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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 17th, 2009, 04:11 AM   #941
miami305
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Originally Posted by E2rdEm View Post
You Americans are so.... outdated.

I'd say you should stick to your car-centric sprawl-increasing policy if you wish. You still have lots of land to cover with your beloved detached-housing suburbia. Just don't tell Europeans what they should do. I mean, use Google-Earth - browse through Netherlands or even Denmark. See the distance between cities. See the density. And then stop giving us such an advice...

But I won't say even that. Because there's a problem with greenhouse emissions. How do you expect to cut these if you stick to your 2x7-lanes-wide, but always congested highways? If you still refuse to cut the emissions, Europe will probably give up on the task too - I mean, how long do you expect Europe will decrease its emission just to see you (and Asia) immediately fill out the gap with your pollution?

It's sad to see the Americans just never learn.


We know. In Europe we really pay at least $5/gallon of taxes. The total price is now around $7.5/gallon.
Wait a minute!! don't speak for all Americans! I for one and many others (young people) are not stuck in the past or are outdated....we want HSR now! I think it is time for the USA to give us another choice of transportation.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 04:16 AM   #942
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I will give up my Mercedes-Benz (SLK-350) if my city will provide me with HSR tomorrow!!!
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Old December 17th, 2009, 04:28 AM   #943
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Originally Posted by miami305 View Post
I will give up my Mercedes-Benz (SLK-350) if my city will provide me with HSR tomorrow!!!
If you give me your Mercedes I'll run really fast with you on my back.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 04:33 AM   #944
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If you give me your Mercedes I'll run really fast with you on my back.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 05:17 AM   #945
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Originally Posted by miami305 View Post
Wait a minute!! don't speak for all Americans! I for one and many others (young people) are not stuck in the past or are outdated....we want HSR now! I think it is time for the USA to give us another choice of transportation.
I don't know, the more I think of the idea the more it doesn’t register with me. The problem with high-speed rail is it's EXPENSIVE. It's not only expensive to build, it's expensive to ride on too. And I don't see how high-speed rail is a cost effective substitute for the car, when it comes to the daily commute to work...? I mean if you want go to another major city it's great, but how often do you really do that? You don't.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 08:58 AM   #946
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Originally Posted by FlyFish View Post
Look, we just live differently here. Your way works for you and my way for me. I commute 11 miles each way so that my family can live in a suburban development and away from the issues that urban life provides. I like it this way. When gas spiked after the hurricanes and the speculators made a rush on it I groaned like everyone else but I paid the price.
One moment, FlyFish. I live outside Paris and commute daily 14 miles each way, so I guess we're in the same boat. The main difference is, I do so by train. When my wife and I looked around for a house we chose - like everybody else in this urban sprawl - a place that was conveniently located with regards to the most direct commuter line.

Look at it any way you like, locating yourself in an area where you cannot get around without a polluding car is NOT part of the Charter of Human Rights.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 09:56 AM   #947
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Likewise, living only where the government deems "recommended" because it doesn't want to invest in new rail lines is not fair also.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 11:08 AM   #948
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onn View Post
I don't know, the more I think of the idea the more it doesn’t register with me. The problem with high-speed rail is it's EXPENSIVE. It's not only expensive to build, it's expensive to ride on too. And I don't see how high-speed rail is a cost effective substitute for the car, when it comes to the daily commute to work...? I mean if you want go to another major city it's great, but how often do you really do that? You don't.
While I think the US is really, really crazy that they don't invest more in their infrastructure in general and mass transit in particular, I can't help thinking that that commuter argument is correct.
A good public transport network on a local level can exist, and can more or less pay for itself, without having that network connected by HSR to another city's.
Having a fast, high-quality (and thus expensive) HSR line between two cities that lack such a local network - that seems a bit like building a really great Interstate highway that can only be reached by taking a tram.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 11:14 AM   #949
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Of course, but these days there ARE some real concerns about pollution. Consider this equivalent example: you cannot play loud music in an appartment block at 2 am and claim that this is your individual right in the name of constitutional "freedom". There's a cost to other people, and this cost you must take into account. The world is currently too polluded - chiefly because we burn too much fossile fuel - and as developing countries (!) develop it's going to get worse.

