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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%
Voters: 278. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 9th, 2007, 02:18 PM   #341
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Just think of it as not being able to see the wood for the trees. See it as old-money arrogance that an idea they didn't have can't be any good because they didn't have it, ignoring all the countries around the world that have deployed the idea to very great effect. Whilst France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea develop the next stage in the 21st century golden age of rail, America yawns, feels a bit asleepy as it suffocates under the clouds of it's own monoxide - blissfully unaware of the the rest of the world's decreasing reliance on the one remaining superpower to lead the way in any form of technology. The USA is the definition of nouveau-riche.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 12:55 AM   #342
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Amtrak sucks, the government won't pay for neccessary rail improvements, and the current lines are conjested. The government is more interested in building airports that building short links between cities. The freeways are getting to the end of their useful life. In my city, there was a freeway that was just upgraded. The first time since 1937. Short regional links like Chicago-Indianapolis and the like need high speed rail. The Acela is not true HSR, it rarely goes over 125 mph. Amtrak charges way too much for a trip also. Charlotte-Atlanta is probably one of the worst HSR lines to build. Many segments are being upgraded to 110 mph, though.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 06:29 AM   #343
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IMHO, Charlotte-Atlanta is a perfect example of a GOOD route for 110mph ISR. It doesn't have anywhere near the market to sustain HSR yet... but almost certainly has enough of a market to sustain a much cheaper ISR line.

France didn't build the TGV just for the hell of it, or because they thought it would be an impressive, forward-looking thing to do. They built it because their existing passenger rail network was saturated to the breaking point, and desperately needed HSR's increased capacity. If France's domestic passenger rail network in the 1960s/1970s were like America's is today, they probably wouldn't have built the TGV, either.

Let's suppose that someone decided to throw caution to the wind, and build a multi-billion dollar HSR line someplace besides the NEC or (maybe) California. Say, if Indiana were to build a no-compromise HSR line from Indianapolis to Gary (hoping Illinois would eventually continue it to Chicago, but deciding to build their part anyway -- possibly, justifying it by propping it up with lots of feelgood buzzwords about how it will "stimulate Gary's economic recovery" and other BS). I think everyone can agree that a HSR line linking only Indianapolis and Gary would be a miserable failure of scope and magnitude rarely seen anywhere outside North Korea. It would consume a huge chunk of Indiana's transportation budget, and contribute almost nothing useful to the daily lives of the state's taxpayers. Worse, its failure would be used to argue against other proposed HSR lines. Highly-visible failure has a way of doing that.

Now, let's suppose instead that they got neighboring states to cooprate and launch 110mph service between Indianapolis and St Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Detroit, and (of course) Chicago. All things considered, Indiana's share of the cost to build ALL of those lines for 110mph would probably be about the same as what they'd spend on a True HSR line to Gary. Which do YOU think would be more genuinely useful to people on a daily basis?

It's an extreme example, but it illustrates an important point. Right now, American passenger rail is practically nonexistent. If someone builds a HSR line, it really WILL be almost like the Indianapolis-Gary example -- alone, without anything resembling a network of regional trains to augment it, probably linking two cities that aren't even far enough apart to be WORTH bothering with the train instead of just driving (< 100 miles). Like the crazy Tampa-Orlando HSR line almost did. And such a HSR line will fail miserably and spectacularly, because such a line should have never been built as HSR to begin with. Before you can do handstands on a skateboard, you have to learn to stand on one first. Otherwise, you'll just get hurt, and be laughed at afterwards. Whether or not America's passenger rail network should have been allowed to degrade to its current nadir is besides the point. It was, and it did. Going forward, burning billions on expensive projects that exist in isolation of one another without the supporting network of regional rail service it really needs to succeed would be a terrible mistake.

Last edited by miamicanes; December 10th, 2007 at 06:36 AM.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 07:12 AM   #344
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First of all what will be the comparison for construction cost between ISR and HSR?
What will be the best guess estimate projection of ridership between gary and Indianapolis with in 10 years, 20 years and 30 years regardless of speed?
What is going to be the frequency?
How about net traveling time(check-in and security clearance time, traveling time to and from airport, delay,etc.) compared with air?
How about price?
Without answering these questions, I think your hypothesis is meaningless, just trying to justify your own thoughts.

You can extrapolate estimated travel figures with present ones and see the trend to give a best guess projection.

How about construction costs?

If you're going to build from scratch, the cost difference is not going to be that significant between ISR and HSR.

