daily menu » rate the banner | guess the city | one on oneforums map | privacy policy | DMCA | news magazine | posting guidelines

Go Back   SkyscraperCity > Infrastructure and Mobility Forums > Railways

Railways (Inter)national commuter and freight trains



Global Announcement

As a general reminder, please respect others and respect copyrights. Go here to familiarize yourself with our posting policy.


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

Reply

 
Thread Tools
Old December 25th, 2009, 10:03 PM   #1021
Belxos
Registered User
 
Belxos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 167
Likes (Received): 0

Quote:
Originally Posted by StreetView View Post
...

However, due to the nature of each operation, building up an air system doesn't cost as much for the government or, at least, has a shorter payback period. First of all, everyone pays fees at the airport: boarding passengers pay airport fees, car rentals pay concession fees, landing aircraft pay landing fees, airlines pay fees to have access to the gates as well as rent to use their check in counters and airport retail pays rent to the airport owner, not to mention additional specific fees that do not apply to the general rule, but can apply to certain cases.

Passenger railroad companies have to subsidize most of their stations because in many cases they don't even charge a boarding fee and in most cases they don't make nearly as much money from rents and concession fees. Additionally, if they own the station and their own trains operate from there, it doesn't make any sense to charge themselves a fee each time one of their trains stops at a given station.
Big railway stations also have retail, concessions, airline check-in counters, car rental facilities, hotels...
And if the operator doesn't own tracks & station they pay a fee to use the tracks and a fee to stop at a certain station.
Belxos no está en línea   Reply With Quote

Sponsored Links
Old December 25th, 2009, 10:11 PM   #1022
Suburbanist
on the road
 
Suburbanist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: the rain capital of Europe
Posts: 27,529
Likes (Received): 21231

Likewise, airlines pay landing, terminal and hangar fees to airport operators. This is what I'm talking about: separate infrastructure of HSR from vehicles. If within a set or lines some route services are not feasible, just don't provide the service. I'm very afraid of political localism clout over an integrated rail operator (who'd own tracks + stations + trains).
__________________
YIMBY - Yes, in my backyard!
Suburbanist no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 25th, 2009, 11:17 PM   #1023
Snowguy716
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Bemidji, Minnesota
Posts: 78
Likes (Received): 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Onn View Post
I think it's very much a fringe topic here, the only people talking about the kind of projects you are here is the governor herself. And frankly we don't need it. Again, it depends where you are. You seem to think most people in the country live somewhere like you do. That's not true. Maybe in the Northeast rail is heavily needed, but the majority of the country is not the Northeast. There's plenty of space in much of the country for freeway construction, and the ONLY place that is even remotely experiences traffic jams is the inner most city. I live in one of the largest metro areas in the country, and I can tell you all these different kinds of transportation are not needed here. The freeways are generally empty at it is. No way in heck trains would profitable outside the metro area.

If bridges are out in the middle of nowhere where few cars use them, how can that be considered "integral" to the system?? Most of interstate highways don't get much traffic at all. Maybe you need to travel the country a little more. Most interstate highway bridges are not in large cities, they're in the middle of nowhere.

I can see where you’re coming from if your solely talking about the Northeast, I'm sure there are major issues in that region. But the most progressive cities today are not in the northeast, neither is the new money. You’re complaining about how bad things are, but the rest of America is not necessarily that way. Oil still works here, there's no reason to change right now. And at the current pace it will still be that way decades from now.
I don't know what city you're from.. but almost everything you just said doesn't apply here in Minnesota.

Firstly, the streetcar network in the Twin Cities was dismantled in the early 1950s not because buses were superior, but because the company was bought and taken over by a New York City investor named Charles Green.

The man wanted to squeeze dividends out of the private company that operated the streetcar network... that company had traditionally invested its profits into expansion of the network. Immediately Green stopped expansion, cut maintenance to a bare minimum, cut schedules, and laid off hundreds of employees.

He wanted conversion to buses by 1958.. he completed that early in 1953. It was one of the greatest swindles in Twin Cities history. Even my conservative grandfather couldn't believe what the guy had done (he lived in Bloomington, which in 1951 when they moved in, was an exploding streetcar suburb on the Minneapolis grid. He took the streetcar to work downtown each day.

