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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
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Old January 16th, 2010, 12:03 AM   #1081
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Guys, air travel doesn't know borders. No one (except for rail fans) would travel LAX-ORD or MIA-BOS in a multiday journey. Full HSR is a very intersting concept, but it is not suitable for >1500 km journeys as it is not suitable for regional commuting (<50 km, say).

Family of 5 on vacations = pick the "overnight" express sleeper (running at 200/225km/h 125/140mph ?) Depart from BostonHSR station at 21h(9pm) and arrive at Miami HSR at 8h (8am)

Business Executive (option A) = depart from Boston Airport as early as 6am and catch a plain that LAUNCHES at 8am to Miami ... arrive at 12h ... do your business and calmly return on the nightly train ..

Business Executive (option B) = depart from BostonHSR at 6h00 in the morning DIRECT HST to Washington (use the time to sleep?) ... arrive in Washington at 8h00 (roundabound HSR bypasses in NYC and Phillie?) have your instant comute checkin on board and hop into the folowing Washington-Atlanta HST arriving at 10h30 (breakfast and some 2 hours of work on the laptop) ... jump into the nearest Miami bound HSand arrive at 13h just in time for the meeting ... time can be used for on-the-run meetings with coworkers/clients from other areas ... when all work is done just catch the evening flight back home.

When the options DO EXIST things start to revolve around a much different star ...

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Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
I had that idea myself already but it seems its not realistic, which is a pity. The reason is that high speed tracks need a lot of regular maintenance which is carried out during the nights, when there is no service. That's what I was told at least.
An early departure (let's say 5h45) can cover a lot of ground before breakfast ... connecting DOT's make the longer routes feasible ... but they are not the MAIN purpose of the long routes creation.

Boston-NYC-Phillie-Washington = 650km ... de-saturate the NEC
Washington-Richmond-Raleigh-Charlote-Atlanta = 850km ... a good excuse to de-saturate the airspace in the east ???
Atlanta-Jacksonville = 450km ... a good "pure" HSR ???
Florida "mirrored" F HSNetwork = 500km north-south ... trains each 10 minutes along it's tracks ???

think about DUPLEX high speed trains 400m long (16 double deck coaches carrying some 6000 pax each in those long-hauls ... now think that If you leave NYC at 6am by 11am you would be in the sunny beaches of Florida (1400km between NYC and Jacksonville).

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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Exaclty Slartibartfas. I'll talk a little about the situation in Europe.

Demand for night trains is falling fast, and with the annualy timetable adjustment (done in mid-December yearly) for 2010, a lot of night services have been axed. For instance, in Italy they cut more night trains past December, they are down to 34% of services offerred 10 years ago.

Night trains interfere excessively with freight operation that dominate most Western Europe railways. For a freight train, it is not big deal to be held for 2 or 3 hours, or to operate under "strange" schedules if that is what optimizes traffic. Same cannot be said for passenger traffic. Indeed, passenger traffic is very disruptive to freight traffic as peak-holiday car traffic (Christmas, summer weekends etc.) severely disrupts truck traffic in Western Europe.

Assuming night trains are not operating regular seat cars, they need to be very long and thus operate with extended platforms.

There is, also, a cultural change: shared compartments are not longer vastly tolerated as something civilized. Many people that wouldn't mind be stranded on an airplane seat for 3 or 4 hours would not accept the idea of sleeping in a bunk bed, in the dark, in a 500m-long trains in a compartment filled with strangers. It is a pattern with consequence in other areas, like demise of hotels with shared bathrooms, end of organized tours that offered "shared accomodotation" to people travelling alone, children having their own bedroom from early age etc. Private night compartmens can be luxurious, but they are expensive.

Finally, as Slartibafpas said, high speed rail is desgined to operate without restrictions during peak/day hours, like a subway, but then they need to be partially or totally closed during the night to allow space for cleaning maitenance etc. It is not feasible to operate a round-the-clock high-speed line with the extremely high reliability we have today.
Freigh in europe doesn't run in "dedicated" HS trackage... in the east (in USA) there is so much population scatered around everywhere to serve that a nightly (read early morning) operation would be like having rush hour from 5am to 10pm ...