Construction cost and/or ridership doesn't have to be at par with present expectation as long as it meets mid/long term goals and would be foolish and a waste if it reaches it's limit with just short term demand.
If you are going to build something from scratch then might as well build something with scalability to meet growing demand for at least 20~30 years.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 12:47 PM   #345
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I see your point about France in the 70s Miamicanes, but it doesn't lead to any conclusions. Why was France's rail network in need of increased capacity? Because France was a highly industrialised nation with an excellent (by worldwide standars) integrated railway network. If France were to have been like the USA now it would have to have had a completely different transport approach for the preceeding 50 years. But even then that doesn't mean that the French wouldn't suddenly adopt a different approach. It's not the current state of transport that leaves the USA paralysed to do anything. I would suggest a deeply entrenched relationship with oil at every level from car consumer up to oil-rich government over the past 100 years has left a stubborn infrastructural and social blind-spot with public transport.

There is also no need to increment rail speeds up slowly - take Spain. Their railways up until the 80s were basically rubbish. Now they're building one of the largest HSR networks in the world, and what has opened so far has been a runaway success.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 04:11 PM   #346
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Spain's also doing it because they have the EU throwing money at them by the fistfull. If the feds showed up in Tallahassee and asked, "Will you build HSR throughout Florida if we pay 95% of the cost? Here's 10 billion to get you started...", it would be quite sane and rational for Florida to do the same. The overwhelming majority of the funding for HSR in Spain isn't coming from Spanish taxpayers. It's basically "manna from heaven" (or Brussels, as the case may be).

Also, the point of 110mph is that it doesn't require building a brand new track that's 100% grade-separated every inch of the way before the first train carrying passengers can run. Throwing down a new track in an existing rail corridor through relatively flat countryside (or someplace hilly that HAS an existing flat trackbed where a track used to be 30 years ago) costs about $1-3 million per mile. And you don't have to do a single damn environmental impact study first, nor can NIMBYs stop it, because it can all be built as of right. An old railroad was "there" long before someone decided to build $3 million estate homes and a golf course next to it, and has more vested and grandfathered rights than Walt Disney World, courtesy of some old-but-still-on-the-books laws passed by Congress at the behest of the 19th-century railroad barons. The elimination of the need to do those studies, and fight NIMBYs alone, reduces many of the startup costs and time a brand new line would have to bear.

Last edited by miamicanes; December 10th, 2007 at 04:18 PM.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 04:27 PM   #347
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Originally Posted by miamicanes View Post
Spain's also doing it because they have the EU throwing money at them by the fistfull.

This is true...over the last 20 years just about everything thats been built in Spain has been paid for by other EU countries tax payers, its been the same in Ireland.

This is coming to an end though, as money switches to the poorer eastern countries.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 04:42 PM   #348
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miamicanes View Post
Spain's also doing it because they have the EU throwing money at them by the fistfull. If the feds showed up in Tallahassee and asked, "Will you build HSR throughout Florida if we pay 95% of the cost? Here's 10 billion to get you started...", it would be quite sane and rational for Florida to do the same. The overwhelming majority of the funding for HSR in Spain isn't coming from Spanish taxpayers. It's basically "manna from heaven" (or Brussels, as the case may be).
95%? Are you crazy? EU funding is around 33% in the three new HS-lines that will be opened soon. In the future it will decrease a lot to become net payers in 2013 due to the entry of the EE-countries. That's the way the EU works.

It's all about priorities. 45% of the Spanish infraestructure budget in 2005-2020 will be spent in railways.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 05:12 PM   #349
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Major train lines should e grade seperated, especially in urbanized areas. Amtrak should try to improve all train lines to 110, but there is too much conjestion and delays on the current system. You have to remember most of the rail in the US is single track.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 06:26 PM   #350
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Major train lines should e grade seperated, especially in urbanized areas.
Yes, they should. But if you make it a non-negotiable baseline prerequisite to having service at all, you'll never be able to make a business case for passenger rail anywhere in the US. Right now, today, there just aren't many potential passenger rail corridors that could economically sustain more than one or two trains per hour at their busiest peak service. That's just not enough to justify the incredible cost of elevating every single road crossing over them.

While you don't want passenger trains sitting behind mile-long coal trains, you don't have to banish every trace of them to have a viable rail line. For a tiny fraction of what it would cost to build a brand new rail network from scratch, you can triple-track an existing corridor, and still give the freight trains their own track (with the only real interaction being places where the freight trains cross the passenger tracks to get to a yard on one side or the other of the passenger pair).

