rail equipment manufacturer (Bombardier) based in Montreal, that ground would have been broken already.

It has been proven time and time again that transportation infrastructure determines what geographical areas, and by extension cities, prosper and grow the most.

Montreal was at one point the most important city in the New World. It won't get back there any time soon, but you have to take the first step some time.
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 06:00 AM   #202
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewcs View Post
HSR is a waste of money in NA, especally Canada. It's faster to fly, and the distances are so much larger than in Europe or Asia, making it impratical in terms of time. It would have to be hopelessly subsidized in order to work. Besides, any project built out in Quebec or Ontario would be paid for by the west, who would see no benefit from it.
HSR would be very useful in NA for nearby cities. Imagine linking Los Angeles to San Diego, Phoenix, Tuscon, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland. The amount of air traffic between those cities is amazing, and it would take a lot of the strain off of their airports for flights like Los Angeles to New York, where HSR would not be practical.

I would like to see how much of a decrease in pollution we would see if the US would invest in this.

Btw, I know there is also an advantage for the East Coast, but I only know about West Coast issues.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 10:17 AM   #203
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HSR will be built (if ever) in the smaller shorter corridors....

but as long as the FRA has its Buff Strength Requirements and Canada follows suit...and as long as the idea is "jet trains" instead of electric....it's not gonna happen...

The Capital Corridor in Cali, Highway 2 in Alberta, Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal and Boston-Washington are probably the first candidates.....

By the way...ALSTOM's latest HSR train for the TGV service just topped 574 km/H in recent tests...hows that for "blow your mind" fast! And on wheels*

*this becomes more shocking especially when you consider that the Shanghai maglev is operating at 431km/h and the latest maglev shinkansen design has topped out at 581 km/h

Cheers, m

Ps. 300km/h is suggested as the upper "cruising speed" limit for HSR for multiple reasons...chief among them are safety, noise, construction costs and energy requirements....
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Old April 8th, 2007, 02:26 PM   #204
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..

Last edited by Jean Luc; April 8th, 2007 at 02:40 PM.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 02:36 PM   #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
HSR would be very useful in NA for nearby cities. Imagine linking Los Angeles to San Diego,
Dedicated HSR i.e. 300 kph may not be needed between Los Angeles and San Diego, as they are quite close together (less than 200 km AFAIK). An upgrade of the existing line for higher speeds (say 100-125 mph) may be all that is required to reduce travel times sufficiently to attract higher patronage. It would certainly be cheaper than a brand new HSL, have far less environmental impact and not require much or any property resumption. Indeed, it probably should be upgraded anyway, as I once watched a video of a train trip from San Diego to Oregon or Washington state and there was only a single track for part of the distance from SD to LA, yet these two metropolitan areas have a combined population of what, 14 million, at least.

In the U.K. they have upgraded their existing main intercity lines for speeds of up to 200 kph/125 mph (and even 225 kph on some stretches) and as a result their fast intercity trains have significant market share for journeys of up to several hundred kilometres.

Quote:
Originally Posted by allurban
Ps. 300km/h is suggested as the upper "cruising speed" limit for HSR for multiple reasons...chief among them are safety, noise, construction costs and energy requirements....
France's soon to be opened LGV Est (where the TGV speed record was recently set) will have a top operating speed of 320 kph right from the outset. They are hoping to increase that to 350-360 kph in the forseeable future if possible, and on other LGVs too.
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Old April 11th, 2007, 06:33 AM   #206
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I hope waking up an old thread is permissible.

It seems to me that the best way to implement a HSR system in US is to develop a "hub and spoke" system, like many airlines possess.

Regional networks would need to be developed first. They may or may not be high speed. For example, a "hub" in Chicago would serve routes going to Detroit, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and other Great Lakes and Midwest cities, which would form the "spokes".

One could be set up in Jacksonville, to serve as a "hub" for the rest of Florida, Denver could serve the Rocky Mountain states, L.A. to serve Southern California and Las Vegas, San Fran for Northern California, and so on.

After those networks were established, the "hubs" would then be connected by High Speed Rail, running uninterrupted between them.

Perhaps the cost of the system could be subsidized in part by the US Postal Service and package companies like Fed Ex and UPS, that could utilize the system's high speed hub connections for their next day or second day domestic deliveries. It would reduce the amount they need to invest in jet-based fleets.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 02:24 PM   #207
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not a chance. The major airlines hold too much stake in the US political stage. Investing tax payers money into a rail-net work? All the while fighting wars in Iraq and cutting taxes for large corporations?