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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I don't think so. First, people usually don't driver overnight expecting to enjoy the whole following day. I've done some overnights driving trips (Irún-Genova, Amsterdam-Firenze, Los Angeles-Salt Lake City for instance), and they worn you out once you arrive. Even more important is the fact that group car travel (4 people in the same car) is fairly cheap even with insidious gas taxes and overpriced tolls in Europe. Families take the car to their vacations because it allows them to make short trips once they arrive in their destinations, giving them unmatched flexibilty once you arrive.

When it comes to price, it is unfeasible that an overnight train will ever match low-cost airfares. If I were an airline CEO, I'd put my prices as low as possible in any new overnight train route to fight it to the death, if I ever felt that it were to be a threaten to my business. Same for speed: no comercially competitive 500 mph trains are expected to be in service for the foreseeable future.
Most low cost airline CEO's look into HSRoperations as if looking at a sacrificial pig ... others look at it as a pot of gold.

A) Fly Boston-Orlando ... leave home at 5am in a CAB or your own car ... arrive at 15h in Disney with the kids ... un-automobilized

B) leave home in your car ... pack it into a Auto-train at 8pm and boar the night express (probably even with a McDonalds restaurant on board) ... arrive at Orlando at 7h in the morning ... get up ... pick up your own car ... happy hollidays.

The potential for seasonal travelling (be it leasure or business) is enormous in the USA ...

Quote:
So the only advantage of a (non subisidized) night train would be delivering passengers willing to pay premium fares for single/double compartments so they can travel overnight. Moreover, many night routes are purposedly "slowed down" in order to increase total travel time. This is the only reason to explain why some night trains take as long as 40 years ago to travel in conventional rail where extensive modernization was done in past decades, yet who wants to arrive at 3 AM in Berlin?

Even in Europe, after cars became comfortable and more reliable in the mid-60's, night train travel never accounted for a significant part of long distance travel. It was, is and will always be a niche that will be never profitable in many routes.

In Italy, when they cut down the "espresso" night services up to 80%, there was an outcry far beyond reasonable. It was a kind of "entitlement" those 1500km+ routes linking different regions, and journalists complained that it would be "unfair" to target cheap services that catered for the poor Italians and students who couldn't otherwise afford holiday trips to their hometowns to have luch with mama. These trains had a lot of seat compartments that allowed one to travel from Milano to Reggio Calabria, for instrance, for less then 40 euros (1880km...) in 15 to 17 hours! An absurd, Third-World service indeed.
Night trains IN THE OLD "standards" ara thing of the past ... just like slam door / 2 axle COMUTER coaches is nowadays ... night trains travelling at 200km/h ARE NOT a thing of the past ... a big diference.

Quote:
Most of those trains were cut and nobody (save for rail fans or eldery retirees "too old to start flying" Easyjet at 60 y.o.) misses it. I don't like the idea of government stepping in to finance backpacker's transportation too (so they can maximize the # of cities they visit during their winter break by taking as many night trains as possible...).
this is b0ll 5hit ... 60yo are the main age target of Easyjet/Ryr ... in fact low cost IS favorite amongst retirees/youngsters.



Quote:
Freeing up the tracks for freight-only operations during the night would be an AMAZING thing to do. Suppose it were possible to run only frieght trains, innovative route planning and service scheduling schemes could be placed to increase efficiency and speed of European cargo rail service, which is lagging behind US in many aspects.

In case of US, the share of overnight train trips is so, so small that increasing it 10-fold would be still negligible.
Night trains usually are run in 2 (two) different ways in europe ... you either get a city-to-city night train or you get a rolling hotel serving a lot of intermediate cities ... those of the former usually just dump you in a freight sidding somewhere between the night to kill some time ... the others just hop as fast as they can to run and run hundreds of miles ...
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Old January 16th, 2010, 12:14 AM   #1082
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Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
I am skeptical though if this was done due to a lack of customers. The ÖBB and the Italian railways for example are involved in some turf war currently. That seems to be the reason why the train between Vienna and Venice was axed for example, rather than low demand.

I think that night trains are a great way to travel, superior to any other mode for distances up to a bit above 1000 km where you don't have high speed connections.



Well, thats probably the reason why they are everything else than popular among train operators. So you can add this to above argument.

Why? But anyway, I can't see a problem here. The infrastructure obviously exists, otherwise, they could not have been run in the past and I seriously doubt that the railway stations experience capacity problems during the night.



No? During my last trip I shared my cabin with a journalist and his wife. Very distinguished people and great conversation partners. If you are four people on a trip (in many cases not an unrealistic number) you can without paying a lot more have a cabin all for yourself btw. A couple can have a 2 person cabin as well, even though it costs somewhat more.

