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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 March 11th, 2010, 08:49 AM   #1261
mgk920
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A few of my thoughts:

-The biggest 'wildcard' here is the price of fuel. If/when fuel prices go nutty again like they did a couple of years ago - and they don't come back down - rails will shine for all but the long-haul routes. Rail can draw tractive energy from whatever source is most economical at any given time and in any given place and are not beholden to the vagaries of the market of one commodity (think: "electric power"). High fuel prices will make short-medium distance air impractical from a cost standpoint.

-Terminal dwell time will favor true high-speed rail on short-medium distance routes (think: "airport hassles that do not exist with rail and those hassles are steadily getting worse").

-Cars will always be with us, even if/when fuel goes over USA$2/liter in today's money. They are just too convenient for local use. Case in point: even though the Netherlands has the highest or second highest petrol prices in all of Europe and a very well developed rail passenger system, their BIGGEST ongoing transport problem is highway traffic congestion.

-Most airports are inconveniently located in relation to their markets' business and tourist centers (only Las Vegas, NV McCarran and San Diego Lindburgh are really 'close in') while most rail stations are in their market's central cores - saving a lot of time in getting between the terminals and the centers of their markets.

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Old March 11th, 2010, 09:18 AM   #1262
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I want to see an aircraft-like security protocol for trains (and trams, buses and whatever vehicle used in commercial public transportation): preemptive security measures, traceability up to the bolt level, certification of individual parts, critical or not (albeit with different levels of control for sure).
And after that we put checkpoints along the roads every 25 miles where every car (and it's occupants) are completely searched for explosives.

Tell me, why do you want the terrorists to win so desperately?
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Old March 11th, 2010, 09:35 AM   #1263
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
-Cars will always be with us, even if/when fuel goes over USA$2/liter in today's money. They are just too convenient for local use. Case in point: even though the Netherlands has the highest or second highest petrol prices in all of Europe and a very well developed rail passenger system, their BIGGEST ongoing transport problem is highway traffic congestion.
I think the future is for rural and suburban areas: Electric cars for short distances, and the trip to the park&ride to take the train to the city.
For urban areas: comprehensive integrated public transport. High speed trains from city to city.

For long distance trips: Either a combination of trains and planes, or once the high speed networks mesh up enough, high speed night trains.

I've lived both in the Netherlands and Belgium, and now live in Switzerland. One interesting observation is that motor fuel in Switzerland is cheaper than in the Netherlands, but still car use is lower too. The reason why so many people commute by car in the Netherlands have a lot to do with taxes. High payroll taxes mean that companies like to compensate their employees differently. A company car is a popular fringe benefit, and half of all new sales are company cars...
It's similar in Belgium. It's not uncommon for someone fresh from college to get a car like an Audi A4 or A6 with the first job. With the car often comes a fuel pass paid for by the company also. This actually encourages commuting by car.
In Switzerland payroll and income taxes are much lower, so employees rather have more money than fringe benefits. The company I work for doesn't even provide free parking for it's employees, and nobody has a company car, not even the CEO. One side effect is high PT use in urban areas. In Switzerland more and more "urban" people often don't even get a driving licence, and apartments get sold or leased increasingly without a parking or garage spot.

What is big in Switzerland, and growing like crazy, is car sharing. I think this is an interesting pointer to what car useage might look like for more and more people in the future. Car sharing has a lot of advantages. You have cars available around the country, without any of the hassles asociated with cars. You don't have to worry about maintenance, about insurance or having the right tires. The car sharing company does that. They have cars stationed at most train stations.
I don't have a car. I live in the city, and get around on foot, on my bicycle or by PT. When I need to go to another city in Switzerland I take a train. All major routes have a train every half hour, so it's usually no problem to schedule my activities around the train schedule. When I need to be somewhere in the country I just take the train to a convenient station, and continue by car.
When I feel like spending a day in the mountains, doing a few pass roads - I actually quite enjoy driving a nice car - I just rent one for the day.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 10:29 AM   #1264
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I'm not going to make any "better"/"worse" claims since I'm simply not nearly well-informed enough to make statements like that, but:
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Can someone detail the general European standards that are better? I know they rely heavily on signaling. I can tell that they should be better since the trains aren't tanks on rails, but what exactly are the regulations?
Yes, pretty much. The target is not so much to increase the survivability of train crashes, but rather to eliminate any train crashes whatsoever, so the focus isn't on weighing down the trains themselves, but pretty much exclusively on the crossings, signalling, all that sort of stuff.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 11:32 AM   #1265
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K_ View Post

What is big in Switzerland, and growing like crazy, is car sharing. I think this is an interesting pointer to what car useage might look like for more and more people in the future. Car sharing has a lot of advantages. You have cars available around the country, without any of the hassles asociated with cars. You don't have to worry about maintenance, about insurance or having the right tires. The car sharing company does that. They have cars stationed at most train stations.
Rental cars and car sharing have its market potential, but never forget that for many people cars are far beyond a transportation vehicle. They are a personalized space where you attach gadgets, decorate and give your personal touch, let alone you personalize it to feel like yours. Moreover, car sharing fleets are quite standardized, thus not allowing for you to differentiate yourself buying a different vehicle (like you differentiate yourself wearing a given clothe's style or adopting a given haircut).