Let's be realistic here.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 02:58 AM   #208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardmaster View Post
That's a pity. Sharing lines with commuter rail is a problem here too. One question: given that the US has numerous competing railways previously, what happened to all those easements? can't you find an old abandoned one along the Conneticut coast suitable for redevelopment as a high-speed corridor?

A pity about the pricing, too. I tried out about 170 miles of newly upgraded "regional fast rail" here recently ... with the bus between the two cities I visited, it cost me about $US 20. No wonder the trains always seem to be almost full!
Torn up and built on!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old April 14th, 2007, 03:04 AM   #209
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Well, like I recently said in "Why the US has little high-speed rail", the biggest problem rail has is the fact that every time someone brings up the topic of rail, the debate immediately jumps on the "180mph HSR at any cost" bandwagon, which ultimately kills any chance of it happening because the up-front costs for 180+mph HSR are so outrageously high, anyone with the slightest bit of fiscal responsibility recoils in horror.

And that's a shame, because rail IS something that scales up fairly well. You don't HAVE to do 180+mph on day one for it to be worthwhile. Assuming the corridor is already there, it costs about a million dollars per mile to throw down a second track that's good enough to run 110mph trains on (the fastest you can run in the US without eliminating grade crossings). With that brand new track, you can launch hourly service between cities ~200-300 miles apart (using the old track to allow trains meeting from opposite directions to pass each other without having to completely stop on a siding) and easily achieve reliable, 99.9% on-time 4-hour or less travel between them. At least, you can if you also have dispatching control over the track and can force the freight trains to get out of the way, instead of vice-versa (the BIG problem Amtrak has).

Once you're running full hourly trains, you can build new track #2 (almost all RR corridors are at least 50' in Florida, most are 100-150'), and have trains leaving every half hour or less. When you start getting backups that cause two trains that left 10-20 minutes apart to end up in the same station somewhere along the way, THEN it's time to look into building the all-out HSR line.

There's nothing holy about the French or the TGV. They didn't build it out of some abstract sense of environmental responsibility or to bolster national pride. They did it because their existing passenger trains were running 24/7 at full capacity, and the only real way to solve the problem was to run faster trains.

There's a reason why people bitch about trains and transit needing subsidies, and don't gripe about freeways: just about everyone uses freeways daily, few use trains and transit. People generally don't obsess over the balance sheets of things they use all the time. People DO obsess, and scream loudly, about expensive projects like the proposed Tampa-Orlando HSR that would have cost tens of billions of dollars to build, and been of genuine use to almost nobody.

If hourly trains made reliably on-time 4 hour trips between Miami & Tampa+Orlando, few people would complain, or even care, if the system needed $25-100/year in outright subsidies for each person who lived in one of the served metro areas, because it would rapidly become a popular service. On the other hand, people in Miami (and everywhere else in the state) would raise holy hell if we had to kick in $250/year per taxpayer to help subsidize a high speed rail line that only ran between Tampa & Orlando, with no real hope of ever reaching Miami because the Tampa-Orlando line hemorrhaged so much money.

Cash resources aren't infinite. The more expensive the first phase of something is, and the fewer taxpayers who benefit directly from it, the less chance it'll ever expand beyond that first phase. Go for "cheap and reasonably fast" now, and worry about High Speed Rail(tm) when there's enough demand and revenue to responsibly finance it.

And forget trying to sell it on environmental grounds. It won't win voter support. Americans could give a flying f**k about the environment. At least, insofar as actually spending money is concerned. Instead, remember that post-9/11 air travel in America is like riding a boxcar to a nazi death camp, but less comfortable, with more missed connections and lost luggage. Driving 3-6 hours is boring. Intermediate-speed trains making 200-300 mile trips are slightly faster than driving, not much slower than flying, and enormously more enjoyable than both.

HERE's the selling point for rail: It's more enjoyable, less stressful, and might even be a tiny bit cheaper for people traveling by themselves. You can play with your laptop, binge in the dining car, and sleep all the way home if you feel like it. And it doesn't have to be expensive to build.

