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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 August 27th, 2016, 09:39 PM   #6501
00Zy99
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Originally Posted by zaphod View Post
Looks great! A lightweight train built to more standard specifications should be more reliable and economical to run than the current Acelas. A larger number of them running more frequently on the newly upgraded 150-160 mph tracks in New Jersey will reduce trip times a lot and accommodate more passengers. Seems like very exciting times for Amtrak.

Will Amtrak keep the older acela sets around to supplement existing service or are they just sort of worn out at this point? I wonder if they could de-motor one power car and turn it into a cab car and then chop off the other one to make them locomotive hauled sets? Since they have nicer interiors than other cars. Would be cool to see them get run on the Keystone corridor or something.
Cutting apart the power cars would be more hassle than its worth at this point. I suppose you mean to have one power car without motors and a conventional locomotive on the other end? The Acela sets do not use regular couplers.

It might be better to just "de-tune" the sets and run them on slower services.

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Originally Posted by Tower Dude View Post
That would be quite awesome Indeed, also would allow for faster Keystone Service.
The Keystone Corridor is too short to take advantage of the highest speeds. And many of the stations have low-level platforms, which the Acela are not designed to use in regular service.

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But the real question is when the hell is Amtrak going to replace the Amfleets.
That's in the longer-term future. Simply put, the basic body-shell of the Amfleet/Metroliner design is still very sturdy. As I've said before, Budd stainless steel railroad cars have been compared to the great pyramids. They just got major interior rehabs over the last couple of decades, so they have at least another 20 years before they need total replacement.
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Old August 28th, 2016, 04:44 AM   #6502
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The investment and new trains for the NEC is certainly a good step, but it is just that - a small step. While ideally a path towards maglev for the NEC should happen as soon as possible, even without transitioning to HSR there will need to be significant more investment in the current infrastructure and chopping at deferred maintenance to make the current lines live for many more years.

I can't find the link but supposedly there is a formal commitment/agreement for Japan to fund maglev for the state of Maryland between DC and Baltimore. As great as that may be, financial commitments are (I assume) just one of about 1000 things that need to be figured out for this to actually happen, correct?
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Old August 28th, 2016, 06:03 AM   #6503
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If conventional HSR can be built well enough, it well negate most of the advantages of Maglev-downtown to downtown journey times would be less due to the lack of a need for a massively expensive new approach to the center of the cities.
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Old August 28th, 2016, 10:47 AM   #6504
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If conventional HSR can be built well enough, it well negate most of the advantages of Maglev-downtown to downtown journey times would be less due to the lack of a need for a massively expensive new approach to the center of the cities.
If your are talking about the train-sets alone utilizing the present right of way then it will never be a true High speed rail since the route was did not take into consideration of a high speed curve and if you are talking about the route as well then it really doesn't matter whether it be conventional wheel on rail or maglev since you are going to develop new right of way anyways.
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Old August 28th, 2016, 03:23 PM   #6505
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There are considerable stretches of the current alignment that are suitable for up to 180 mph as soon as the track is upgraded. I'll point to the area around the Susquehanna River in Maryland and across New Jersey.
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Old August 28th, 2016, 03:56 PM   #6506
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Also, more so than travel times, Amtrak being able to increase capacity and - hopefully - lower fares, would be more useful, in the short term.

I just don't know how much of an impact, if any, a 40% increase will have.
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Old August 28th, 2016, 03:59 PM   #6507
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That's almost half again as much. So a fairly decent amount.
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Old August 28th, 2016, 04:01 PM   #6508
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That's almost half again as much. So a fairly decent amount.
Right, but we don't know how quickly it would be filled. These sets won't go into revenue service for at least 5 years or so. Much of that increase might be eaten up fairly quickly.

Then again, maybe not. I just really want to see fares decrease or be more dynamic/flexible, at least.
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Old August 28th, 2016, 07:06 PM   #6509
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When the distance of a line is short, the difference between conventional high speed rail and maglev would only be a few extra minutes of travel time. At approximately 30 miles, you could drive there in about half an hour. A conventional express train going 125 mph only saves you 15 minutes compared to the car. A maglev train going about 250 mph would only save 7 minutes compared to the normal train.

Compared to a car, the maglev train would save 23 minutes. But it would probably take 15-20 minutes to go the station on one end, and 15-20 minutes to get from the station to your other destination on the other. So it would take over 15 minutes longer to take the "fastest" mode of transportation between the two cities. With car sharing, automated vehicles, and plain old shuttle buses that could run point A to point B in either city's urban centers, it all seems very pointless to even consider this.

The real purpose of high speed rail is in moderately greater distances. Going from DC to Philadelphia for example. Even a current 'slow' train is double the average traffic speed of driving over a distance of about 130 miles, and an upgraded world-standard 186 mph(300 kph) line is going to make up for the time cost in reaching stations and beat nearly any other mode including airplanes(because of time reaching airports). Of course once you get distances more than a couple hundred miles, airplanes start to make more sense.

I really don't know what Hogan's deal is. The guy can't possibly be that stupid to think its feasible to build a maglev just between DC and Baltimore. This must be some kind of favor he is doing for the Japanese trade officials, as well as a distraction from a goal to reduce non-road transportation funding probably.
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Old August 28th, 2016, 07:32 PM   #6510
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All that Maglev talk really should be put to rest. It's not economically feasible except under some very special conditions like for the one line being built in Japan and even that still remains to be proven.