Seeing this situation I don't think it's reasonable to jump up and down and claim to have a "right" to buy as many and as big-motored cars as you want and can afford. A particularly malicious colleague of mine (I'm a political economist) made the following little calculation: if all US SUVs and (other) 8-cylindred passenger cars were converted to VW Golfs then THIS CHANGE ALONE would reduce pollution by an amount equal to the entire annual CO2 emissions of India. (India has 1.2 billion people.) So, andrelot...

...please don't tell me that US households have a right to pollude as much as they like. They're not alone on this planet of ours.

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Danish should start adopting American patterns, not the opposite. It would boost their economy and increase conversion on uncompetitiv farmland in nice housing developments.
You seem to harbour some pretty naive preconceptions about the Danish economy? Our relatively obsessive corporatism has served the country quite well. This year there's going to be a budget deficit of 3% of GDP (11% in the US), an unemployment of 5% (10% in the US) and a per capital income around 10% above US averages. Part of the reason for this is that the government during the "seven fat years" put a lot of money aside instead of - as would have been done in a more individualistic country - immediately giving the money back to the households through tax cuts. In consequence Denmark enjoyed balanced growth instead of a fools'-party in the housing markets. The governments is now planning to spend some of its spare cash (it has net assets rather than debts...) on greatly boosting its railway infrastructure.

- Oh, and: the Danes are quite unsentimental about their farming community. Your point about converting uncompetitive farms to housing projects would be better addressed to Switzerland. Most of the Christmas trees they sell on the streets of European capitals these days are imported from Denmark. That's one thing we've been doing with marginal lands: turning them into fir tree farms.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 11:48 AM   #950
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Of course, but these days there ARE some real concerns about pollution.
All the more reason to spend your money on public transport systems that can actually be used IMHO.
Without good local transport such a rail line will not be about reducing emissions, it will just be about keeping up with the Joneses.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 02:14 PM   #951
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Well, if discussion is about pollution, I don't think we should slip into "let's live with less" leftist, environwackist discourse. Instead, we should look after ways to massively improve renewable fuels (from solar power to efficient biofuels, from wind farms to electrical and/or hydrogen powered cars). It's easier, in the long term, to move cars with clean energy than to try to "teach" Americans that they should give up on their extremelly sucessful society (not without its problems, for sure).

Developed countries must keep an economic, political and military edge over the rest of the World. Pushing for third generation clean cars is one of the ways to go. Using biofuel, in the short term, is good because most of our enimies cannot produce them, yet they will be bit by increased costs that will diminish their ability to buy arms instead of fuel or, in some cases, food - but this is a completely different discussion.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 02:26 PM   #952
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Can't we work on both?
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Old December 17th, 2009, 02:32 PM   #953
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For the Last time , which ive been trying to tell you guys but you don't listen , because you rather pick on the US. We are building alot of Public Transit and have alot Planned. As for High Speed Rail , public Transportation in Urban Areas has gained more traction then HSR , unfortunately. Use this site to look at some of the projects happening or planned.. And STOP with the Anti-American Crap its getting retarded and makes you look immature

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Old December 17th, 2009, 03:16 PM   #954
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hans280 View Post
One moment, FlyFish. I live outside Paris and commute daily 14 miles each way, so I guess we're in the same boat. The main difference is, I do so by train. When my wife and I looked around for a house we chose - like everybody else in this urban sprawl - a place that was conveniently located with regards to the most direct commuter line.

Look at it any way you like, locating yourself in an area where you cannot get around without a polluding car is NOT part of the Charter of Human Rights.
THat's just wonderful for you. You should be very proud of yourself. What would you do if you lived in a moderate sized City that didn't have trains?

Where is this Charter thing, I never got my copy. I certainly never got notice that I had to live in a certain place. And how do you know what I drive? I could be one of these tree-hugging smug as hell, look at me I care about the planet hybrid folks for all you know.

And, I call BS on your SUV to VW thing. That is a ridiculous assertion considering the actual emissions from vehicles versus that just of fuel fired power generation. Linked somewhere here on this thread is an study by actual scientists that equate electric trains to the cars they replace. It finds that the pollution reduction really isn't all that dramatic when the power is generated through fossel fuels. Your particularly malicious friend as you describe them is probably in Copenhagen right now scheming to steal money from "rich" countries to give to "poor" countries under the guise of saving the world from a problem that doesn't exist.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 03:36 PM   #955
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THat's just wonderful for you. You should be very proud of yourself.
Not at all. There's nothing to be proud of, since most of my colleagues and most of my neighbours are in the same situation.

