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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%
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Old March 28th, 2010, 03:38 PM   #1321
Tom 958
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Sure it can be done. That ($$$) is the problem, particularly with the current fiscal situation. In the NEC area, for instance, all state governments are pretty much on dire straits. Then, you have all the political situation in Capitol Hill. Imagine if DOT appear with a "billionaire wasteful bill" that you put "America a little closer of coming an European socialist state"... I doubt the US fed. govt. would be willing to pick up a fight in the light of swift opposition even to things like modestly increased Pell Grants for students...

I'm not being a negative person, but I think there is no political will to build such a system right now. In 3/4 years, if the economy stars recovering and the bailouts turn out a profit or only a modest loss to the government, then we can think about HSR real activity construction.

However, it is not all bad that there is no money/will to do it right now: projects have more time do be discussed and assessed, so when there is money available, projects will be more close do shovel-ready status.
Sad but true. Between that, the immense amount of money it would take to create even one proper HSR corridor, and the length of payback once an HSR project begins functioning, now isn't the time to move forward.

I wish that we'd been thinking HSR in the '90's when we were running $200 billion federal budget surpluses, or during the 00's when the Bush tax cuts induced the private sector to pour money into building a vast glut of housing instead of wiser investments like alternative energy and transportation. But it's a bit late for that now.

IMO, we'd do better to play to our strengths through incremental improvement of our freight railroads, with an eye to the possiblity of 110 mph passenger service in improved existing corridors as a secondary consideration. Leave HSR forwhen we can afford it.

EDIT: A rail corridor along I-81 that would get traffic and the economy moving again

Last edited by Tom 958; March 28th, 2010 at 03:55 PM.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 01:02 AM   #1322
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South of Newark,NJ wouldn't require alot , 2 bypasses , some more tracks , Constant Catenary Tension , Replaced Interlocks , that would only cost around 5 billion, and should only take 3 years. NY Penn to New Haven would require alot , but part of it is getting done , so Amtrak wouldn't have to done much. Metro-North & CDOT are doing the CT section. