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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
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Old August 27th, 2015, 08:05 AM   #5901
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What's that? I answered a 14 word question with an essay? You bet your ass I did.
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Old August 27th, 2015, 01:06 PM   #5902
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Quote:
TCR has offered to allow METRO usage of their rail lines for a commuter service line.
I don't think they are talking about the tracks. I believe they are suggesting usage of ROW.
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Old August 27th, 2015, 05:17 PM   #5903
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Originally Posted by SamuraiBlue View Post
I don't think they are talking about the tracks. I believe they are suggesting usage of ROW.
It's both; they can use ROW for their own line, or use their tracks but are required to purchase Shinkansen trains for themselves.
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Old August 27th, 2015, 05:53 PM   #5904
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Originally Posted by Yeezus2 View Post
It's both; they can use ROW for their own line, or use their tracks but are required to purchase Shinkansen trains for themselves.
I don't think buying Shinkansen train set is necessarily required. Don't know the detailed plans but I believe TCR will be constructing viaducts within the city so to assure no at level crossing which is a must for Japanese style HSR in which case METRO can utilize the space below to develop their own tracks.
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Old August 27th, 2015, 10:40 PM   #5905
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Originally Posted by SamuraiBlue View Post
I don't think buying Shinkansen train set is necessarily required. Don't know the detailed plans but I believe TCR will be constructing viaducts within the city so to assure no at level crossing which is a must for Japanese style HSR in which case METRO can utilize the space below to develop their own tracks.
You are correct in that assumption, which is why it's slightly ironic that all of the rural opposition on the BNSF line was opposed to the rail line. If TCR had decided on that route, it would've had to construct underpasses and/or overpasses at all road crossings. Since the BNSF would've been within close enough proximity to the HSR line, the roads in that area along the line would've been rebuilt to remove all rail crossing's, but such is life.

Anyway, I only stated that they would perhaps buy the Shinkansen train sets because that was what I was told by TCR. If METRO doesn't build their own route underneath the HSR line, then they could use the HSR line, but due to the way the line operates, it wouldn't be compatible with their current tram sets.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 01:56 AM   #5906
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"Elevated" is a pretty loose term in modern railspeak, simply referring to the act of raising a rail line above and separating from other modes of traffic; it does not automatically infer the construction of viaducts (which is expensive, second only to tunneling). Most of the time, when possible, the tracks are simply built on an artificial embankment with enough clearance for whatever traffic needing to pass under it.

Viaducts are generally only used when land procurement for right-of-way is prohibitively costly (such as in developed areas) where the railway can minimize its lateral footprint, or across hilly terrain where it would be impossible otherwise to build something in a straight line.

Given that Texas is largely flat and hill-less, I am willing to wager that most of TCR's "elevated" construction will mostly be on artificial embankments or viaducts with minimum underpass clearance (7.5 - 10m / 22 - 30ft). This sort of build is not suited for the construction of an additional ROW directly beneath the tracks, although the construction of a parallel route in itself is not an inherently bad idea. Japan's Tokaido Main Line and Tokaido Shinkansen run roughly parallel to each other, and often share the same stations buildings.

However, given America's general negative posture against railways, I do not believe that such a build will be supported as this will certainly greatly increase costs. The best approach, I believe, is to build 2-3 intermediate stations along the route, and then gradually radiate new commuter lines outwards from there. Intermediate stations are designed with thoroughfare "pass lanes" where express trains can overtake local services without the need to slow down; so long as service frequency is not as packed as the Japanese networks, this should be a win-win situation: Dallas - Houston express services aside, local areas will have a new station linking them directly to downtown centers, and to each other.

The only issue is a matter of distance; bullet trains require substantial distance to speed up and slow down; build too many stations or situate them too closely to each other: not only will local trains be unable to attain their top speed (or won't be able to sustain their cruising speed long enough before having to slow down), but the decreased average speed will also make timetabling and train dispatching much more difficult and inflexible. The worst case scenario will be the construction of small stations built on fringe suburbs; these stations will be situated too close to the urban center and may require a four-track layout as to prevent the rapid acceleration and deceleration of local services from affecting express trains.

However, given that TCR's length is roughly the distance of that of Taiwan's HSR (also incorporating Shinkansen technology), which comparatively, already has 8 operating stations along its 345km long route, including a few intermediate stops to foster growth as well increase market share should bear little impact (currently, TCR is toying with the idea of one intermediate station; I personally feel that the system can support three). The inclusion of additional intermediate stations can also serve to mollify opposition to the project, whose primary concern is that the new railway will only negatively affect their property.

Building high speed rail is a difficult challenge, as can be seen from social, engineering, and financial perspectives: simply due to its sheer requirements in terms of scale and quality. The maximum deviation error for railway geometry is less than 6mm (for older Shinkansen lines in Japan, this requires daily recalibration of the tracks as part of routine maintenance). NIMBY's are hard to please, no matter where. Already, California's project is being sued for doing the opposite of TCR; allegedly, that the inclusion of intermediate stations will negatively affect the timetables and therefore make the promised 2:40 travel time impossible to achieve. Private finance is also a minefield; THSR is predicted to declare bankruptcy in the next 4-5 years due to outstanding debts incurred due to the volatility of private-financed loans. This all being said, HSR is still a very crucial part of a country's infrastructural backbone, and is a requisite of any first-world country with a strong economy. Despite its financial setbacks, in just a few short years THSR had completely eliminated the domestic air market, and succeeded in reducing congestion on freeways and the old railway network. In addition, the introduction of a fast-paced and punctual long-distance service has challenged the existing transportation monopolies, and has forced them to stay competitive. Prior to bowing out from the pressure, airlines aggressively slashed prices (sometimes even below that of THSR). Forced out of the long-distance market, the old railway administration began a massive campaign of replacing old and outdated infrastructure and rolling stock, and began rolling out new branch railways and feeder lines in what became known colloquially as "metro-ization"; these changes reduced travelling times and cut delays down from 20min to under 5-10 min.

American opponents of HSR will cite American Exceptionalism, that Asians are accustomed to trains as Americans are accustomed to automobiles; that the residential density of Asian countries are often much higher than that of American cities. While this is true and is a factor to a certain extent (to put in perspective, Taiwan has around the same population as that of the entire state of California), facts that remain unaccounted for are that 1) The level of service in the States is frequently at the barest minimum, while Asian networks operate mostly at peak service. 2) American passenger rail is considerably outdated in technology, compared with the rest of the world, and lastly and most damning, 3) urban sprawl, characteristic of most American cities, and is frequently cited as the principle cause of low public transit use, is but a direct product of zoning policy changes in the 60s and 70s favoring the automobile, and is therefore completely reversible. 4) Building such gargantuan projects generate controversy no matter where it is built: in Italy, the army was called to guard the construction site of an HSR tunnel that would connect Turin and Lyon due to the violent protesters; fearing turmoil of similar magnitude in 1950s Japan, the Tokaido Shinkansen was planned and built largely in secrecy from the public, with land property purchases conducted under fake pseudonyms.

High speed rail can serve as a backbone for a region that no interstate highway nor airport possibly can; whether there is enough political spine to go through the painful process of building it, however, is up for debate.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 07:27 AM   #5907
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In response to your first three paragraphs, you are absolutely correct. I cannot post the picture (low post count still) that TCR shows as a concept for this artificial embankment with multiple "underpasses" for landowners to use to still retain access to their property.

However, when I refer to the "elevated tracks", I'm talking about the segment of the line in Houston that follows an established rail line, until, it reaches Highway 6 or the Hempstead area. Once it reaches this point, the line will curve north and will begin using this artificial embankment technique.

The elevated portion that could have a commuter line underneath, but definitely the established rail, is where the HSR line would sit upon columns above the freight line. Hence, my usage of the term "elevated"

Hopefully this clears things up!
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Old August 29th, 2015, 10:31 AM   #5908
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuraiBlue View Post
I don't think buying Shinkansen train set is necessarily required. Don't know the detailed plans but I believe TCR will be constructing viaducts within the city so to assure no at level crossing which is a must for Japanese style HSR in which case METRO can utilize the space below to develop their own tracks.
The more I read stuff like this the better this get's. Dallas and Houston need to take advantage of a high speed rail line they don't have to pay for. Hell I'm certain the feds would even match funds on this. Well as long as Texas Senators don't block it like they did before.

edit. When I say Dallas and Houston I'm including the suburbs too.
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Old August 29th, 2015, 08:15 PM   #5909
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Well, it remains to be seen if, and how much, TCR will pursue in regards to federal money. One major backbone to their plan is the use of private funds, so the project comes at no cost to taxpayers. They have not ruled out federal funds, but it would be naīve of them to pursue those funds while still obtaining land from rural landowners.

If they did go after federal funds, it would surely create a large amount of conservative ignorance (not saying all conservatives are ignorant, so don't give me shit for that), as we saw in the two bills filed by a Montgomery County rep and a Brenham city rep that attempted to derail the project. The Montgomery County representative was filing a bill on behalf of his constituents for a project that would not even end up in his county. The City of Brenham representative filed a bill that would strip TCR of eminent domain authority. Both bills failed to gain traction in the most recent Legislature, and were dropped almost immediately.

The next Texas State Legislature won't convene until January 2017 (yay Texas politics!), meaning that the project will be under-construction at that point.
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Old August 29th, 2015, 10:41 PM   #5910
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All Aboard Florida

Why does this project appear in the High Speed Rail thread? (see post #5697, Aug.15)
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Last edited by Fortyfiver; August 29th, 2015 at 10:44 PM. Reason: additional reference
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Old August 29th, 2015, 11:21 PM   #5911
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fortyfiver View Post
Why does this project appear in the High Speed Rail thread? (see post #5697, Aug.15)
It's high speed rail.
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Old August 29th, 2015, 11:27 PM   #5912
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It's high speed rail.
Well I might be mistaken but isn't AAF new tracks or lines or whatever? And wasn't it high speed rail on new tracks if it's 150 mph and AAF is 125? I could be wrong but I think this is what I read and was told.
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Old August 29th, 2015, 11:29 PM   #5913
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Well I might be mistaken but isn't AAF new tracks or lines or whatever? And wasn't it high speed rail on new tracks if it's 150 mph and AAF is 125? I could be wrong but I think this is what I read and was told.
South florida has restrictions on speed on railroad tracks, not to mention trespassers on there.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 12:44 AM   #5914
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyscraperhighrise View Post
It's high speed rail.
How can it be High Speed Rail?

Do the promoters of AAF intend to install double track all the way from Miami to Cocoa?

Do they plan to eliminate all level crossings?

What will be the maximum speed of AAF trains (and where, and for what distance)?

As I understand it, AAF will use reconditioned track on the FEC ROW. This would require a speed of at least 125 mph to fit in with generally recognized criteria for HSR. It's hard to imagine a frequent service of trains running at this speed on a single track with very frequent level crossings.

Has the ROW from Cocoa to Orlando been acquired yet? The project cannot be viable unless it is extended to Orlando.

I am, in principle, in favor of this project, but the planning and execution leave much to be desired. I am beginning to wonder if it is, in fact, a ramp for property development interests, who, whatever happens, will come out as winners, even of the rail plans don't work out.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 01:32 AM   #5915
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All Aboard Florida at least in its current state is merely a Intercity project and not a High Speed Rail.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 04:27 AM   #5916
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Old August 30th, 2015, 12:23 PM   #5917
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I still give TCR 'believe it when i see it' status whereas AAF is actually happening. That said both are amazing projects.

The big hole in the program is realignments between Boston and Washington. Even nothing too dramatic could make a big difference to Acela performance.

The US has so much potential - the plains out of Chicago, Northern to Southern California. I don't buy the Exceptionalism arguments. Just need a change in a few policy settings.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 09:04 PM   #5918
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis View Post
All Aboard Florida at least in its current state is merely a Intercity project and not a High Speed Rail.
We got rid of high speed rail in florida for good reason, because number#1 it's a waste of taxpayer money and number#2 south florida has restrictions on speed in rail road.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 11:49 PM   #5919
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis View Post
All Aboard Florida at least in its current state is merely a Intercity project and not a High Speed Rail.
I believe that the technical classification is Higher-Speed Rail. (thank you US government ability to label things!! )


Quote:
Originally Posted by skyscraperhighrise View Post
We got rid of high speed rail in florida for good reason, because number#1 it's a waste of taxpayer money
I completely disagree with this, given the experience with HSR and even conventional rail all around the world. However, you have already shown that you are not interested in a reasoned discussion on this matter, so I'll just end here.

Quote:
and number#2 south florida has restrictions on speed in rail road.
This is a legal matter that is easily changed when one writes the permits for such things.
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Old August 31st, 2015, 03:46 AM   #5920
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Originally Posted by 00Zy99 View Post
I believe that the technical classification is Higher-Speed Rail. (thank you US government ability to label things!! )




I completely disagree with this, given the experience with HSR and even conventional rail all around the world. However, you have already shown that you are not interested in a reasoned discussion on this matter, so I'll just end here.



This is a legal matter that is easily changed when one writes the permits for such things.
We should have a higher speed rail thread... There are more of those projects then actual real HSR in this country.
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