In many parts of the US, there are LOTS of rail corridors with only a few trains per day. The railroad (and its users to whom one or two of those trains per week might be their business' lifeline) won't give them up entirely without a fight, because they can spend another half-century wringing the equity out of them by neglecting maintenance and running the trains slower and slower. However, most of them would be DELIGHTED to let someone else pay to throw down another track or two & maintain them to passenger standards at their own expense, as long as they can still use them for their own trains as well. Where railroads get obstinate is sharing a single track with passenger trains (for obvious legal liability and logistics reasons). The moment a state offers to double-track a disused corridor and assume its future maintenance costs, freight railroads almost always become enthusiastic partners, because it lets them have their cake and eat it too.

It's a mistake to make perfection the enemy of good. There are lots of rail corridors where 110mph passenger service would make financial sense, but HSR would be cost-prohibitive. Getting to 110mph is relatively cheap, and will help re-establish the market for higher-speed rail travel so that HSR can someday make its own business case, just like the TGV did in France. It's also worth noting that Spain didn't just pull HSR out of a magic hat, either... it had fast, frequent ISR trains filled with passengers running across the country long before the first True HSR™ service was launched there.

Last edited by miamicanes; December 10th, 2007 at 08:44 PM.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 07:34 PM   #351
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France didn't build the TGV just for the hell of it, or because they thought it would be an impressive, forward-looking thing to do. They built it because their existing passenger rail network was saturated to the breaking point, and desperately needed HSR's increased capacity. If France's domestic passenger rail network in the 1960s/1970s were like America's is today, they probably wouldn't have built the TGV, either.
If saturation of existing rail lines had been the only reason to build a new railway line between Paris and Lyon, I think they would have chosen a more modest solution instead of building a high-speed line. While it is true that congestion on the classic PLM line urgently required new infrastructure, it was indead a "forward-looking" thought of how "impressive" a high-speed train would be not just for actual but especially for potential passengers that led to this particular solution in that context. It's not just about taking a definite amount of people from A to B. In fact most of the later high-speed lines have been built not because of saturation on existing lines but because the existing infrastructure was just not good enough to generate the same expansive economic effects as high-speed lines.

That being said, I don't doubt that there are just a few corridors in the United States that would justify 250-350 Km/h dedicated high-speed lines, and that 160 or 177 Km/h diesel trains on existing tracks would make more sense economically in many other cases. But that analysis shouldn't be made just upon actual or current traffic figures, but also focussing on high-speed trains' potential to generate more traffic in a very efficient and economically productive way.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 08:42 PM   #352
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France had two problems... lack of capacity, and lack of room within the existing corridors to build more tracks. They had to build a brand new corridor regardless of whether or not it was high-speed. With that expensive decision carved in stone and settled, the decision to go HSR was fairly straightforward. It meant they could get away with a narrower corridor, since each track could carry more trains per hour. Analysis of the business market for intercity air travel drove the ultimate decision to go 180mph instead of 150, but from that point it wasn't a huge leap. It was more a case of, "Oh, merde! This is going to cost a fortune! Is there anything we can do to drum up enough new riders to help pay for its astronomical cost, so the voters won't crucify us in the next general election?"

That's a scenario that doesn't exist in ANY existing passenger rail corridor in America right now. Low speeds on the NEC are due to curve radii and political infighting. If Amtrak wanted to double the number of trains running between New York and Washington, and they had enough trains and employees to do it with, they could double the number of trains they have running between New York and DC tomorrow, and have plenty of track capacity left to spare. That's wasn't a serious option in France.

I maintain, bring on the 110mph trains in the US, and the market for HSR will arrive on its own, eventually. When the time is right, voters won't balk at the cost of HSR, any more than they balk at the cost of 16-laning a gridlocked freeway, or building a new mile-long suspension bridge that'll cut 15 minutes or more from their drive to and from work every day. Ironically, it probably won't be the NEC. Instead, it'll probably be California, probably followed by Texas or Florida. Maybe Virginia. Why? Too many states have their hands in the NEC cookie jar. The first states to really do HSR will be ones that are big enough to go at it alone. Or *maybe* do it with the cooperation of one adjacent state (say, Washington & Oregon, Indiana & Illinois, North & South Carolina, etc). I don't envy the job of the future person who has to try and get New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut to agree on anything...