I agree with the rest of your post though.
european railway executives ate NOWADAYsuffering from the same LOBOTOMIZING ideas that North American railway execurtives sufered some 50 years ago ... plain and simple.


Night travell is falling ???where ??? night travell was AXED purportedly to FEED the HSR trains with a vial/ blood/oxigen pumping machine.

example:

Lisboa-Irun-Paris "Sud Express" was AXEd in france ... in the iberian side is still a night train ... in the french side is a "mornig"/"evening" TGV ... nobody rides it anymore since you cant arrive at 8am either in Lisboa or Paris ... it's a 10am t 12am arrival at most ... a "proper" (read: direct) night train would be able to arrive at the end at 8am ... rolling stock to allow this does exist (talgo RD) but they just negate it's usefullness (SNCF) ...

1600km ... 1/2 of that is trackage for 160/200 km/h ... even some sections allow 220/300km/h.

Going by plane usually means getting up at 4/5am ... getting to the airport and catching an early flight ... wich arrives at the same LATE hours (10am?)
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Old January 16th, 2010, 12:32 AM   #1083
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
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.
Here (soutwestern europe):


Comuter/regional traffic has "feeder" BUS routes everywhere ...

each brake of service (as in changing transportation) throws 10x more people into the auto-mobilized crowd


Buy an intercity 2 way (return?) ticket and you can rent a car in the destination for as low as 9€ per day, and your parking in the start/end station is free for up to 3 days.

they would probably woudn't be able to find the dot's to make the X and select this options at the stations ... there goes the idea that complementary services are all that wonderfull.



As I make my countings it goes like this (300km trip):

1 person in the car and it pays 2 times as much as if it wen't by train/bus , the same as on an intercity train ot 1/4th of a plane trip

2 persons in the car and it's the same as if BOTH had gone by bus/train , or one gone by intecity ... or 1/2 a plane ticket

3 persons and they get money enought to pay for lunch/dinner

4 people and you have motorway tolls , lunch/dinner and lodging paid with the surplus savings ... and you can even throw some of the car loan payments i you do that counting in a monthly basis.

So the focus should be entirely placed on ISOLATED travellers (as in one person only) ... all else is residual traffic in the greater scale.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 06:17 AM   #1084
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Families or groups larger than 3 will always have an advantage to travel in their cars. Especially when you have little kids, it is good to have private transportation at hand.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 09:08 AM   #1085
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Guys, air travel doesn't know borders. No one (except for rail fans) would travel LAX-ORD or MIA-BOS in a multiday journey. Full HSR is a very intersting concept, but it is not suitable for >1500 km journeys as it is not suitable for regional commuting (<50 km, say).
Really? That's odd, my parents have chosen to take Amtrak out to Montana twice, and Washington DC once. Both are two day trips. They certainly don't qualify as rail fans. That is, unless you label a rail fan as someone who likes the view like you get in a car without having to drive for hours on end, look for hotels/gas/food, hope the car doesn't break down, find parking, possibly get into a car accident, etc.

But otherwise no, nobody does that. Why would they, when you can pay more to be charged fees for having luggage, interrogated by security, wait for your delayed plane, shoved into a tiny seat with no leg room next to a fat guy drunk off of the free booze, be re-interrogated, and have your luggage sent to a distant country/broken by security. It's a no-brainer!

And anyway, This:

is greater than first class on almost any airline. Your own private cabin (with the nicer ones you even get a private bathroom and shower) with a real bed and no snoring passengers/screaming babies next to you.


As for funding, how about we just siphon off some of the insane excess that goes to funding tiny airports that cater only to hobbyist fliers.
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/fligh...airports_N.htm

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Old January 16th, 2010, 09:32 AM   #1086
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As I wrote in other topic, I hope airport-like security comes fast to medium and long-distance train transport before a moron tries to hop on with a bomb. X-ray for everyone, sealed (sterile) platforms and lugage inspection would be a good beggining.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 12:51 PM   #1087
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As I wrote in other topic, I hope airport-like security comes fast to medium and long-distance train transport before a moron tries to hop on with a bomb. X-ray for everyone, sealed (sterile) platforms and lugage inspection would be a good beggining.
But why?

Why make railtravel more expensive and less convenient without making any significant contribution to safety.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 05:57 PM   #1088
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But why?