Last edited by miamicanes; April 14th, 2007 at 03:11 AM.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 03:06 AM   #210
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Quote:
Originally Posted by globill View Post
There is a revival of conventional rail serice in many places and Amtrak has added trains from Chicago to Milwaukee, St. Lous and Quincy over the years and civic groups in places such as Rockford and the Quad cities are clamoring for rail service to REopen.

In terms of highspeed rail, I think it'll end up happening at the state/regional level before the feds really get behind it. But I do believe it is coming.
This suggestion is focusing on the correct geography. State and regional rail service has to be established before long HSL are built in the USofA. The political problem is the exclusion of inter city (ie Amtrak) rail services for the Federal to State Transport subsidies so all support of new inter city rail services cannot be funded from the same sources as local commuter rail.

The sooner we let Amtrak die and include rail services in the overall Federal to State Transport subsidies, the sooner we will begin to rebuild Americas passenger railroads.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 03:31 AM   #211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miamicanes View Post
There's nothing holy about the French or the TGV. They didn't build it out of some abstract sense of environmental responsibility or to bolster national pride. They did it because their existing passenger trains were running 24/7 at full capacity, and the only real way to solve the problem was to run faster trains.

.
This is post I made on another thread.

I have been tracking the development of high speed railways in Asia and Europe since the 1960’s and I have never seen a vision or a plan for a “European High Speed Rail Network”. The current “”EHSRN”” is a pastiche of individual national development programs which reflect local problems, peer pressure and local politics. France, for example, has a plan which is subject change with every new government and the availability of Swiss, Italian and Spanish government funds. The only real vision that I have read came from the previous Spanish government. Their 2000-2007 investment plan stated that: “no provincial capitol shall be more than 4 hours from Madrid and six and half hours from Barcelona by rail”. All the current Spanish investment appears to be focused on this vision.

I never said that the emerging EHSRN was to relieve congestion, however I was not precise in my phraseology. I do believe that the first decisions by individual nations to build the new railways which now begin to constitute a possible EHSRN were based on serious problems of congestion on their networks at the time the investment decision was made. The first examples were the diretissama in Italy during the Mussolini regime. This was especially true of Japan with the Tohaido shinkansen, France with the LGV-se, Germany with the Mannhein – Stuttgart NBS and Spain with the Madrid – Seville AVE.

In the USofA we have become dismayed that that the nation which ran a Zephyr form Denver to Chicago in the 1930's and who traveled faster on a Metroliner from New York to Washington than the Japanese Shinkansen in the early 1960's is now running "Acelas" which only rank 10th or 11th in the world in journey time, start to stop, and will probbaly drop even further when the 2007 world speed survey is published.

I agree with "miamicanes", we need to rebuild our basic railways before we even begin to propose an HSL. Cailfornia maybe on the right track, they actually have a state wide system. Florida has a long way to go, but it has started.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 03:39 AM   #212
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Originally Posted by UD2 View Post
not a chance. The major airlines hold too much stake in the US political stage. Investing tax payers money into a rail-net work? All the while fighting wars in Iraq and cutting taxes for large corporations?

Let's be realistic here.
So does the Highway Lobby. We need to move the debate to States and to Regional compacts such as the Mid-West Regional Rail Initiative. Abandon Amtrak and include inter-city rail in the Federal to State transportation funding programs. Allow the states to use federal transport fund to develope inter-city rail and kill the Amtrak monopoly.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 03:46 AM   #213
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardmaster View Post
Even here, little old Bendigo, a city of about 60,000 people 100 miles away, gets a train every hour, more at peak, the fastest of which does the distance- city centre to city centre, start to stop,- in under 90 minutes, even though it has to slot into suburban (commuter) traffic. Certainly not TGV stuff, but ....
I have visited Bendigo, the "gateway to the to the Outback". Its reasonable train service might have something to do with the Military Establishments in Bendigo.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 03:50 AM   #214
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Originally Posted by Soufian View Post
Yeah, only HSR in 'regions' would be profitable and useful.
I think if these lines will be constructed: San Diege-LA-SF-Sacramento, Salem-Portland-Olympia-Seattle, Minneapolis-Milwaukee-Chicago, the BoshWash Corridor offcourse, Chicago-Indianapolis-Cincinatti-Columbus-Cleveland and a branch to Detroit and another one to Buffalo/Rochester. And maybe some other HSR lines in regions like Texas, Florida, Atlantic Coast or the Midwest.
If you combine this with aiport station, flights between US Regions and good public transport facilities from the HSR stations(Bus/Metro/Tram?Regional Train) I think that the US could get out of the car!