Cars are essential things in the individualization of people, at least those well-off enough to afford them but poor enough not to have yatchs, private jets etc.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 06:25 PM   #1266
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China is bidding on USA HSR projects

China to bid on US high-speed rail projects
Minister: China to bid for US high-speed rail projects; building lines in Venezuela, Turkey

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Joe Mcdonald, AP Business Writer, On Saturday March 13, 2010, 7:43 am EST

BEIJING (AP) -- China plans to bid for contracts to build U.S. high-speed train lines and is stepping up exports of rail technology to Europe and Latin America, a government official said Saturday.

China has built 4,000 miles (6,500 kilometers) of high-speed rail for its own train system and President Barack Obama issued a pledge in November with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, to cooperate in developing the technology.

"We are organizing relevant companies to participate in bidding for U.S. high-speed railways," Wang Zhiguo, a deputy railways minister, told a news conference.

Wang gave no details of where China's railway builders might seek contracts, but systems are planned in California, Florida and Illinois. He said state-owned Chinese companies already are building high-speed lines in Turkey and Venezuela.

Beijing plans to construct a 16,000-mile (25,000-kilometer) high-speed rail network by 2020 in a 2 trillion yuan ($300 billion) project it hopes will spur economic and technology development. A new line linking the central city of Wuhan with Guangzhou near Hong Kong on China's southern coast is billed as the world's fastest at 237 miles (380 kilometers) per hour.

China produces high-speed trains using French, German and Japanese technology. Its manufacturers have developed a homegrown version but have yet to produce a commercial model.

Chinese rail authorities have signed cooperation memos with California and Russia and state companies plan to bid on a line in Brazil linking Rio de Janeiro with Sao Paulo, Wang said. He said Saudi Arabia and Poland also have expressed interest.

The White House announced $8 billion in grants in January for rail projects including the high-speed systems in California, Florida and Illinois.

"China is willing to share its mature and advanced technology with other countries to promote development of the world's high-speed railways," Wang said.

So far, China's government has completed 2,295 miles (3,676 kilometers) of rail lines with top speeds of up to 220 mph (350 kph) and 1,795 miles (2,876 kilometers) with speeds up to 155 mph (250 kph), according to Wang.

Another 6,000 miles (10,000 kilometers) of lines are under construction, he said.

Once the network is completed, it will cut travel time from Beijing to Hong Kong from 24 hours to 10.

Some critics say high-speed train fares are too high for average Chinese and question whether the lines can recover their construction costs.

Wang said high-speed trains already have higher occupancy rates than regular trains, though he gave no details.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 07:16 PM   #1267
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How is the Chinese technology mature if their own system is a mix of French, German and Japanese?
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Old March 14th, 2010, 07:51 PM   #1268
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indeed?
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Old March 14th, 2010, 08:31 PM   #1269
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USA HSR in Wired.com

Wired published a relatively unbiased short report and scheme on HSR in USA. I cannot copy much of it because it's blocked and they have flash content too. Follow it at http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/0...asttrack/all/1
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Old March 14th, 2010, 09:04 PM   #1270
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Well, but maybe they can manage to make a considerably cheaper offer? Knowing how sensitive Americans are when it comes to the price tag, they might think its worth it.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 09:36 PM   #1271
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The 4 potential train designs are all currently in full-scale production in China - using a mix of domestic and imported components.

In addition, there is considerable expertise in track construction that Chinese companies have gained from constructing the worlds largest and most technologically sophisticated high-speed railway network.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 10:30 PM   #1272
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Old March 14th, 2010, 10:54 PM   #1273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dl3000 View Post
How is the Chinese technology mature if their own system is a mix of French, German and Japanese?

I don't see any problem with this. Actually it is a huge advantage. They can synthesize best of three worlds
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Old March 15th, 2010, 05:44 AM   #1274
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wow thats interesting although the Northeast is forcasted to get 4 lines by 2025 , the Empire , Keystone Extension , I-91 Corridor and Upgraded NEC which Amtrak has plans to bring it to 180 mph top speed and 160-70 average speed. But we will have the best system in the Country , on top of that a thick network of Regional Rail is in the planning or construction phases.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 07:34 PM   #1275
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dl3000 View Post
How is the Chinese technology mature if their own system is a mix of French, German and Japanese?
read the article. They're bidding on line contruction. Not moving stocks.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 08:53 PM   #1276
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Why shouldn't they build it, it's their money.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 09:54 PM   #1277
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Wired published a relatively unbiased short report and scheme on HSR in USA. I cannot copy much of it because it's blocked and they have flash content too. Follow it at http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/0...asttrack/all/1
At last!!!
I hope it all becomes true soon, I've never been able to understand how a country like the United States is unable to move forward in this aspect.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 10:32 PM   #1278
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At last!!!
I hope it all becomes true soon, I've never been able to understand how a country like the United States is unable to move forward in this aspect.
Simple, because of lack of money, lack of political will, the fact that existing trackage is owned by everyone and their Brother, we have cheap gasoline, and the fact that no one wants a new rail right of way in thier backyard......................and lack of money.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 11:26 PM   #1279
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Simple, because of lack of money, lack of political will, the fact that existing trackage is owned by everyone and their Brother, we have cheap gasoline, and the fact that no one wants a new rail right of way in thier backyard......................and lack of money.
The question is, has any of that changed?
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Old March 15th, 2010, 11:27 PM   #1280
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That pretty much sums it up. That along with the lack of an understanding of what constitutes actual high speed rail since there are no systems nearby. California is getting close but the high initial investment is scaring people.
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