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Old October 19th, 2011, 04:29 PM   #2761
aquaticko
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What a joke! The private sector wants in once all the work is done. Figures.

As soon as (if?) the federal government realizes what fiscal austerity does to the economy (contraction), more stimulus will come, and the whole CAHSR project should go smoothly.

Although I do have to agree that it seems like the Desert eXpress should go to LA. Anyone have any details as to why it wouldn't?
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Old October 20th, 2011, 11:28 PM   #2762
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Although I do have to agree that it seems like the Desert eXpress should go to LA. Anyone have any details as to why it wouldn't?
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Old October 21st, 2011, 01:28 AM   #2763
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Booooo!
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Old October 24th, 2011, 07:41 AM   #2764
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I have a suggestion since some otherline have been upgraded why not the rail company just like amtrak to buy a new train which can run on a high speed even the line are not electrified, in bombadier they develop the turbo jet train that can be attach to existing coaches to served all major cities and towns.
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Old October 24th, 2011, 07:49 AM   #2765
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Originally Posted by riles28 View Post
I have a suggestion since some otherline have been upgraded why not the rail company just like amtrak to buy a new train which can run on a high speed even the line are not electrified, in bombadier they develop the turbo jet train that can be attach to existing coaches to served all major cities and towns.
There are physical limitations on the track design itself. It's not only about propulsion. The quality of US tracks today is worse is than it was in 1950, because the railway companies are now focused on very heavy (load per axle) trains that move slowly and have optimized their network for such trains.
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Old October 24th, 2011, 04:06 PM   #2766
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Sadly, I think Suburbanist is right for most of the network, probably bar only the NEC.
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Old October 24th, 2011, 06:45 PM   #2767
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AmtrakConnect WiFi now available on at least one Northeast Regional train
By Tim Stevens posted Oct 23rd 2011 6:27AM

Okay, so it's a little later than expected, but we're happy to report that at least some Northeast Regional trains have now been augmented by AmtrakConnect. This (free) WiFi has been available on Acela trains for some time now, and in a few lucky Regional trains in the Northwest. Amtrak still hasn't confirmed the existence of this connectivity, so we can't say for sure just how many of its trains have been suitably augmented, but we know that at least number 69, the Adirondack, has it, because we're using it right now. Connectivity is a little rough and speeds are decidedly low -- problems that can certainly be applied to this particular railway relic as a whole.

http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/23/a...rtheast-regio/
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Old October 25th, 2011, 05:12 AM   #2768
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
There are physical limitations on the track design itself. It's not only about propulsion. The quality of US tracks today is worse is than it was in 1950, because the railway companies are now focused on very heavy (load per axle) trains that move slowly and have optimized their network for such trains.
This is what happens when you nationalize an industry's competition without offering it any good way of balancing the competition...and when, when you do nationalize a particularly necessary sector of said industry, you spend as little on it as you possibly can, leaving it to be held together with little more than blood and sweat...
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Old October 25th, 2011, 05:42 AM   #2769
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
There are physical limitations on the track design itself. It's not only about propulsion. The quality of US tracks today is worse is than it was in 1950, because the railway companies are now focused on very heavy (load per axle) trains that move slowly and have optimized their network for such trains.
Where do you get that? The freights have spent billions over the last 10 years upgrading their lines. Overall track quality may be degrading if you factor in the many stretches of disused track which no longer carries anything, or some secondary routes that don't need to support much traffic but the main trunk lines are well-maintained. Not that any of this matters because doing higher speed passenger rail would require a lot of the existing track to be pulled up and replaced with improved ballast, prestressed concrete ties, longer track segments, etc. Problems that Amtrak may be having along some of their routes could pertain to squabbling between them and the host freights over priority scheduling, maintenance issues and who pays. The freights do not have a statutory duty to maintain their track to passenger rail standards even though they are contractually obligated to do so.
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Old October 25th, 2011, 05:52 AM   #2770
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmmwv View Post
AmtrakConnect WiFi now available on at least one Northeast Regional train
By Tim Stevens posted Oct 23rd 2011 6:27AM

Okay, so it's a little later than expected, but we're happy to report that at least some Northeast Regional trains have now been augmented by AmtrakConnect. This (free) WiFi has been available on Acela trains for some time now, and in a few lucky Regional trains in the Northwest. Amtrak still hasn't confirmed the existence of this connectivity, so we can't say for sure just how many of its trains have been suitably augmented, but we know that at least number 69, the Adirondack, has it, because we're using it right now. Connectivity is a little rough and speeds are decidedly low -- problems that can certainly be applied to this particular railway relic as a whole.