Why make railtravel more expensive and less convenient without making any significant contribution to safety.
Hes being Anti-Transit , you can read it in his Signature.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 06:17 PM   #1089
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I'm not being anti-transit, I'm being in defense of car transportation, owners and drivers who get ripped off to finance PT systems they will never use in normal conditions. Besides tobbaco and acohol, nothing gets as taxed as car mobilty in Western Europe (from purchase and licsense fees to gas taxes). Gas should pay VAT and taxes enough (together with vehicle excise taxes, registration fees etc.) to cover road expansion and maitenance and health care for injured people in car crashes, nothing more.

As an European citizen, I feel ripped off each time I go to the gas station and know I'm paying 4 times the volume-price my American friends are paying, yet we drive, in average, 38% of the American driver average year mileage. No matter how "cool" or transit systems might be, I just think it is not fair. Cities should be adapted for car in first place, and new developments always planned taking the car into consideration. But that is another discussion.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 08:47 PM   #1090
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I'm not being anti-transit, I'm being in defense of car transportation, owners and drivers who get ripped off to finance PT systems they will never use in normal conditions. Besides tobbaco and acohol, nothing gets as taxed as car mobilty in Western Europe (from purchase and licsense fees to gas taxes). Gas should pay VAT and taxes enough (together with vehicle excise taxes, registration fees etc.) to cover road expansion and maitenance and health care for injured people in car crashes, nothing more.

As an European citizen, I feel ripped off each time I go to the gas station and know I'm paying 4 times the volume-price my American friends are paying, yet we drive, in average, 38% of the American driver average year mileage. No matter how "cool" or transit systems might be, I just think it is not fair. Cities should be adapted for car in first place, and new developments always planned taking the car into consideration. But that is another discussion.
Cars are great and all ,but i guess you don't have Northeastern views. The Car is losing here to Transit / PED Malls. Trains and High Speed Trains will become very popular here soon, when they upgrade the lines to handle higher speeds and more volume. Transit is used by 2.4 million New Jerseyites daily, and by 70% of New Yorkers. Many cites in the NE have tried your car approach and now are getting rid of it. over the next 10 years you'll notice Transit becoming more widely used. And if your going to say only poor ppl use transit , your dead wrong , becuz i know rich ppl who use it. High Speed Rail will also become a key part of the system here in the NE. Transit & Car have been will be balanced. also the US doesn't have or probably won't be as taxed as EU. The Northeast Corridor is being upgraded in phases to handle 180mph trains in the future. Currently they are replacing all the Tracks slowy.
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Old January 16th, 2010, 09:56 PM   #1091
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A lot of prophecy, but outise NYC Metro, transit usage remains low by European standards and I truly hope that, if anything else, Tea Party and other conservative pressure stop those transit projects for the sake of financial healthy of United States! If we could only import some Tea Parties here to Europe...
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Old January 16th, 2010, 10:01 PM   #1092
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Those groups don't really have much power plus most of those conservatives group don't know shit. Besides, people in those cities with mass transit projects like Denver and LA want more public transit.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 12:48 AM   #1093
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Exactly , 80% of Americans want Rail back , espically poor Americans. Suburbanist you don't live here , so don't tell us Americans how we should build our future , we will do it as we please. We don't care about how Europeans think our networks are small. NYC Metro Rail is probably at or will be at Euro Standards within 2 to 7 years since alot is UC or beginning.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 01:03 AM   #1094
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A lot of prophecy, but outise NYC Metro, transit usage remains low by European standards and I truly hope that, if anything else, Tea Party and other conservative pressure stop those transit projects for the sake of financial healthy of United States! If we could only import some Tea Parties here to Europe...
We don't have the Fox news network to propogate falsehoods and emotive scaremongering to the masses in such an efficient manner. Mainly because European news networks aren't allowed to just blatantly make stuff up. Therefore tea parties are not likely to occur in quite the same way. TF.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 07:35 AM   #1095
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I'd like to share the following quotation with you. It's from an op-ed Roger Cohen did for IHT a few days ago:

"China is the world’s manufacturer. It is America’s creditor. It is using global technology and resources to fast-forward some 20 percent of humanity to modernity. The churning landscape here, of cranes and half-finished high-rises and new highways, speaks of a gargantuan national project inconceivable without the treasure globalization has furnished....