They had to buy a car in 1952 because of service cuts and he had to take city streets to downtown Minneapolis.. which took much longer because of increased traffic (50 people in 50 cars rather than 50 people in one trolley).

Ever since the freeways were built beginning in the 1940s, they have been congested here. Since the city developed largely as a transit oriented, denser, street grid city, it was very hard to put big, expansive freeways in like down south where most of the growth has occurred in the automobile age.

So while your city might not need transit improvements, the Twin Cities do.

And the fact that you are actually promoting putting all of our eggs in one basket shows a high level of ignorance. Have you watched oil prices? As soon as the economy picks up again, we'll be right back at $4/gallon. We'll probably go even higher.

But you'd just assume have us live in sprawling burbs 30 miles from work and take massively overbuilt and increasingly expensive (thanks to huge spikes in asphalt and concrete prices thanks to rising oil prices) freeways..

Sorry.. your vision for the future will be one of economic collapse. I'll pay the extra few dollars in taxes and have a train system that can be run on American energy and American steel.
Snowguy716 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 25th, 2009, 11:54 PM   #1024
Onn
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: The United States
Posts: 1,544
Likes (Received): 173

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowguy716 View Post
I don't know what city you're from.. but almost everything you just said doesn't apply here in Minnesota.
How about the rest of the Midwest, like every large Midwest region besides the Twin Cities....

Quote:
And the fact that you are actually promoting putting all of our eggs in one basket shows a high level of ignorance. Have you watched oil prices? As soon as the economy picks up again, we'll be right back at $4/gallon. We'll probably go even higher.
You don't know that, 4 dollars a gallon would still be cheaper than high-speed rail. It's not even about diversifying the system, it's just not needed in the first place. There's not enough people to warrant those kind of things. I live in a large metropolitan area and I know that kind of system would never pay for itself.

Quote:
Sorry.. your vision for the future will be one of economic collapse. I'll pay the extra few dollars in taxes and have a train system that can be run on American energy and American steel.
Rail systems cost money to mantain too! And frankly they would be hurting the econmey because people wouldn't be buying as much. Looks at it from the consumer point of veiw, no one's going to take 10 bags full of stuff on a train.

Last edited by Onn; December 28th, 2009 at 06:32 PM.
Onn no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 26th, 2009, 12:25 AM   #1025
Nexis
Dark Wolf
 
Nexis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Along the Rails of North Jersey..
Posts: 15,684
Likes (Received): 17034

Oh shut up ONN , clearly Skyscrapercity isn't the place for you , Most of US on here are Future Thinkers , not past thinkers. You Obviously don't understand what High Speed Rain can do for this economy.
__________________
My FLICKR Page < 54,100+ Photos of Urban Renewal , Infrastructure , Food and Nature in the Northeastern US
Visit the Reorganized New York City Section
My Photography Website
Visit the New Jersey Section
Nexis no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 26th, 2009, 12:40 AM   #1026
StreetView
25º25'S 49º15'W
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Earth
Posts: 469
Likes (Received): 9

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belxos View Post
Big railway stations also have retail, concessions, airline check-in counters, car rental facilities, hotels...
And if the operator doesn't own tracks & station they pay a fee to use the tracks and a fee to stop at a certain station.
I know big train stations also have retail and concessions (take for example Penn Station in New York or Union Station in DC), but what about small town train stations? They barely have a car rental company, an ATM and a gift shop/bookstore/newsstand. How can you make money off of it? That's why sometimes bigger stations have to subsidize small stations operations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Likewise, airlines pay landing, terminal and hangar fees to airport operators. This is what I'm talking about: separate infrastructure of HSR from vehicles. If within a set or lines some route services are not feasible, just don't provide the service. I'm very afraid of political localism clout over an integrated rail operator (who'd own tracks + stations + trains).
I'm sorry, but it's not always all about the money. Sometimes bigger stations do have to subsidize small stations, so that you can serve a region properly, with decent service. Also, a train station that is not profitable today can well be profitable within five years, for example, as the rail network expands.
__________________
Home is where your heart is
Click here for my pics on Panoramio.
StreetView no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 26th, 2009, 03:21 PM   #1027
Slartibartfas
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vedunia
Posts: 11,594
Likes (Received): 5953

