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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 May 30th, 2008, 08:00 PM   #461
elfabyanos
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Priamos is right that the european style dense local transport networks play an important role. It's not decisive by any means in every circumstance, but overall it has a great effect on high speed rail's success.

A good example is me, hometowm Brighton. If I'm going to Paris I can go to Gatwick airport which is 20 miles away, or get Eurostar from London, which is 50 miles away. Now, me, on a budget, I'd have to take the train to the airport, which would cost £10. Or, I could stay on the train to St Pancras and take the Eurostar - the ticket of Brighton - Paris is £10 more than the normal London - Paris Eurostar ticket anyway, and I end up in central Paris and can easily get anywhere, instead of an hours train ride from the centre at the airport.

Timewise - total - 3.5 hours by train, 3.0 hours by plane (50% of which spent queuing at Gatwick so they can inspect everyones feet and water bottles).

Cost wise probably less by train at £69 return. Plane - cost of flight plus train to and from Gatwick at 2x£10 and the Paris metro ticket x2.

Once going by train it's easy to do the whole lot by train here, all I do is haul the luggage to another platform every so often - easy.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 09:52 PM   #462
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Well there are problems with green thinking in US. Trains are much better for environment. Short flights make enormous CO2 emissions per passenger. Also elfa stated right. I've been to Brighton, nice town BTW.
I personally always prefer train while traveling in EU. Because there delays in airports, you have to give away your luggage, stand it the long queue, arrive at least hour before departure because of traffic. And smooth ride in the train with great views out of window are superior. On planes it is turbulence, unpleasant take offs and landings also.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 10:22 AM   #463
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Elfabyanos's qualification to my argument is of course well earned: it's not as if a mediocre public transport network in a city automatically disqualifies that city from being a strong candidate for HSR. But it does make it more of an uphill struggle to attract passengers - except, of course, if the station happens to be located bang-next to the place where everyone wants to go. (The only example I can think of is EuroDisney...;-))

The issue of car rental at the station does, now that I think of it, look a bit differently in Europe and the United States. Our railway stations are normally located in cramped inner-cities where most people would consider it a nightmare to have to drive - especially during the rush hours.
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Old June 4th, 2008, 08:05 PM   #464
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Quote:
Originally Posted by priamos View Post
I don't think this boils down to "lower class vs. upper class transport"
Of course it's like that in N America. For the most part (i.e., save for Québec), you got snazzy highways that go through some form of retrofitting nearly twice per decade while virtually zero investment's been sunk into a track network resembling some poor country's.

N America oughtta quit taking itself to be some continent of developed countries.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 12:18 AM   #465
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Hopefully with high gas prices, this will become a reality.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 03:38 PM   #466
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For such HSR networks like those to be beneficial enough, the USA might as well get cracking on taking maglev rail up the technological scale (read: speed scale) a few notches. I just can't imagine conventional foreign HSR ever working well enough over here.

Last edited by trainrover; June 6th, 2008 at 05:31 PM.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 08:13 PM   #467
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Why should conventional HSR not being able to work in the US? If there is the will to create such a system there are a lot of potential regions that could sustain it. The map above somes those regions pretty much up.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 11:40 PM   #468
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Something like the ICE/TGV systems would work great in the midwest (Minneapolis/Chicago, St. Lious/Chicago). The East Coast and West Coast would also be fantastic spots for this sort of thing. I don't see long distance maglevs ever being an economically viable option. 110mph isn't all that good, but I guess we have to start somewhere, If we could get 200mph trains in the near future it would be totally worth it.

If I could get from Minneapolis to Chicago in 3 or 4 hours on a train it would be the only way I would make that trip.
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Old June 7th, 2008, 03:14 PM   #469
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Well, if you construct new high speed tracks, you should go with 200 mph right from the start. Everything else would be wasting money as you don't construct railways every 10 years newly. You will have to stick with them for longer.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 01:26 AM   #470
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Would JR-maglev speeding across USA at 600-700km/h be a good competitor to planes?
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Old June 9th, 2008, 07:07 PM   #471
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
Why should conventional HSR not being able to work in the US?
Yeah, I guess you --and a subsequent respondent-- have a point. I was thinking in terms of longer distances than those within the midwest and eastern seaboard conurbations, e.g., DC to Atlanta, etc.

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Originally Posted by 2co2co View Post
Would JR-maglev speeding across USA at 600-700km/h be a good competitor to planes?
Hmmmm, me, I'd say 900 - 1,000 KPH . . .
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Old June 16th, 2008, 01:29 AM   #472
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Took the map and edited a little bit:



RED = "pure" HSL built from scratch (200mph or more preferably)
Blue = interurban corridors (like Acela and french TGV) ... somethign in between 125/200mph using some new dedicated tracks in current well established corridors
Grey = lond distance corridors ... should be improved to a better standard (like some 125mph) ... and preferably add double tracking and electrification for those freigh trains to run better ... but of dubious interest to a "pure" HSL network (too long routes).

For those looking for good HSL corridors ... look where it counts:

http://www.airlineroutemaps.com/USA/index.shtml

It even ahs half a dozen of possible interested HSToperators in it.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 06:18 AM   #473
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Transcontinental HSR might not be as crazy as it seems. No, the schedules won't be anywhere near the 4-5 hours by airline, but they could probably be kept under 12 hours for the major markets that can justify true non stop service. With that sort of schedule, a very nice overnight schedule can be arranged, almost duplicating the current airline schedules to Europe (longer travel time yes, but still leaving after the work day ends, and arriving before it starts). If we could push service speeds up to 300 mph (how doable is this without maglev? I suspect it could be done) this would work quite easily.

