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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 March 9th, 2011, 07:30 AM   #2281
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Are you talking about DC streetcar?
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Old March 9th, 2011, 09:16 AM   #2282
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Why do people only talk about returns on investment when it comes to trains.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 09:25 AM   #2283
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Originally Posted by Xusein View Post
Why do people only talk about returns on investment when it comes to trains.
In my case, I'm talking about ridership and cost-efficiency which is different than an outright profit. If transit systems were truly profitable, the traction companies would never have gone bankrupt in the early 20th century and their systems absorbed by municipalities and transit authorities.

Just to turn the tables, why are trains somehow magically immune from the same economic considerations as airlines? Is there a public airline in the US? Why are the airlines able to manage themselves as private entities while passenger rail lines are automatically wards of the state?
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Old March 9th, 2011, 09:26 AM   #2284
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Originally Posted by desertpunk View Post
Right now, according to Bloomberg, a high speed rail trip from London to Copenhagen takes 16 HOURS. The same flight between the two capitals is only around 2 hours. We FLY between cities in the US for most trips over 300 miles. The drive is still cheaper though, and will be cheaper yet, when suitable alternatives to gas are fully developed.
HSR between New York and London also takes ages. HSR must really suck then.
Using this as an argument on the viability of high speed rail in the US you'd still have to ask yourself how many large cities in the US are separated by a sea.
In Europe, this is quite common: London-Copenhagen, Madrid-Rome, Athens-Istanbul are all routes that are only possible at extremely punitive costs. So, relying on these examples, HSR should be perfectly doable in the US and completely unfeasible in Europe.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 09:30 AM   #2285
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Originally Posted by desertpunk View Post
In my case, I'm talking about ridership and cost-efficiency which is different than an outright profit. If transit systems were truly profitable, the traction companies would never have gone bankrupt in the early 20th century and their systems absorbed by municipalities and transit authorities.
True. But at the same length, our road system would probably be like the turnpike era if not expanded with no concern to profit by government.

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Just to turn the tables, why are trains somehow magically immune from the same economic considerations as airlines? Is there a public airline in the US? Why are the airlines able to manage themselves as private entities while railroads are automatically wards of the state?
The airlines in this country, with some exceptions, are slowly falling apart and are resorting to mergers to sustain viability.

The most profitable mode of transport in the US is freight rail which is 100% privatized. Granted in a free market, Amtrak itself would collapse with the exception of a few corridors, but let's not pretend that the states controlling the physical infrastructure does help in making it viable for them as well as prior deregulation back in the day.

Anyway, I'm not really into putting HSR in places like Florida or Wisconsin where it's a crap shoot. The NEC would amazing to have it but we have several states to worry about and their governments have different priorities.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 09:30 AM   #2286
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Originally Posted by Koen Acacia View Post
HSR between New York and London also takes ages. HSR must really suck then.
Using this as an argument on the viability of high speed rail in the US you'd still have to ask yourself how many large cities in the US are separated by a sea.
In Europe, this is quite common: London-Copenhagen, Madrid-Rome, Athens-Istanbul are all routes that are only possible at extremely punitive costs. So, relying on these examples, HSR should be perfectly doable in the US and completely unfeasible in Europe.
Supersonic aviation is doable as well but you don't see the airlines rushing to order SSTs from EADS or Boeing.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 09:34 AM   #2287
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Originally Posted by Xusein View Post
Why do people only talk about returns on investment when it comes to trains.
In the US it is probably because public transit collects fares while freeways only collects through indirect means such as taxes so the average consumer are not able to feel the impact directly.
Believe me, you'll probably see a very different reaction if DoT started placing toll booths and collected fare according to distance like Japan.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 09:35 AM   #2288
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Originally Posted by Koen Acacia View Post
HSR between New York and London also takes ages. HSR must really suck then.
Using this as an argument on the viability of high speed rail in the US you'd still have to ask yourself how many large cities in the US are separated by a sea.
In Europe, this is quite common: London-Copenhagen, Madrid-Rome, Athens-Istanbul are all routes that are only possible at extremely punitive costs. So, relying on these examples, HSR should be perfectly doable in the US and completely unfeasible in Europe.
Touche.