Quote:
Originally Posted by Onn View Post
Rail systems cost money to mantain too! And frankly they would be hurting the econmey because wouldn't be buying as much. Looks at it from the consumer point of veiw, no one's going to take 10 bags full of stuff on a train.
If you have to carry around half a truck, there is a thing they invented for exactly this: Package delivery services. Normal people on a normal trip have no problems carrying their luggage themselves.
__________________
"Brexit means Brexit and we are going to make a Titanic success of it.”
Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary, UK
Slartibartfas no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 26th, 2009, 08:48 PM   #1028
Acerola
BANNED
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 19
Likes (Received): 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis View Post
Oh shut up ONN , clearly Skyscrapercity isn't the place for you , Most of US on here are Future Thinkers , not past thinkers. You Obviously don't understand what High Speed Rain can do for this economy.
Acerola no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 26th, 2009, 09:29 PM   #1029
He Named Thor
Just kidding.
 
He Named Thor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Beautiful Sheboygan, WI
Posts: 673
Likes (Received): 50

Quote:
Originally Posted by StreetView View Post
I know big train stations also have retail and concessions (take for example Penn Station in New York or Union Station in DC), but what about small town train stations? They barely have a car rental company, an ATM and a gift shop/bookstore/newsstand. How can you make money off of it? That's why sometimes bigger stations have to subsidize small stations operations.

I know big airports also have retail and concessions, but what about small airports? There are plenty without all that, and they certainly do get subsidized heavily.
He Named Thor no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 26th, 2009, 09:45 PM   #1030
StreetView
25º25'S 49º15'W
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Earth
Posts: 469
Likes (Received): 9

Certainly. We are talking about the same thing: if you read the second part of what I wrote on post #541, you'll see that I actually said that sometimes bigger stations have to subsidize small ones.

However, like I also said earlier, comparing railroad stations to airports is not all that simple. In a rail system like Amtrak, the operator (Amtrak) usually owns the stations. Now with airports, the owner (usually local government) doesn't operate routes from there to nowhere, as they are not into airline business. Also, sometimes local government has to maintain a losing-money airport in order to offer more strategic services to its local community and the same thing goes for rail stations.

The bottom line is we (you and I) are agreeing here.
__________________
Home is where your heart is
Click here for my pics on Panoramio.
StreetView no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 27th, 2009, 04:14 AM   #1031
Suburbanist
on the road
 
Suburbanist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: the rain capital of Europe
Posts: 27,529
Likes (Received): 21231

@Streetview:

I guess I didn't make my point clear. I would support, under certain restrains (like not diverting money from road or air transportation...), government-backed ownership of tracks and stations. There are a lot of airport which do not collect enough money to pay for their own operation through fees and concessions. Likewise, I see no major problems if the government decides to build stations without immediate perspective of high income generation.

I was refferring to train services themselves. Given the stations and the tracks, there is no point is subsidizing a given train serice if it cannot be itself profitable. Suppose there is a high speed rail from Miami to Atlanta, with some stations between, all of them government-owned. Then, private operators (likewise airlines) should lease/buy and operate trains at their will, paying use fees for stations and tracks to the agency who owns them, and competing for highest bid in case of timesXstretches in which there are more rail operators wanting to run trains than track capacity. By the way, brand new pure HS lines can accomodate up to 15 services per direction per hour (HSL-Zuid, Milano-Roma axis etc.).

In that scenario, what I meant is that if no train operator finds a service attractive, it should be not provided. If no one can/would run profitable trains between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, there is no reason to "foce" a operator to run a service there as a compensation for being "allowed" to run Talahassee / Miami ones, for instance.

I'm assuming we are talking about high-speed rail, meant for medium distance. If we were talking about a metropolitan commuter rail (MARTA or PATH for instance), things would be different. I do not see a reason why specific train services should be offered once tracks ans stations are there for the use of private operators.

Then, likewise airport construction, it would be up to government entities who invest in tracks and stations to make informed guess (at least) about viability of routes and stations proposed, otherwise, they will end up empty with no services running, in the same fashion that building a 4 runways 12.000 ft each airport in Sheridan, WY, won't make it a major international passenger hub.
__________________
YIMBY - Yes, in my backyard!
Suburbanist no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 27th, 2009, 09:28 AM   #1032
hans280
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Paris
Posts: 756
Likes (Received): 172

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I guess I didn't make my point clear. I would support, under certain restrains (like not diverting money from road or air transportation...), government-backed ownership of tracks and stations. There are a lot of airport which do not collect enough money to pay for their own operation through fees and concessions. Likewise, I see no major problems if the government decides to build stations without immediate perspective of high income generation.