Paying for it now... Ugh, not gonna happen anytime soon. That said, I do expect to see several projects follow California quite closely, something like we saw after San Diego with light rail (wouldn't it be amusing if HSR in North America was kicked off by California and Alberta).
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Old July 13th, 2008, 06:09 PM   #474
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IMHO, this is a must for US. It will be faster, cheaper, more comfortable, and environment friendly on mentioned routes than anything else. However, current airway and oil lobby together with relatively high initial cost are strong barricades against this plan.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 02:20 AM   #475
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariachi McMuffin View Post
Americans do view train travel as a step below air travel.
That is only because most Americans have never ridden on a passenger train and don't know what the **** they are talking about. Give me a 200+ mph, air conditioned train cabin over a long delayed, crowded airplane ANY day.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 02:23 AM   #476
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariachi McMuffin View Post
Its not worth the cost in most of the U.S. Nobody would use it when you can simply take an equal or less expensive flight.
That isn't true. You are not even factoring in the long delays at airports not to mention the time consuming security checkpoints.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 02:26 AM   #477
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Quote:
Originally Posted by priamos View Post
I agree with you that this is faster than the car - especially during the rush hours. Remains the fact that the internationally agreed definition of HSR is speeds of no less than 250 km/h on a substantial part of the line. (Proposed by the European Commission for its own purposes and since then widely used.) I guess in the Imperial system that would be just over 150 miles per hour?

I think I have a problem with HSR in the United States that is a bit different from that of most other posters on this thread. I don't think this boils down to "lower class vs. upper class transport" or, necessarily, an unwillingness of politicians to "see the light". Even in the US transport corridors which ressemble Lille-Paris-Lyon-Marseille it would be awfully difficult to replicate the success of the TGVs. (With the likely exception of Boston-New York-Washington DC.) Why? Because the European successes with HSR hinge not only on the point-to-point efficacy of these trains but also on the quality of the public transportation networks at the start and end points. French experts have actually expressed doubts about the viability of the proposed San Francisco-Los Angeles line. Nobody will get out of the train in LA and take a metro to their destination, because... there IS (almost) no metro. Which being so, if travellers know that they're going to need a car the moment they arrive to LA then they will drive there by car. - Or fly, and rent a car in the airport.
You are wrong. Both San Francisco and Los Angeles have decent public transit infrastructures that continue to grow each year. And any proposal for HSR also involves building and expanding mass transit systems in the cities it would serve. HSR is just one piece of the rail transit puzzle.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 02:34 AM   #478
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That map of federally designated HSR corridors is woefully inadequate. First off, there is no HSL connecting Chicago with the BosWash megalopolis.

HSR would work fabulously in California, Texas, the Midwest, SE and East Coast. That leaves the plains states and interior mountain regions of America unserved, but few people live there anyways. However, there is no reason why slower speed rail service (100-125 mph) couldn't connect cities like Salt Lake City and Denver with nearby smaller metro areas.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 05:47 AM   #479
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Remember most tracks in the usa are freight grade and are only cleared to 79 mph for passenger service. It's sad corruption has caused the focus to be taken away for so long from a viable national high speed system and put it on cars & roads. Gee, i wonder why we have 5 dollar gasoline.. Could it be because our interstate passenger rail system is a joke?

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Old July 15th, 2008, 08:35 AM   #480
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxmulder View Post
IMHO, this is a must for US. It will be faster, cheaper, more comfortable, and environment friendly on mentioned routes than anything else. However, current airway and oil lobby together with relatively high initial cost are strong barricades against this plan.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
That isn't true. You are not even factoring in the long delays at airports not to mention the time consuming security checkpoints.
Airways are a IN sector in HSR ... it's in their own interest to be a player in the sector ...

Oil lobby will cease to exist in less than a decade ... it will became "algae producers" or "ethanol producer lobby instead (or anithing else that produces juice to fuel cars + planes)

a key factor is knowing one's NEEDS and LIMITATIONS

Need's only in short-haul/big traffic routes you need to replace planes by trains ... forget those routes longer than 500/600km unless they are main axis (midwest-texas midwest-florida midwest-norteast)

Start by creating interurban corridors at speeds of 125/140mph (like NE corridor) and then see if any can be run at 200mph safely ... that's your limitations

As I posted earlier ... some key factors to acount:



Minneapolis , Lincoln(?) , Oclahoma city , Louisville , Detroit , cleveland , columbus are easily identifiable routes out of Chicago.



out of denver there is no identifiable HSR corridor ... but it could became the central HUB of a regional interurban fast network




A single 1200km "corridor" from S.Francisco/Sacramento to Tucson could replace almost the entire air traffic in the west coast ... if a 1200km long network would even be viable.

In any case there is not much place in the traffic pattern of the USA for true "pure" HSR ... it's much more cheap to just fly everywhere over 150km than to have dedicated trackage linking spot-to-spot (notice that thru-traisn would need to have a "variant" outside most cities making things even costier)

A "dedicated" 200/250mph(320/400 km/h) route between Chicago and Washington would take 3h of travel time between city centers given enough connections in intermediate cities (like Toledo-Detroit , Cleveland-Akron , FtWaine , Columbus , etc) it would be highly viable comercialy ... a couple of other "dedicated" HSR routes (not linking town directly but bypassing major cities nearby) would have an enormous efect on traffic ... Airports could serve as HUB's between local and long distance traffic in the same way they are used today ... one would just take a train instead of a plane to some of the more used destinations.
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