http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/23/a...rtheast-regio/
I honestly didnt think the connection was too bad on Acela between New York and Boston.
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Old October 25th, 2011, 08:11 AM   #2771
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertpunk View Post
Where do you get that? The freights have spent billions over the last 10 years upgrading their lines. Overall track quality may be degrading if you factor in the many stretches of disused track which no longer carries anything, or some secondary routes that don't need to support much traffic but the main trunk lines are well-maintained. Not that any of this matters because doing higher speed passenger rail would require a lot of the existing track to be pulled up and replaced with improved ballast, prestressed concrete ties, longer track segments, etc. Problems that Amtrak may be having along some of their routes could pertain to squabbling between them and the host freights over priority scheduling, maintenance issues and who pays. The freights do not have a statutory duty to maintain their track to passenger rail standards even though they are contractually obligated to do so.
Requirements for freight tracks and passenger tracks are different.
First of all freight can go with higher super elevation because the carts have lower center of gravity not needing lighting, air-conditioner which are either situated above the ceiling or below the floor resulting higher floors.
Another is gaps between rails, high speed rail requires the rails to be welded together so it there are no gaps so the passengers do not feel constant bumps in the rail.
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Old October 25th, 2011, 12:05 PM   #2772
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertpunk View Post
Where do you get that? The freights have spent billions over the last 10 years upgrading their lines. Overall track quality may be degrading if you factor in the many stretches of disused track which no longer carries anything, or some secondary routes that don't need to support much traffic but the main trunk lines are well-maintained. Not that any of this matters because doing higher speed passenger rail would require a lot of the existing track to be pulled up and replaced with improved ballast, prestressed concrete ties, longer track segments, etc. Problems that Amtrak may be having along some of their routes could pertain to squabbling between them and the host freights over priority scheduling, maintenance issues and who pays. The freights do not have a statutory duty to maintain their track to passenger rail standards even though they are contractually obligated to do so.
I agree with all you said. The US rail freight system operates nicely, though it doesn't need improvements that could only be justified if passenger traffic was significant and paid huge use fees to justify the investment.
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Old October 25th, 2011, 06:28 PM   #2773
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I agree with all you said. The US rail freight system operates nicely, though it doesn't need improvements that could only be justified if passenger traffic was significant and paid huge use fees to justify the investment.
Yes it does , its to speed up freight and allow passenger trains to operate faster aswell.
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Old October 27th, 2011, 06:44 AM   #2774
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Vegas train looks closer to reality:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Las Vegas Sun http://www.vegasinc.com/news/2011/oc...eed-rail-line/

Proposed DesertXpress high-speed rail line chugging along



By Richard N. Velotta
Las Vegas Sun
26 October 2011

A proposed high-speed rail line between Las Vegas and Southern California has received another federal government approval from a board that grants licenses to build new railroads.

The Surface Transportation Board last week approved an exemption from federal regulations permitting DesertXpress Enterprises LLC to build a 190-mile high-speed passenger rail line between Las Vegas and Victorville, Calif. The board action was published today in the Federal Register.

“I’m pleased that the DesertXpress project is getting the green light to proceed, which will not only put tens of thousands of Nevadans to work, but ultimately bring more tourists to boost Nevada’s economy,” Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a release applauding the approval.

“I look forward to Nevadans being back on the job and more visitors from California choosing Las Vegas because of this high-speed rail option,” Reid said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration issued a record of decision — the final environmental review process — in July. The Surface Transportation Board exemption was another required administrative step toward beginning construction, probably next year.

Representatives of DesertXpress did not return calls seeking comments on additional details of its plans.

The Surface Transportation Board reviewed environmental implications of the project and the company’s financial and ridership analyses.

The company plans to operate trains traveling at 150 mph on dual tracks. The board decision lists the cost of the project at $6.5 billion, an increase from the $6 billion estimates previously given by DesertXpress.

The company is pursuing a $4.9 billion federal loan to build the line.
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Old October 27th, 2011, 04:53 PM   #2775
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"""The company plans to operate trains traveling at 150 mph on dual tracks. The board decision lists the cost of the project at $6.5 billion, an increase from the $6 billion estimates previously given by DesertXpress.

The company is pursuing a $4.9 billion federal loan to build the line."""

Better double that construction estimate!
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Old October 27th, 2011, 10:09 PM   #2776
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Afterall the entire trip is only about 3.5 hrs on cars, the trains will have to be significantly cheaper to attract enough riders.
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Old October 28th, 2011, 08:02 AM   #2777
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Transport Politic

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With Little Hope for Near-Term Federal Support, California High-Speed Rail Struggles
October 20th, 2011



The long hoped-for private financing necessary to construct the California High-Speed Rail project will not come as easily as originally planned.