I was refferring to train services themselves.
It's funny, you're pretty much aligned with the prevailing attitudes here in France. When a new HS line is prepared there's (nearly) always a demand that the train SERVICES shall be expectecd to generate enough revenue to pay for the CONSTRUCTION of the tracks. Often the payback period is not that long either. Another story entirely is the acquisition of land and rights of way. This the government subsidies with big hands in the hope of, some day, getting the money back. The logic is not unlike yours ("...we also pay public money for roads and sea ports..."), plus the French have a high opinion of the staying value of land. If they ever regret having built a railway line (and assuming that the construction costs have been recouperated) they can always remove the tracks and sell the land at a profit. All good and neat, but...


...what is less good and neat is, instead of paying the "land subsidies" up front as part of the fiscal budgets they rolled it into the track operating company RFF which is now buckling under an unmanagable debt burden.
hans280 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 28th, 2009, 06:09 AM   #1033
Nexis
Dark Wolf
 
Nexis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Along the Rails of North Jersey..
Posts: 15,684
Likes (Received): 17034

Heres some recent Videos of the Acela form my Favorite NEC Railfanners

Kingston,RI






Heres a video form a barrowed NJT Train carrying ppl down to DC form the Obama inauguration.



Some things Amtrak Experimented with back in the 90s for HSR possibilities , and may now be purchased for future HSL , Because Amtrak is replacing 85% of there Fleet , with newer lighter Trains in Diesel & Electric forms.



~Corey
__________________
My FLICKR Page < 54,100+ Photos of Urban Renewal , Infrastructure , Food and Nature in the Northeastern US
Visit the Reorganized New York City Section
My Photography Website
Visit the New Jersey Section
Nexis no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 28th, 2009, 11:18 PM   #1034
StreetView
25º25'S 49º15'W
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Earth
Posts: 469
Likes (Received): 9

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
@Streetview:

I was refferring to train services themselves. Given the stations and the tracks, there is no point is subsidizing a given train serice if it cannot be itself profitable. Suppose there is a high speed rail from Miami to Atlanta, with some stations between, all of them government-owned. Then, private operators (likewise airlines) should lease/buy and operate trains at their will, paying use fees for stations and tracks to the agency who owns them, and competing for highest bid in case of timesXstretches in which there are more rail operators wanting to run trains than track capacity. By the way, brand new pure HS lines can accomodate up to 15 services per direction per hour (HSL-Zuid, Milano-Roma axis etc.).

In that scenario, what I meant is that if no train operator finds a service attractive, it should be not provided. If no one can/would run profitable trains between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, there is no reason to "foce" a operator to run a service there as a compensation for being "allowed" to run Talahassee / Miami ones, for instance.
There are a few reasons why certain services should be kept even though they don't appear to be profitable. First of all, railroad require great capital investments in order to be fully functional. Railroad companies have to put their money in locomotives, cars, stations, maintenance depots and a lot of other things. All these things are assets and the company has to pay for them. However, it is hard to determine how much money the railroad operator should "charge" its customers in order to have return on all those assets, which do not necessarily generate revenue, but there would be no revenue whatsoever without them.

Depending on how much the rail operator decides to "charge" in order to cover the fixed costs of its operation, an specific train service can be profitable or not, but still be generating profits to the whole system. Let's say (just a fictional example) that it costs Amtrak $20 per hauled mile to cover its capital costs and $50 to cover specific costs of each train trip.

Now, let's suppose that they only have two train services. One service runs 6 times per day and travels 200 miles per trip. If we do the math, we'll learn that it runs 1200 miles per day and so it costs $84,000.00 per day of operation [(50+20)x1200].

Service 2 runs 4 times a day and travels 100 miles per trip, totaling 400 miles per day, which costs $28,000.00 per day of operation [(50+20x400)].

In this scenario, service 1 has strong competition from Greyhound Lines as well as airlines, so they can't charge too much for each fare. Let's say that each passenger on service 1 pays a $69 fare. Service 2 doesn't have too much competition, so passengers riding this line have to pay a $45 fare.