I took the new high-speed train from Chongqing to Chengdu across the rolling hills of Sichuan with their patchwork of vegetable plots. The distance is about the same as New York to Boston but this train service (one of hundreds projected) has cut travel time below two hours — dream on, East Coast commuters! Everywhere the countryside is being gouged open as workers heave some new project into being. Yes, China is leaping ahead!"

Sorry but... you'd have to be blind to deny the fact that a "quantum leap" in the area of railway travel is in the making. The fruits will be harvested mainly by those bold enough to sink large investment into new railway infrastructure of a truly HS nature.

I revert to an earlier point of mine: during almost every major wave of consumer-directed innovation that I can remember (intra-industry innovation is a bit different) the Europeans have sat on their hands for quite a while. Cars in the 1920s? "Yeah, well. In America anything's possible..." Remote control televisions and mobile phones in the 1980s? "They are crazy, those Japanese..." Internet and GPS in the 1990s? "It's probably some underhand plot by Pentagon..." In Europe there was always an excuse for doing nothing, and if all other failed then the new technology was, somehow, "unadapted to European ways of doing things".

Well, healthy scepticism is sound. Boneheaded conservatism is not. Unfortunately my fellow Europeans were all too often in the latter camp. But listen to the arguments by conservative America now: "This is a Euro-Japanese solution that will not work here; it's alien to American values and the freedom bestowed by our car-loving tradition; it's creeping socialism..." Americans seem on the best way to vye for the position that was traditionally ours.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 07:46 AM   #1096
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Yet cells phones are extremely popular in Europe now, more so than the US. Maybe the European bonehead conservatism is dying out?
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Old January 17th, 2010, 08:42 AM   #1097
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Well, you brought another issue to the light: though I particularly don't know about scientific controlled polls to determine the share of American public eager for more rail transport, people in developed countries in N. America, Europe and Australia will suport almost any infrastructure project they might use someday in the future provided that:

- it is not going to be built in their backyard (1)
- it will not be paid by tax hikes in they will have to bear (2)

So, build it away from my house, and don't ask me for money, and it is okay. The difference, AFAIK, is that the threshold of #2 in US and, to a certain extent, Canada and Australia, if far lower than in Europe, particularly because many local- or state-funded infrastructure projects needs to be financed through property and sales tax increases that immediately falls upon taxpayers.

I didn't have the intetion to "dictate foreign development", though it would be nice if you checked whether I have multiple nationalities, therefore multiple voting rights etc. I just want to point that brakes and reality checks on rail infrastructure have more chances in US than in Europe.

Still, as a repeated visitor to US (my status at the moment), I have nothing to complain: parking fees in the most expensive area of US (Manhattan) are roughly the same what I'm extorted to pay in much smaller Dowtown Amsterdam, but every complain about that disappears when I fill up my rental car's gas tank.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 05:30 PM   #1098
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Ok.....where to start......

1. Why are you telling the US how we should build our Rail network

2. Your Not an American

3.We are building it carefully to suit peoples needs

4.The Tea Party is weak and as soon as President Obama does more right things it with dissolve

5. Why do you even drive into Manhattan?

6.most new Transit projects in the Northeast are funded by Tolls and fares , except a few large projects

7. People in most of Urban Areas want and are getting rail , intercity rail is on the drawing broads, and some lines will start later this year or next year.

8. High Speed Rail in Northeast other then the NEC has been put on hold , for smaller but more potential lines.

9. NIMBY are losing , since the government has finally had enough , and just takes peoples land , which is legal.

10. Just stop , criticizing or guessing how we operate over here its getting annoying , and i speak for a few members.


Heres the Northeast Corridor in a few states, the long term goal of the NEC is to increase speeds south of New York to 190mph, and North of New York to 170mph and add more Tracks.

!30-40mph zone New Jersey

Edison & New Brunswick



Princeton JCT



Hamilton



~Corey
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Old January 18th, 2010, 07:04 AM   #1099
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Quote:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...6021303.column

High-speed rail seen as economic engine in Illinois

Downstate Normal, Chicago's West Side among communities looking to ride the rails to modernization

Jon Hilkevitch

January 18, 2010

The residents of Normal, Ill., have one word to describe their community's train station:

"Amshack."

Don't get them wrong. Amtrak's intercity passenger trains provide essential transportation in central Illinois for the twin cities of Bloomington, which includes Illinois Wesleyan University, and Normal, home to Illinois State University.