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Originally Posted by FlyFish View Post
What would you do if you lived in a moderate sized City that didn't have trains?
What size of city is that? I've lived in Paris (10 million inhabitants), Copenhagen (1.5 million) and Basle (250.000) and in all of them I commuted to work by means of trains. (OK, trams in the case of Basle.)

The problem with a certain European addiction to public transport is IMO a different one (which one of the other posters on this thread alluded to): it decreases job mobility because people who own their home have optimised their location given train, tram and metro lines. I've often heard Parisian people say they'd turned down a job offer because it would gave given them a too long commute.

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Originally Posted by FlyFish View Post
Your particularly malicious friend as you describe them is probably in Copenhagen right now scheming to steal money from "rich" countries to give to "poor" countries under the guise of saving the world from a problem that doesn't exist.
What problem doesn't exist? Increasing global pollution? You'd have to be blind to claim that problem doesn't exist. Whether that's then a source of "global warming" is of course another discussion entirely.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 06:06 PM   #956
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Japan aims for US billions with bullet trains, but European rivals have head start
16 December 2009

NAGOYA, Japan (AP) - On a desolate stretch of track just before midnight, when all passenger lines have been put to bed, a juiced-up Japanese bullet train goes online and accelerates to over 200 miles per hour. The 700-ton train, about a quarter of a mile long, whooshes by rice paddies in under five seconds.

There are no locals around to witness the train glide to a stop at a deserted Kyoto Station, but that's not the point. This is an accelerated sales pitch aimed squarely at the U.S., where Japan is competing with European train makers for a new high-speed train network that could deliver contracts worth hundreds of billions.

Diplomats, business leaders and journalists were crammed in to watch special speedometers record the feat last month, the first time operator Japan Central Railway Co. has allowed outsiders to join a test run. Rivals abroad said Japanese trains weren't up to spec, and JR Central wanted to set the record straight.

"In France and Germany they have been saying we can only do 280 kilometers (170 miles) per hour, so we had to demonstrate," says company chairman Yoshiyuki Kasai.

That Japan's bottle-nosed bullet trains -- known here as the "shinkansen" -- can hold their own against overseas models has long been a point of pride. But now a massive sales race is underway. While the majority of services to date have been built in Europe, where makers like France's Alstom and Germany's Siemens dominate, governments around the world are looking to upgrade as existing lines age.

A diverse group of countries is at various stages of introducing super trains, including Russia, the U.K., Vietnam and Brazil, but the U.S. is the ultimate prize.

President Barack Obama's stimulus package included an $8 billion provision for high-speed trains, and some say eventually $600 billion will be needed for a nationwide network. Japan's exports to the U.S. last year totaled about $140 billion.

A high speed network would drastically cut U.S. train times. The Washington to New York route would drop from two and half hours to about 70 minutes, according to Kasai. That would create a viable alternative to planes and cars, cutting down on traffic and depositing travelers at stations that are often in the city center.

Some analysts question whether cash-strapped Washington can afford to follow up the initial provision with more funds. But building new train lines can also be a vote winner, hitting political touchstones like jobs and reduced pollution.

JR Central, one of the operators created when Japan privatized its railways in 1987, is leading the charge in the U.S., but is also taking a risky winner-takes-all approach. The company is pitching a total package covering everything from train cars to signals to maintenance machinery and even employee instruction -- even though many in the industry prefer to rely on a variety of suppliers.

Few countries have the technology to safely move passengers and hundreds of tons of train so swiftly.

Japan was an early innovator, launching services in 1964 to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics. Rivals with more experience at exporting include Alstom, a world leader by market share, and Siemens, which already has a light rail factory in Sacramento. Both have 200 mph trains in Europe and have said they will pursue the rail dollars from Washington.

Japan is hoping its close political ties to the U.S. will give its sales pitch a boost. When Obama visited Tokyo last month, Japanese leader Yukio Hatoyama highlighted Japanese trains and handed over promotional DVDs.