That, at least, is the conclusion of the authority empowered to build the project, the nation’s single-largest infrastructure program. According to the Los Angeles Times, in a letter to legislators this week the agency warned that the private money that it had counted on to cover a third of the project’s more than $45 billion costs would likely not be available until after parts of the line were up and running. The problem is that investors are concerned about the fact that of the expected major contribution from the federal government, only $3 billion has been authorized so far — and opposition in Congress to President Obama’s high-speed rail program means more money will be difficult to get, at least until after the 2012 elections.

The letter was essentially a preview of the authority’s new business plan, which is due to be submitted November 1. The plan must be approved by the state legislators in order for state funding to be spent on the 220 mph line, which is designed to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco, with future links to San Diego and Sacramento.

The news is embarrassing for the authority, which has been arguing for years that it could attract billions in private funds before the project was ready to be built, but it is not altogether surprising given the situation in which it has been placed. As I argued in mid-2009, California may well “never receive a guarantee that the feds will fully fund their prescribed share of the entire corridor’s construction costs. This is a huge problem, because a public agency shouldn’t be expending massive amounts of money on sections of a train system it doesn’t know it can finish completely. The private partners California hopes to interest in its program will not be excited about helping out on a train line they aren’t sure will ever open.”

And indeed, this has been a legitimate concern about the Obama Administration’s high-speed rail program since it was first formulated. Though it is designed to sponsor major projects like California’s, its small appropriation ability means that the commitments it should be making — California wanted upwards of $10 billion from Washington, equal to the full amount thus far appropriated by Congress to the national program — cannot be distributed. The fact that the House and Senate have yet to agree on a long-term transportation bill, and the fact that Republicans have shown no interest so far in funding more intercity rail programs using the public purse, suggests that the situation is unlikely to get better for now.

This is likely to put a dent in plans to open the new rail line by 2020.

The California authority has developed a series of potential solutions to the problem, which must be solved if the agency wants to use the federal grants it has received thus far, since they must be spent by 2017. One option is to use federal loan guarantees and tax credits to provide an incentive for private investors to put their funds into the project or to leverage the $9 billion in state funds (authorized by the public in a 2008 vote) through the bond market, which could allow a tripling of available money. This would all have to be paid off eventually through public sector tax funds or user fees. While the California network is to be operationally profitable like virtually every high-speed rail system, it is unclear whether receipts will be large enough to cover capital costs.

The other possibility is to shorten the planned route, replacing what was originally supposed to be a full new line from San Francisco to Los Angeles with a feeder line that would speed up existing Amtrak trains. Because the federal government has committed to a Central Valley segment between Merced and Bakersfield as the first section fo the route to be constructed, it seems likely that the authority would have to concentrate its resources on this project.

In some ways, this could be a reasonable approach. Trains between Oakland and Bakersfield currently take six hours to complete their journey, but the high-speed line would allow 52-minute trips between Merced and Bakersfield, compared to three hours today. Thus constructing just this segment would reduce Oakland-Bakersfield trips to less than four hours — a massive reduction in journey times — if the appropriate rolling stock were available.

Of course, this would do little to address the greater concern, which was supposed to be linking San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2h40. Currently, there are no direct trains into San Francisco, and the coastal route along which Amtrak trains run from Oakland to L.A. requires 11 to 12 hours of journey times. There is no train link between L.A. and Bakersfield. Because of the federal government’s previous decision to concentrate its resources in the Central Valley, resolving this issue will have to wait for another time if more funding is not found in the short term. But one wonders whether a link between Oakland and Bakersfield will be enough in itself to generate profitable ridership that convinces private investors to commit to the project, as the authority seems to be implying.

[...]
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Old October 28th, 2011, 11:47 PM   #2778
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Counting on the private sector was probably a mistake. One can only hope that, assuming Obama wins a second term, he will be far more courageous and far less even-handed than he has been throughout the current presidency, and will push the necessary funding for this and other infrastructure initiatives through. Outside of the NE Corridor, California seems far and away the most likely place where HSR could succeed.
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 04:04 PM   #2779
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Why would the private sector jump in first? Without the Feds paying for the infrastructure they know this is a loser so they will always hold back investment.

If they are going to throw serious money at this, which I disagree with, then they need to do it not on a need for votes in Congressional races but to the areas where the product can most quickly be built. That's the NEC and SoCal.
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 03:34 AM   #2780
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California High Speed Rail Authority has raised the cost estimate of the scheme from $43bn to $98.5bn, saying its a more realistic estimate.

http://uk.ibtimes.com/articles/20111...roposition.htm
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