Let's also that service 1 carries 1200 passengers per day (200 per trip) and service 2 carries 720 passengers per day (180 per trip). If we do the math again, we'll see that service 1 generates $82,800.00 in revenue per day and service 2 generates a $32.400,00 daily revenue.

Now, remember that daily costs of operation for service 1 are $84,000? So apparently service 1 is losing $1,200 per day because its daily revenue is only $82,800. Looking at service 2, we'll see that it's making $4,400 per day, so the whole system is making $3,200 per day.

Suburbanist, I ask you: do you think it makes sense to discontinue service 1, provided that the financial spreadsheets show that this line is a loss-maker? I will respond to it as soon as you give me an answer, but no later that tomorrow
__________________
Home is where your heart is
Click here for my pics on Panoramio.
StreetView no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 30th, 2009, 12:16 AM   #1035
StreetView
25º25'S 49º15'W
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Earth
Posts: 469
Likes (Received): 9


Since nobody happened to answer my question as to whether service 1 should be discontinued or not, I will post a few reasons why it should be maintained even though it doesn't appear to be making money.

Suburbanist, I said that, in order to cover capital costs, Amtrak (on that fictional example) should "charge" from each service $20 per hauled mile. I also said that its trains run a total of 1600 miles per day (1200 from service 1 and 400 from service 2), so capital costs are about $32,000.00 per day. If we chose to discontinue service 1, it would reduce the profitability of service 2 by $24,000.00 per day, because then service 2 would have to pay for all capital costs, because even with only one service the company has to have maintenance depots, reservation systems, they have to pay for their stations and rolling stock and all of that.

However, if we were reasonable to say because service 2 accounts for only 40% of the daily departures, so only 40% of the capital costs would remain (it's just an supposition -- in the real world more than 40% would remain), then total capital costs would be $12,800.00 per day, reducing profitability of service 2 by $4,800.00 per day, making it lose $400 per day.


You can see all the (fictional) numbers organized on two tables, as follows.

----------- Distance-- Freq-- Dist/Day--- Cap Cost------ Spec Cost------ Total Cost
Service 1--- 200------ 6----- 1200------ $ (24.000,00)--- $ (60.000,00)--- $ (84.000,00)
Service 2--- 100------ 4----- 400------- $ (8.000,00)---- $ (20.000,00)--- $ (28.000,00)
Freq: Frequency / Dist/Day: Distance per day / Cap Cost: Capital Costs / Spec Cost: Specific Costs


-------Pass/Trip-- Trips-- Tot Pass---Fare------ Revenue------ Costs---------- Profit
Serv 1-- 200------ 6------ 1200------ $69,00--- $82.800,00-- $(84.000,00)-- $(1.200,00)
Serv 2-- 180------ 4------ 720------- $45,00--- $32.400,00-- $ (28.000,00)-- $4.400,00
Pass/Trip: Passengers per trip / Tot Pass: Total Passengers (day)

Moreover, there are other reasons for keeping a loss-making service. These reasons could be:

Connecting traffic: sometimes a few loss-making services provide connecting traffic that helps the most important services remain profitable (this applies more to airlines than rail service);
Schedules & Timetables: there are situations where a train is only profitable because an unprofitable train operates. For instance, the first departure of the day runs at a 95% load factor and 45% of this traffic returns on the last departure of the day. However, the last departure of the day operates only with a 50% load factor, which is not enough to break even. By discontinuing the last departure of the day, the first train of the day could lose as much as 45% of its passengers, thus becoming a loss-maker as well.

These are just a couple reasons why sometimes unprofitable services should be kept -- because they benefit the system. It is not rare for a company to look at each service individually and overlook the fact that even though some services don't appear to be profitable, they actually make the rest of the system more profitable.
__________________
Home is where your heart is
Click here for my pics on Panoramio.
StreetView no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 30th, 2009, 11:48 AM   #1036
makita09
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,536
Likes (Received): 92

Quote:
Originally Posted by StreetView View Post
Connecting traffic: sometimes a few loss-making services provide connecting traffic that helps the most important services remain profitable (this applies more to airlines than rail service);
This was something the railways in Britain discovered after the Beeching cuts. A lot of the 'mainline' passengers dried up after the under-used unprofitable branch lines were given the chop. Further undermining profitability of the whole.