Last edited by miamicanes; December 10th, 2007 at 08:57 PM.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 09:39 PM   #353
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according to the following new study:

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/project...rwg-report.pdf

It will take until 2050 for florida
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Old December 10th, 2007, 09:55 PM   #354
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Spain's also doing it because they have the EU throwing money at them by the fistfull. [...] The overwhelming majority of the funding for HSR in Spain isn't coming from Spanish taxpayers. It's basically "manna from heaven" (or Brussels, as the case may be).
Laughably factually incorrect.
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Originally Posted by miamicanes View Post
[...]. Throwing down a new track in an existing rail corridor through relatively flat countryside (or someplace hilly that HAS an existing flat trackbed where a track used to be 30 years ago) costs about $1-3 million per mile.
Laughably factually incorrect.
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Originally Posted by miamicanes View Post
And you don't have to do a single damn environmental impact study first, nor can NIMBYs stop it, because it can all be built as of right.
Laughably factually incorrect.
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Originally Posted by miamicanes View Post
[...] The elimination of the need to do those studies, and fight NIMBYs alone, reduces many of the startup costs and time a brand new line would have to bear.
Laughably factually incorrect.

Have you considered a job in US transportation planning?
You appear to have all the qualifications!
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Old December 10th, 2007, 11:21 PM   #355
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France had two problems... lack of capacity, and lack of room within the existing corridors to build more tracks. They had to build a brand new corridor regardless of whether or not it was high-speed.
Again, it is true that the construction of a new line, "regardless" of whether it would be high-speed or not, was based on the saturation of the existing network. The decision to build the new infrastructure as a high-speed line, however, was not. Instead, high-speed was chosen because of its huge potential and positive effects on the economy. And this last reason has later shown to be sufficient and independent from the former one to justify the construction of further high-speed lines. Today the saturation of existing rail lines is not considered to be a sine qua non condition for the construction of parallel new high-speed lines. It is rather decided upon economic reasonings and perspectives than on the basis of operational saturation.

Quote:
With that expensive decision carved in stone and settled, the decision to go HSR was fairly straightforward. It meant they could get away with a narrower corridor, since each track could carry more trains per hour. Analysis of the business market for intercity air travel drove the ultimate decision to go 180mph instead of 150, but from that point it wasn't a huge leap. It was more a case of, "Oh, merde! This is going to cost a fortune! Is there anything we can do to drum up enough new riders to help pay for its astronomical cost, so the voters won't crucify us in the next general election?"
The costs of choosing a commercial top speed of (initially) 260 Km/h instead of the 160 to 200 Km/h of the PLM can hardly be described as a small leap. Building a new line is always expensive, but the cost can easily double if different track characteristics (like broader curves and more bridges, new catenary and signalling systems, special high-speed switches, etc.) and more research and development are necessary. So it's hard to believe they opted for a new high-speed line with purpose-developed technologies instead of a cheaper new conventional 160 to 200 Km/h line relying on existing techincal resources just to "sweeten" the deal for tax payers.

Quote:
That's a scenario that doesn't exist in ANY existing passenger rail corridor in America right now. Low speeds on the NEC are due to curve radii and political infighting. If Amtrak wanted to double the number of trains running between New York and Washington, and they had enough trains and employees to do it with, they could double the number of trains they have running between New York and DC tomorrow, and have plenty of track capacity left to spare. That's wasn't a serious option in France.
The saturation "scenario" you describe didn't exist in most of the later high-speed developments in Europe either. In most cases the authorities didn't wait for anyone or anything else to create a "market for HSR" than HSR itself. Increased travel (and thus economic ties) between different cities and regions was seen as a (very desirable) result of high-speed rail, not the other way around. Of course in each particular case there may be additional reasons for these investments. I also don't doubt that there are enough corridors in the United States that already are "markets for HSR" and which should have some kind of priority over smaller markets with potential.

Last edited by AR1182; December 11th, 2007 at 12:10 AM.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 12:39 AM   #356
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[...]. Throwing down a new track in an existing rail corridor through relatively flat countryside (or someplace hilly that HAS an existing flat trackbed where a track used to be 30 years ago) costs about $1-3 million per mile.

Laughably factually incorrect.
Bullshit. Even in Miami, FDOT only spent ~$3 million per mile in hard costs to build Tri-Rail's second track alongside the rehabbed original one in the corridor they already own. You'll notice I specifically limited the scope to relatively flat countryside, or someplace hilly that has an existing unused flat trackbed... neither of which is the case in California, as was conceded several months ago.

Read back a few posts, and you'll notice that I've been shockingly tolerant of California's HSR proposal (at least, the part between LA and San Francisco, at a cost of $12 billion or less). I do, however, reserve the right to question the sanity of spending another $8-12 billion on top of that just to add San Diego and Sacramento.

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And you don't have to do a single damn environmental impact study first, nor can NIMBYs stop it, because it can all be built as of right.