But i also think this is nothing more than just a dream that wont come true.

I believe that we have to start with intra-state travel.
The Bos-Wash corridor is bedeviled with multistae issues covering eight states (ie all trains must stop at Wilmington, Trenton and Providence)

Last edited by Trainman Dave; April 14th, 2007 at 04:57 AM.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 03:56 AM   #215
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Originally Posted by gladisimo View Post
It's impractical. Major cities are served so extensively by flight, and flights are so cheap that it's hard to do. Also, the amount of capital required is enormous.

There was a poll done somewhere that Americans prefer to drive for journeys under 500 miles than fly, let alone rail.

If it happens, it'll almost certainly flop.
This has nothing to do with the development of passenger railway services on high density corridors. It reflects the realities of of travel in America. My wife is agonizing over whether to drive or fly on a visit to an old friend who lives 700 miles away (no hope of a train for 50 years).
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Old April 14th, 2007, 03:59 AM   #216
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardmaster View Post
That's a pity. Sharing lines with commuter rail is a problem here too. One question: given that the US has numerous competing railways previously, what happened to all those easements? can't you find an old abandoned one along the Conneticut coast suitable for redevelopment as a high-speed corridor?

A pity about the pricing, too. I tried out about 170 miles of newly upgraded "regional fast rail" here recently ... with the bus between the two cities I visited, it cost me about $US 20. No wonder the trains always seem to be almost full!

I am glad to hear the trains are full, maybe the government will increase the number of trains subsidised
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Old April 14th, 2007, 04:02 AM   #217
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Ok, I live in D.C. Here is the problem with Acela. It is only for business travellers, as their is no "second/coach" class at all. Its only business or first class. Therefore the price is somwhere around 120$ one way between DC and NYC on the weekday. Too expensive for most people.

Second, the speed. It is only about 20 mins faster than the regular train, which costs much less...This is because the train, capable of 150mph top speed, is unable to achieve that speed from DC to NYC (top is 135) due to old catenary, curves and tunnels. The tilting mechanism was not built properly to allow full speed on curves, so this is another restriction.

Third, the track restrictions between NYC and BOS -- It has to share commuter rail tracks for a good portion of the stretch in Connecticut slowing the Bos-NYC trip to 3:30 mins or so...just not fast enough to compete with the air shuttle.

The next problem is that it stops in all the cities in between DC and NYC, there is no non-stop service..so it ends up being 2:50 mins, rather than 2:15 mins. For example, its stops in wilmington, philadelphia, newark, baltimore, etc.

So, all you get for your extra 60$ on the acela is nicer accomidation and 20 mins gain in time. If they could get it down to 2:15 mins and add a more second class carriages, it would be much more useful to the majority of people.
I sympathize with the disastrous congressional railroad which requires all trains to stop in every state. Imagine how bad it will be when the northeast corridor is tranferred to an interstate compact? Let Amtrak die!

Last edited by Trainman Dave; April 14th, 2007 at 04:58 AM.
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Old April 15th, 2007, 02:07 PM   #218
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainman Dave View Post
I have been tracking the development of high speed railways in Asia and Europe since the 1960’s and I have never seen a vision or a plan for a “European High Speed Rail Network”.
You are partially right, unfortunately. There are some promising projects in individual countries and even some that cross from one country to another. But what's completely lacking is one person looking at the whole picture from an European perspective, with an independent budget and the means to make things happen.

The only thing that that even aims to fill this void is the Trans European Transport Networks (TEN-T), this.. thing, is only envisioned for coordination and only has a budget of around €600million though (if memory serves me correctly). When the need is around €100billion, per year, if the goal is a true European network that is.

As it is now all funds and plans go through national whatever ministries, and as such any "European line" ends up not being a "European line" but several national lines that are just joined together.

There are visions and plans however, this map shows the top 30 priority plans. But as every national section has to be approved by national governments the lines will probably end up going through every local town and a change in government to a less rail enthusiast government could mean that the line doesn't get built at all.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 01:47 AM   #219
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I think a HSR through Cascadia would work, Eugene-Portland-Olympia-Tacoma-Seattle-Everett-Vancouver.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 03:09 AM   #220
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even the iran wants to build a maglev!
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id...onid=351020102
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