This is the plan. We don't want HSR between NYC and LA or something. Air will always be the way when it comes to great distances and it's pointless to even argue against that. But who wants to take a plane from NYC to Boston when going through all the airport nonsense takes as long as the flight itself? It's all about small to medium distances.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 09:40 AM   #2289
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In my case, I'm talking about ridership and cost-efficiency which is different than an outright profit.
Exactly. We're talking about the marginal public benefit. The case for roads and airports being a public benefit is much stronger than rail for the vast majority of the country.

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Just to turn the tables, why are trains somehow magically immune from the same economic considerations as airlines? Is there a public airline in the US? Why are the airlines able to manage themselves as private entities while passenger rail lines are automatically wards of the state?
Well, airports do receive a hefty sum of public subsidies, but again, most people aren't talking ideologically about trains in and of themselves. At least I'm not. HSR in the northeast is perfectly acceptable, but Tampa-Orlando, Houston-Dallas raise far more questions than provide answers to warrant the significant investment of public subsidies.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 09:42 AM   #2290
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Originally Posted by Xusein View Post
True. But at the same length, our road system would probably be like the turnpike era if not expanded with no concern to profit by government.
How many entirely new highways built since 1990 AREN'T tollways?

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The airlines in this country, with some exceptions, are slowly falling apart and are resorting to mergers to sustain viability.
So why have they been raking in billions in profits since 2009? M&A is more about code-sharing than mere cost-cutting, something they have been doing on their own since deregulation in 1978.

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The most profitable mode of transport in the US is freight rail which is 100% privatized. Granted in a free market, Amtrak itself would collapse with the exception of a few corridors, but let's not pretend that the states controlling the physical infrastructure does help in making it viable for them as well as prior deregulation back in the day.
Are you talking about airports built with bonds paid with landing fees and other fees? The airlines are paying for airports as are fliers, not the taxpayers, who simply indemnify the risk, ultimately. In the case of Amtrak, they simply are forced by their political bosses on Capitol Hill to run money-losing routes. If Amtrak was truly free of that arrangement, it would have far fewer routes and might actually make money and be able to participate in the debt markets to expand.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 09:50 AM   #2291
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Originally Posted by Xusein View Post
Touche.

This is the plan. We don't want HSR between NYC and LA or something. Air will always be the way when it comes to great distances and it's pointless to even argue against that. But who wants to take a plane from NYC to Boston when going through all the airport nonsense takes as long as the flight itself? It's all about small to medium distances.
Congratulations. NYC to Boston is the easiest, most relevant argument for HSR in this country anyone can make. But enough of the low-hanging fruit: how about Denver to Colorado Springs? Or Tulsa to OKC? Where do you draw the line on viability? THOSE are short distances. Don't those people deserve to avoid all the airport security hassles too?
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Old March 9th, 2011, 09:54 AM   #2292
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Those areas lack the density and transport history naturally.

Like I said, it can only work in a few places.

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Originally Posted by desertpunk View Post
How many entirely new highways built since 1990 AREN'T tollways?
I was talking about altogether though.

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So why have they been raking in billions in profits since 2009? M&A is more about code-sharing than mere cost-cutting, something they have been doing on their own since deregulation in 1978.
Cost-cutting mostly. With the exception of Southwest, all the major airlines have rather low growth prospects.

Quote:
Are you talking about airports built with bonds paid with landing fees and other fees? The airlines are paying for airports as are fliers, not the taxpayers, who simply indemnify the risk, ultimately. In the case of Amtrak, they simply are forced by their political bosses on Capitol Hill to run money-losing routes. If Amtrak was truly free of that arrangement, it would have far fewer routes and might actually make money and be able to participate in the debt markets to expand.
I honestly don't think Amtrak would last if it did. Privatization could work but fare hikes would probably be so big that even in the most profitable areas, ridership would take a hit.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 10:06 AM   #2293
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Originally Posted by Xusein View Post
I was talking about altogether though.
You mentioned something about the "turnpike age". We ARE in the 'turnpike age' right now, thanks to overstretched state governments and private operators like Macquarie that have access to the bond markets.

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Cost-cutting mostly. With the exception of Southwest, all the major airlines have rather low growth prospects.
Southwest hedged jet fuel prices successfully. That's the difference. The others have learned those tricks and are now quite profitable. the falloff in demand since 9-11 is what's stunting the airlines more than anything else.