Laughably factually incorrect.
No it's not. The feds might require an EIS as a condition of receiving federal funding, but a state with its own money (or a private railroad pursuing the matter on its own) can do anything legal within the scope of its operation as a railroad within its right of way. In Florida, a railroad can even condemn and acquire property from adjacent property owners by eminent domain if it so chooses. As far as I know, there aren't even any limits to that power -- they don't even have to show that it's for a public purpose, or anything directly related to running trains. In theory, CSX could condemn and acquire land next to their tracks for purely speculative real estate development. The law is vague, and its absolute limits have never been tested in court. It's likely that the law would be quickly changed if they ever abused it that way... but they'd still get to enjoy the benefit of that one-time abuse, because laws can't be retroactively changed.

Last edited by miamicanes; December 11th, 2007 at 12:54 AM.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 10:22 AM   #357
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The discussion is centering around the possibility of maglev going round a tighter corner than conventional rail. The links you are providing discuss how a train might derail, and what the loads are. But this is much like discussing how a jumbo jet's wings might fare if the pilot started doing dive-bomb manouvres - it wouldn't have much relevence to normal in-service performance statistics, because a pilot wouldn't be allowed to push the plane that far as it wouldn't make for a very confortable ride. 
I give up on the equation concerning cant deficiency since the more I look at it, the more it does not make sense to me.

Anyways we have the figures for centripetal force which I posted eariler and I think that is all we need in terms of whether a maglev can go around in tighter curves than conventional rail which is Yes.

Let's look at the figures;
Quote:
Lateral component (g)
speed 300 500
radius
2000 0.35 0.98
2500 0.28 0.78
3200 0.22 0.61
4000 0.18 0.49
As you can see at radius of 4000m at the speed of 500Km the lateral force is about 0.5g that means half the weight of the train will be pushing aside of the rail.
Going through specs. I found that the engine cart weighs around 60 tonnes and a full rolling stock weighs between 385 and 750 tonnes depending on the equipment type.
Steel is resilient against compression so vertical limit is much higher but how about the stakes that keeps the rail in place?
What is the lateral force limit for these tracks?
How about the wheel?

The same centripetal force is applied on maglev as well but Maglevs works on the principle of magnetic attraction-repellent.
Japanese Maglev propulsion coils are applied on the vertical wall of the guide way so whether it is pulled or pushed the force goes vertically into the walls.
The coils can be anchored to the wall with more strength than a stake using various methods making the whole system resilient. On top, the maglev engines are more lighter since the coil for the motor is attached on the wall and not within the engine.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 07:46 PM   #358
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Anyways we have the figures for centripetal force which I posted eariler and I think that is all we need in terms of whether a maglev can go around in tighter curves than conventional rail which is Yes.
You're still not getting my point and you're still not understanding that I know how conventional rail works and I know how maglev works and have done for decades. Yes, Maglev can go around corners faster than conventional rail. On the LGV Est alignment Maglev could probably do over 1000kph against a probable maximum of 700 kph for conventional train.

Yet the maximum speed for comfort due to centripetal forces is limited to 350kph on this line. So it's a pointless conversation, seeing as both technologies easily obtain unusable performance on this stretch of line.

So it goes back to the original point. Why are LGV lines as straight as they are?

COMFORT.

Are people on maglevs somehow physically different from people on conventional trains?

NO.

Therefore, the operational minimum radius of curve for a given speed is governed not by the choice of technology but by choices in comfort for the passengers, effectively making maglev and conventional train EQUAL.

So, Maglevs won't go around corners tighter than conventional train, even though they can.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 02:08 AM   #359
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You're still not getting my point and you're still not understanding that I know how conventional rail works and I know how maglev works and have done for decades. Yes, Maglev can go around corners faster than conventional rail. On the LGV Est alignment Maglev could probably do over 1000kph against a probable maximum of 700 kph for conventional train.
Now we are moving from the realm of the improbable to the impossible.

Let's see now, centripetal force a object moving at 700Km in a curve with a radius of 4000m is a whopping 0.96G that's almost the full weight of the engine pushing on side of the rail.
Even if it was somehow able to manage that feat, E=mv^2/2 meaning the engine will have to be twice as strong at the same weight of a engine with a maximum limit of 500Km(without any consideration of air resistance).
There is also the consideration of loss in traction between rail and wheel with accumulated velocity.
700km with conventional train for passanger transit?
Yeah, dream on.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 03:40 AM   #360
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Back on topic please -- which routes do you think could be doable through CT?
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