Unfortunately cold hard statistics are normally focused on a specific as per your example, and it is hard to effectively explain the reality of passenger behaviour unless the model becomes necessarily complex. In part because it is quite easy to re-model a sepecific set of statistics to confirm most preconceptions. This is also what happened in the UK in the mid 20th century.
makita09 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 30th, 2009, 07:54 PM   #1037
Suburbanist
on the road
 
Suburbanist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: the rain capital of Europe
Posts: 27,529
Likes (Received): 21231

That is fair easy: set up a consistent origin-and-destination market research. There is no rocket science involved in identifying where people come from and go to. Sample, ask, analyze - and that is it.

Of course I do not ignore the importance of feeder services, akin of commuter short haul flights that feed main hub-to-hub traffic of so many airlines. Rail companies should and would analyze the overall income brought from passengers departing and arriving from a giving station, and impacts on overall demand for their services, likewise supermarkets usually sell generic groceries and basic food at a loss to they can atract costumers to buy profitable appliances for instance, yet they will not let a store open if its overall operation is not profitable.

That why we must have private rail operators for non-daily commuting traffic services, and let them compete against each other over the same tracks which would be owned by a public entity. I fear that public train operators would be pressured to provide "comprehensive" service over its economic feasibility. Sure, we need a backbone, go-everywhere transport network (government build roads even if its usage is very load because it is unconceivable to have, say, a village or a small city unconnected just because traffic doesn't justify laying tarmac over a dirt road), but this role is fulfilled by road transportation, not rail.

I see rail and air transportation as high capacity and supplementary networks that do not have to reach every corner of every state. In case of air transport, there is a program which provides some subsidize for some "strategic" air routes whose operation would be otherwise unnatractive or loss-generating for airlines. I do not see a compelling reason out of vanity or nostalgy for which passenger rail services (I'm not reffering to track laying) should be entitled to.

Amtrak should have died completely in early 80's, so we would be talking now about only HSR, state-of-the art fast rail services, not "enchanced" serices running at 100 mph in century-old railways as the last marvel of passenger transportation So bad that Reagan didn't shut down Amtrak altogether.
__________________
YIMBY - Yes, in my backyard!
Suburbanist no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 30th, 2009, 11:22 PM   #1038
mopc
Registered User
 
mopc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Santos Sao Paulo
Posts: 17,226
Likes (Received): 11945

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
While I am sceptical of ethanol or other biofuels as well, where does your neat electricity come from? From the power plug?

Electric cars are great for what they are, they are however not an energy source. The big, actually the gigantic problem ahead of us is how the hell we are going to produce the energy needed in the future. Should car traffic switch to electricity only by half, this would create a huge new additional electricity demand. Where to take it from? Build another few dozen nuclear power plants? countless wind turbines, hundreds of solar thermal power plants ...?
YEAH!



Actually the USA should build another 200 nuclear power plants, Herr Professor.
mopc no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 31st, 2009, 01:34 AM   #1039
StreetView
25º25'S 49º15'W
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Earth
Posts: 469
Likes (Received): 9

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
That is fair easy: set up a consistent origin-and-destination market research. There is no rocket science involved in identifying where people come from and go to. Sample, ask, analyze - and that is it.
Definitely. There's no better way of planning future products and service than asking your customers what they think. However, we cannot forget that in certain cases the demand is there, not too small to be left behind but not too big to justify high frequency service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
That why we must have private rail operators for non-daily commuting traffic services, and let them compete against each other over the same tracks which would be owned by a public entity. I fear that public train operators would be pressured to provide "comprehensive" service over its economic feasibility. Sure, we need a backbone, go-everywhere transport network (government build roads even if its usage is very load because it is unconceivable to have, say, a village or a small city unconnected just because traffic doesn't justify laying tarmac over a dirt road), but this role is fulfilled by road transportation, not rail.
In theory that would be perfect, but it reality we know that nothing is perfect. I'm sure it would be nice to choose from a non-stop service from New York Penn Station to Washington DC provided by another rail company, instead of the traditional 8-stop Amtrak service between those two cities. Of course people like to have choices. But in order to trains bypass each other, there has to be an extra track. United States law allows states' governments to charge property taxes on railroad tracks, so it's not just the expense of building and maintaining those tracks.