High quality conventional HSR is entirely sufficient for routes like Boston-Washington DC (ca 3.5 h realistically). For anything much further apart than that airlines are and always will be the preferred option for travellers primarily concerned with speed (=majority of us).
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Old August 29th, 2016, 04:55 AM   #6511
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UNITED STATES | High Speed Rail

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Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
All that Maglev talk really should be put to rest. It's not economically feasible except under some very special conditions like for the one line being built in Japan and even that still remains to be proven.
There's nothing special about the line in Japan. It's more or less an airplane replacement. That's what people don't get. It will completely replace the need for any airline travel between those cities. Connecting flights may make up some flights but there will not be s y need to build expensive airport expansions in valuable land.

Quote:
High quality conventional HSR is entirely sufficient for routes like Boston-Washington DC (ca 3.5 h realistically). For anything much further apart than that airlines are and always will be the preferred option for travellers primarily concerned with speed (=majority of us).

True. But we all know that this is a functional test line to prove the technology for a NYC Boston DC route. Yes it will be expensive and likely mostly underground but when all is said and down upgrading the ACELA will cost billions and billions and by the time it's done will still bleed money.

The maglev in Japan goes through rural areas. It's equivalent to Building airports in urban areas and it's more convenient and comfortable.

Airlines are the LEAST preferable mode of transport and only win because of speed. Take that advantage away and they truly suck.
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Old August 29th, 2016, 11:10 AM   #6512
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemeansgo View Post
There's nothing special about the line in Japan. It's more or less an airplane replacement. That's what people don't get. It will completely replace the need for any airline travel between those cities. Connecting flights may make up some flights but there will not be s y need to build expensive airport expansions in valuable land.
You don't need Maglev to replace flying on such short routes as Washington-New York. In fact, Amtrak already has 75 % market share on that route (source)! Eurostar has a 65 % share on London-Paris.

With trains capable of doing 320 km/h (200 mp/h) the market share can increase even further. I don't have anything particular against Maglev, but I think it's a waste of money as conventional high speed trains can deliver more for less money. Also, it's a proven technology and is readily available. For Maglev, there's a huge process of building up know-how and tech infrastructure before anything can happen on the ground.
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Old August 29th, 2016, 02:33 PM   #6513
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You don't need Maglev to replace flying on such short routes as Washington-New York. In fact, Amtrak already has 75 % market share on that route (source)! Eurostar has a 65 % share on London-Paris.

With trains capable of doing 320 km/h (200 mp/h) the market share can increase even further. I don't have anything particular against Maglev, but I think it's a waste of money as conventional high speed trains can deliver more for less money. Also, it's a proven technology and is readily available. For Maglev, there's a huge process of building up know-how and tech infrastructure before anything can happen on the ground.
How long does the Accela journey from DC to NY actually take?
You can't just buy a train that can go 320Km/h and place it on the same tracks and expect it to do magic and slash travel time by 50% fro present travel time. To operate an HSR at optimum efficiency you need to widen the curve radius to at least 7000m so the train can run through without dropping speed, that is plain physics.
You can't have mixed traffic within the line as well so you need a dedicated right of way.
Without the two acquiring a trainset possible of 320Km/h is merely boys with toys situation.
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Old August 29th, 2016, 02:48 PM   #6514
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As I've already stated, there are long stretches that already permit 160 mph running. And more stretches have curvature that is adequate for up to 180 mph.
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Old August 29th, 2016, 05:30 PM   #6515
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As I've already stated, there are long stretches that already permit 160 mph running. And more stretches have curvature that is adequate for up to 180 mph.
Long stretches means not all route and a curvature allowing 256Km/h means the minimum radius is smaller than 5000m which will not be sufficient for 320Km/h runs even with leaning cars while the biggest problem being mixed traffic which AMTRAK is not be able to solve by themselves.
At the end NEC requires a dedicated right of way to run a true high speed rail regardless of the system.
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Old August 29th, 2016, 08:47 PM   #6516
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How long does the Accela journey from DC to NY actually take?
Almost exactly 3 h which is about 40-50 min faster than driving in light traffic, but most people in NYC don't even own a car. The average speed is ca 75 mph (120 km/h). Nothing to write home about, but already not easily beatable by other modes of transport. A standard HSR on that route, which would indeed require substantial stretches of new alignment, could achieve an average of 125 mph covering that distance (with stops in Philadelphia and Baltimore) in ca 1 h 45 min. More than fast enough for that to be a dominant mode of transport between all those cities except for those who are most price sensitive (buses then).
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Old August 29th, 2016, 08:50 PM   #6517
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Originally Posted by bluemeansgo View Post
There's nothing special about the line in Japan. It's more or less an airplane replacement. That's what people don't get. It will completely replace the need for any airline travel between those cities. Connecting flights may make up some flights but there will not be s y need to build expensive airport expansions in valuable land.
Not about the line maybe albeit we don't know yet how much if any technical difficulties will be encountered during construction leading to delays and cost overruns. It's more about have all those huge, densely populated cities in a row at the right distance. Boston-Washington DC is not far enough.
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Old August 29th, 2016, 09:01 PM   #6518
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Long stretches means not all route and a curvature allowing 256Km/h means the minimum radius is smaller than 5000m which will not be sufficient for 320Km/h runs even with leaning cars while the biggest problem being mixed traffic which AMTRAK is not be able to solve by themselves.
At the end NEC requires a dedicated right of way to run a true high speed rail regardless of the system.
The stretch I'm referring to in central New Jersey could easily support much higher speeds. The current limitation is in the signalling. I think they've tested up to 180 on the late nights there. And there are only two curve realignments separating it from Newark and the approaches to Manhattan (no room between stops for speed there). The largest realignment is the very northern-most edge of Maryland near Elkton.

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Old August 29th, 2016, 09:11 PM   #6519
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Got an email from Amtrak showing the sexy Acela upgrade!
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Old August 29th, 2016, 09:52 PM   #6520
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We need the old train sets on a modernized Maple Leaf corridor.
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