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I honestly don't think Amtrak would last if it did. Privatization could work but fare hikes would probably be so big that even in the most profitable areas, ridership would take a hit.
Why is that? Amtrak already has seen ridership and profitability rise on its core routes. The fact that they waste so much money on useless routes has kept them from being able to effectively upgrade and market its product. You sell them something better than stale mediocrity and they will pay extra.
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Last edited by desertpunk; March 9th, 2011 at 10:46 AM.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 11:52 AM   #2294
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Right now, according to Bloomberg, a high speed rail trip from London to Copenhagen takes 16 HOURS.
That's THE dumbest straw man I've ever read in relation to HSR.

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Old March 9th, 2011, 12:24 PM   #2295
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That's THE dumbest straw man I've ever read in relation to HSR.

Is that an argument or are you just trolling?




*Don't bother, I already know the answer.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 01:48 PM   #2296
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertpunk View Post
Is that an argument or are you just trolling?




*Don't bother, I already know the answer.
Fine, I'll explain his point for him, as you can't seem to comprehend. The fact is, there is *no* high speed service from London to Copenhagen at all. Secondly, there are high-speed tracks possibly about 30% of the route, the rest is on standard rail. Thirdly, there isn't a direct train either, there involves a lot of train changes.

But hey, what do I care? I don't live in the US, it's not my problem.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 02:09 PM   #2297
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Originally Posted by desertpunk View Post
Is that an argument or are you just trolling?




*Don't bother, I already know the answer.
Not only are you being personally defensive over a comment you quoted from a news agency which was a straw man but of their creation, you then followed suit creating another red herring by asking if my statement was an argument!

Of course not, a statement is not an argument! A question is not an answer, and a lack of a high speed rail line (between London and Copenhagen) is not a high speed rail line. You know, something that isn't, well, isn't.

It is invaluable to all of those who follow these threads out of a genuine interest one way or the other that when the more vocal and vociferous posters (such as yourself) who deploy specious arguments from whatever source that the fallacies of those arguments are brought into the open.

Bloomberg's fail had already been explicated by previous poster, sorry if you didn't like my opinion on precisely how poor an argument it was. Now either you identify with Bloomberg on a perversely personal level, or you believed hook line and sinker what it is they had to say. Either way the only reason you are complaining about any of the resulting criticism towards it is because you don't like being wrong. Hence accusations of trolling etc etc yawn.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 02:31 PM   #2298
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Originally Posted by makita09 View Post
Not only are you being personally defensive over a comment you quoted from a news agency which was a straw man but of their creation, you then followed suit creating another red herring by asking if my statement was an argument!

Of course not, a statement is not an argument! A question is not an answer, and a lack of a high speed rail line (between London and Copenhagen) is not a high speed rail line. You know, something that isn't, well, isn't.
Sure, if you admit your insult because you are the one here being personally OFFENSIVE.

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It is invaluable to all of those who follow these threads out of a genuine interest one way or the other that when the more vocal and vociferous posters (such as yourself) who deploy specious arguments from whatever source that the fallacies of those arguments are brought into the open.
I'm here because of trolls infesting this thread with off-topic political garbage. My curiosity was piqued...and whaddaya know?

Quote:
Bloomberg's fail had already been explicated by previous poster, sorry if you didn't like my opinion on precisely how poor an argument it was. Now either you identify with Bloomberg on a perversely personal level, or you believed hook line and sinker what it is they had to say. Either way the only reason you are complaining about any of the resulting criticism towards it is because you don't like being wrong. Hence accusations of trolling etc etc yawn.
What I cited was a trip using high speed and any available rail to reach Copenhagen Did I say the trip was entirely on a high speed line? Either way, it was to make the point that high speed rail does not reach every destination efficiently. To do so would cost an extrordinary sum. If a high speed rail line were built between New York and Chicago, a rail trip from New York to Denver could be accomplished faster but it couldn't possibly compete with flying because a portion of that trip, like the regular rail portion in Denmark as well as schedule differences could drag it out. You seem to believe that I'm anti-HSR when I HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN THAT I SUPPORT IT FOR A FEW SELECT ROUTES.

And yes, you were trolling with that insult. But ultimately I'm less interested in 'trips to Copenhagen' than in seeing my own country pursue a sensible and cost-efficient strategy for doing HSR. To suggest that it is the ultimate solution to energy issues/urban development issues/etc borders on a kind of ideology of doing these kinds of projects for their own sake without any regard to a full analysis of the costs and the return on those investments in the form of ridership and fare box recovery. Perhaps that's the fashion where you live but where I live we do the math!
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Old March 9th, 2011, 03:51 PM   #2299
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Sure, if you admit your insult because you are the one here being personally OFFENSIVE.
No, he wasn't. He was simply calling a spade a spade.