Airlines are different, because once the airplanes are in the air, they don't have to run on any structure. Air is free and it doesn't have to be built or repaired and maintained. Moreover, nobody owns the air, so no one has to pay property taxes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I see rail and air transportation as high capacity and supplementary networks that do not have to reach every corner of every state. In case of air transport, there is a program which provides some subsidize for some "strategic" air routes whose operation would be otherwise unnatractive or loss-generating for airlines. I do not see a compelling reason out of vanity or nostalgy for which passenger rail services (I'm not reffering to track laying) should be entitled to.
Yes. Personally I think that a complete transportation network should include short bus services (no longer than 100 miles), which would take passengers from small towns that cannot support train stations to the nearest town/city served by rail. Long-distance trains should move people between smaller towns and bigger cities and airports, for those who would be traveling really long distances (like 500+ miles). Main airports should have a ground transportation center attached to their terminals. This way, long-distance trains and local rail services could feed airline flights, allowing even code-share agreements between rail operators and airlines. It already happens in France, if I'm not mistaken, where American Airlines code-shares with SNCF. Continental code-shares with a few Amtrak services at Newark Liberty Int'l Airport. This could be a win-win situation, providing alternative routes to people who live in small towns poorly served by airlines and don't want to drive alone when traveling long distances. It could expand both the rail passengers market and the scheduled airlines market.

Amtrak already provides bus services connecting specific towns to train stations, called Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches. The problem I see is that this service has taken over many train services, leaving big cities (like Las Vegas, NV) with no rail service at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Amtrak should have died completely in early 80's, so we would be talking now about only HSR, state-of-the art fast rail services, not "enchanced" serices running at 100 mph in century-old railways as the last marvel of passenger transportation So bad that Reagan didn't shut down Amtrak altogether.
I don't really think so. Unfortunately truth is that if Amtrak had completely died, long-distance train services in the United States would be almost non-existent nowadays. Should the government have left passenger rail service to privately owned companies, the only existing service today would be the Northeast Corridor. Almost nobody supports passenger rail service in the US (nobody meaning the people, government/politicians and private companies), therefore I believe that train speeds and technology wouldn't be any better than what Amtrak offers today. With the record-high gas prices in 2008, Amtrak gained a lot of attention as an alternative for travelers not willing to pay high gas prices or higher airline fares and baggage fees. Probably the economy would have hurt much more if Amtrak wasn't there.
__________________
Home is where your heart is
Click here for my pics on Panoramio.
StreetView no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old December 31st, 2009, 04:01 AM   #1040
Suburbanist
on the road
 
Suburbanist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: the rain capital of Europe
Posts: 27,529
Likes (Received): 21231

Quote:
complete transportation network should include short bus services (no longer than 100 miles), which would take passengers from small towns that cannot support train stations to the nearest town/city served by rail.
No need for that. With low driving and car ownership costs, everyone could drive 100 miles to the nearest station or renting a car in a station and driving 100 miles to a small town. It would be too costly to provide every single incorporated town a public transit connection.

How much intercity market share does Amtrak have? I doubt it is over 1,5%, but right now DOT site is under maitenance, so maybe I'll check later and edit this post.

As for long routes, I've read conflicting reports, but all from news outltes, that routes like the Sunset Limited operate at a loss equivalent at more than $ 200 per passsenger travelling the whole route from N. Orleans to California... Indeed, I'd say every multi-day transcontinental journeys are unprofitable. Does anyone have more detailed information in which Amtral services are profitable, and which are not?

Europe is cutting hard on overnight train services due to competition with both faster high-speed day trains and low-cost airlines. Amtrak should to, at least, the same and drop those routes leaving to Chicago all the way to the West Cost, the Sunset Limited, Florida - Virginia trains, Crescent express etc. Only vacationers are served with 72h train journeys departing 3 times a week. Concentrate operations in commuting and medium distance clusters in California, around Chicago, between Texas and Oklahoma, in the NEC, and that is it - no need to run biweekly trains just to have a nice route map.
__________________
YIMBY - Yes, in my backyard!
Suburbanist no está en línea   Reply With Quote


Reply

Tags
amtrak, desertxpress, fly california, high speed rail, northeast corridor, texas triangle, united states

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Related topics on SkyscraperCity


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 08:43 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Feedback Buttons provided by Advanced Post Thanks / Like (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

SkyscraperCity ☆ In Urbanity We trust ☆ about us | privacy policy | DMCA policy

tech management by Sysprosium