Airline service to the area from Chicago and other big cities has declined in recent years, contributing in part to the train station in downtown Normal ranking as the fourth-busiest Amtrak terminal for passenger boarding in the Midwest, behind Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis.

But the station is in bad shape and it's inadequate to serve future needs, officials said.

Normal Mayor Chris Koos traveled the approximately 135 miles to Chicago on Friday to participate in a conference that Gov. Pat Quinn called to improve passenger and freight rail operations in Illinois, and to be prepared to get off on a fast start when $8 billion in federal stimulus grants for high-speed rail are awarded to the states sometime before spring.

The meeting offered Koos the opportunity to spread the word about a downtown renewal program in Normal that includes building a modern transportation terminal in the town's central business district and surrounding it with office-residential redevelopment that is designed for people to walk, ride a bus or pedal a bike to where they are going instead of drive a vehicle.

The centerpiece of the Uptown Normal Renewal Plan is a new transportation center that will offer multiple travel choices -- Amtrak on the Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle routes; interstate and regional buses to other Illinois cities as well as destinations in Indiana, Missouri and Iowa; local cabs serving the town as well as the Central Illinois Regional Airport; and shuttle buses to O'Hare International Airport and Midway Airport in Chicago.

A new Marriott hotel and conference center opened late last year about 100 yards from the Amtrak stop. When the transportation center is built, "the walk from the hotel will be 50 yards," Koos said.

"It gives people the opportunity to come into a community for a conference, get off the train, go to the hotel, spend two or three days in a lively business district and never see a car the whole time," he said.

But the redevelopment program, which was started in 1999, is only about one-third complete. It needs an economic lift that a statewide rail modernization program can help provide, officials said.

"One hundred ten mile an hour trains would cut the travel time from Normal to Chicago to 1 hour 45 minutes," Koos said. "It's so important to getting us closer to the Chicago region."

Meanwhile, the optimism over rail modernization and high-speed trains is just as strong on Chicago's West Side.

Business leaders and community activists who have worked to turn around the West Garfield Park neighborhood are welcoming railroading in all its forms because of the great potential for economic expansion.

A major focus is retooling old factories and building new ones to support a manufacturing base for equipment and parts needed in the new high-speed rail system, said Steven McCullough, president of Bethel New Life, a faith-based community development corporation working to establish a sustainable community on the West Side.

It all comes down to creating jobs in a neighborhood already surrounded by rail operations, including a Union Pacific Railroad maintenance facility, the Green Line, Metra commuter rail, freight trains and the emerging high-speed passenger service.

"Rail is an integral part, along with land-use polices, to develop a successful neighborhood and combat the atmosphere of isolation in our community," McCullough said.

Chicago is the hub of a proposed eight-state Midwest high-speed rail network that includes various corridors with top speeds of 79 mph, 90 mph, 110 mph and eventually 220 mph, under plans submitted by the transportation departments in the states.

"High-speed rail is an incredible boost in mobility that is not just for Chicago," said Howard Learner, president of the Environmental Law and Policy Center.

"It's for the huge numbers of people -- 2 million people within a 50-mile radius of Kalamazoo, 700,000 people in 15 counties within a 50-mile radius of Springfield, 1 million people within a 50-mile radius of Bloomington-Normal. This is beyond transportation. This is about communities," he said.

Quinn told the rail conferees that he is committed to making Illinois an inland port that will be the leading rail transportation hub in the U.S. "We've got to get it completed in my lifetime," he said. "I expect to live to 102 because at that point in time, I will have paid off my kids' college loans."

Contact Getting Around at [email protected] or c/o the Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Read recent columns at chicagotribune.com/gettingaround.

..
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Old January 18th, 2010, 07:45 AM   #1100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
A lot of prophecy, but outise NYC Metro, transit usage remains low by European standards and I truly hope that, if anything else, Tea Party and other conservative pressure stop those transit projects for the sake of financial healthy of United States! If we could only import some Tea Parties here to Europe...
Quite a few of the "conservative" parties in Europe aren't against transit. Especially rail based transit. One of the leaders of the SVP in Switzerland is a man named Peter Spühler. He's the CEO of Stadler Rail. Anyone who knows a bit about the current market for railway equipment in Europe will know that name but Stadler Rail has deliverd DMU's to three agencies in the US also, so the company isn't an unkown there either.
That conservatives are by default against mass transit or regional rail is thus not true. Conservatives are in favor of sound fiscal policy, but this does not preclude subsidising transit, as transit has a big positive externality.
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