The country has had some success abroad. Earlier this week the U.K. launched its first high-speed service using trains made by Hitachi. In Vietnam, a major recipient of Japanese government financial assistance, officials have said they want to use Japan's technology for a new train network that may include high-speed services.

JR Central runs high-speed services on the prized routes from Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka, and designs and operates its own fleet. Bullet trains built by the company are currently used in a high-speed network in Taiwan, the first time they were sold abroad.

But that $18 billion project combines the Japanese train cars with technologies from other countries, a hodgepodge solution that JR Central wants to avoid in the U.S., because it means modifying proven technologies and a smaller paycheck.

"This is not a system that can be divided up into parts, and we are proposing adoption of the entire system," said Tsutomu Morimura, an executive in charge of JR Central's technology division.

Morimura says this is the only way to employ the company's advanced technology and guarantee a safe and efficient system. Rail experts agree that Japan's train tech is among the best in the world, but wonder whether an all-or-nothing approach will work in the U.S.

"If you rely totally and completely on a single country, when a problem arises there is a lot of risk, so the fundamental stance of many buyers is not to rely on the technology from one country," said Credit Suisse analyst Osuke Itazaki.

Robert Eckels, chairman of the Texas High Speed Rail Corp. that works to bring such a system to the state, was present at the demonstration in Japan. He was impressed but wasn't sure how the company's all-in-one pitch would play out in the states.

Unlike in Europe, where border crossings and ensuring compatibility on differing rail networks are prerequisites for doing business, Japan's trains have been developed on an island, with homebrew technology. Other Japanese industries with enviable but non-compatible technologies, like its mobile phone operators, haven't fared well in repeated attempts to go abroad.

Another wrinkle: Japan's high-speed trains run on their own tracks, with no crossings and dedicated bridges over crowded areas. Building such lines from scratch in the U.S. would be costly, but executives like Morimura say it's an advantage to be unconstrained by the standards of conventional networks.

Bullet trains do have an impressive history. No passengers have died from a derailment or collision in nearly a half century of service, with the only derailment during a major earthquake in 2004. The average delay for JR Central services each year, despite hundreds of trains each day, is typically less than a minute.

For Japan, billions in contracts would be a welcome boost as the economy begins to recover from recession, and help stir national pride. The "shinkansen" are a symbol of the country's technological prowess here, where services have names like "Hope" and "Light," and miniature replicas are popular among children.

When one of the original trains was retired and put on display at a museum on the outskirts of Tokyo earlier this year, some 16,000 visitors crammed in during the first week to take pictures and rub its elongated nose.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 07:40 PM   #957
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koen Acacia View Post
While I think the US is really, really crazy that they don't invest more in their infrastructure in general and mass transit in particular, I can't help thinking that that commuter argument is correct.
A good public transport network on a local level can exist, and can more or less pay for itself, without having that network connected by HSR to another city's.
Having a fast, high-quality (and thus expensive) HSR line between two cities that lack such a local network - that seems a bit like building a really great Interstate highway that can only be reached by taking a tram.
Maybe Eisenhower was right, wouldn't that be something.

But I think we should take a "wait and see" approach on high-speed rail in California before we go nationwide. I want to see just how effective it's going to be. American's don't take very well to any travel other than car already, is it even worth going that far? I agree mass transit needs to be built up, yet we can do that other ways than going high-speed. I think simple passenger trains would be very beneficial in many places.

Last edited by Onn; December 18th, 2009 at 06:31 AM.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 09:53 PM   #958
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First build where it's needed. I can say California can really use the modal variety. As for what technology, Japanese have experience with earthquakes no doubt, but Alstom had their foot in the door long before. Original renderings (though not indicative of the future) featured the TGV Duplex, so Alstom was definitely on the minds of the HSR Authority board long before anyone else.
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Old December 18th, 2009, 04:28 AM   #959
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Maybe with the current health care debate, some Senator will make a compromise like voting for Health Care reform bill in exchange for a HSR linking Boise and Des Moines.
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Old December 18th, 2009, 04:51 AM   #960
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Although that would be awesome, it probably wont happen, considering that the folks against the the Health Care bill aren't likely to be keen on HSR either.
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