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What I cited was a trip using high speed and any available rail to reach Copenhagen Did I say the trip was entirely on a high speed line?
Yes, that's actually what you said when you wrote this:
Quote:
Right now, according to Bloomberg, a high speed rail trip from London to Copenhagen takes 16 HOURS. The same flight between the two capitals is only around 2 hours. We FLY between cities in the US for most trips over 300 miles. The drive is still cheaper though, and will be cheaper yet, when suitable alternatives to gas are fully developed.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 03:56 PM   #2300
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Sure, if you admit your insult because you are the one here being personally OFFENSIVE.
Personally offensive towards Bloomberg? If Bloomberg posts on here then I apologise for personally offending them. You get no apology, especially as you are still intent on peddling the red herring argument that they invented.

I shall explain in detail.

Quote:
I'm here because of trolls infesting this thread with off-topic political garbage. My curiosity was piqued...and whaddaya know?
What do ya know? You're implying I've trolled this thread with off-topic political garbage. Go on, explain.

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What I cited was a trip using high speed and any available rail to reach Copenhagen
No you didn't.

Quote:
Did I say the trip was entirely on a high speed line?
Yes.

To these last two points I present the evidence of "Right now, according to Bloomberg, a high speed rail trip from London to Copenhagen takes 16 HOURS. "

It doesn't say partly high speed rail, or any other qualification that you are now trying to insert. Unfortunately I can only respond to what you actually post, not what you think you posted.

You may have qualified yourself later, but then my post was not replying to any of your later posts.

Quote:
Either way, it was to make the point that high speed rail does not reach every destination efficiently. To do so would cost an extrordinary sum.
Apart from this being blindingly obvious you used an incorrect example, which even if it wasn't incorrect it implies is that HSR is generally not as good as people are making out - because its only the same speed as conventional rail (because the figure you gave WAS for conventional rail), and not the point you are now trying to make that rail doesn't go everywhere perfectly.

Quote:
If a high speed rail line were built between New York and Chicago, a rail trip from New York to Denver could be accomplished faster but it couldn't possibly compete with flying because a portion of that trip, like the regular rail portion in Denmark as well as schedule differences could drag it out. You seem to believe that I'm anti-HSR when I HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN THAT I SUPPORT IT FOR A FEW SELECT ROUTES.
I don't disagree with that. How much easier would it have been had you posted this and not the nonsense that has caused quite a few other forumers to comment on its nonsensicle nature? I could come up with loads of silly arguments using the same structure as the copenhagen point you made, but other posters have done that and those were lost on you it seems. Either that or you find it very hard to admit there was a problem with it.

Quote:
And yes, you were trolling with that insult.
No it wasn't, it was a valid opinion on the lack of an argument. If you equate your person with the words you type that is not my issue, as I specifically did not say ANYTHING insulting about you, the person typing. The criticism is directed towards the argument and nothing else. You took it personally.

Until you plainly admit your argument was invalid I don't see why I should respond to your attempts to mask its invalidity with this poor attempt to corner me.

Quote:
But ultimately I'm less interested in 'trips to Copenhagen' than in seeing my own country pursue a sensible and cost-efficient strategy for doing HSR. To suggest that it is the ultimate solution to energy issues/urban development issues/etc borders on a kind of ideology of doing these kinds of projects for their own sake without any regard to a full analysis of the costs and the return on those investments in the form of ridership and fare box recovery. Perhaps that's the fashion where you live but where I live we do the math!
Fine, but are you here to moderate this debate or take part in it? Because if you are here to take part in it then you would have noticed the last few pages have been full of posters explaining how the finances, the maths, and whatever else do make sense, which is exactly what you are saying here hasn't happened. I'm not about to say one way or the other because I have not poured over the official data as I have done for European projects, and unlike some I am not prepared to proudly rant from a position of complete ignorance, but I do think it is fair to comment on underhand debating techniques such as using fallacious arguments which you, purposefully or otherwise have done.

I won't explain myself any further to you. I will comment on any further poor arguments that I see. I will try and be a little more helpful with those, if other forumers haven't tried and failed, however, this is how I always do things on here.
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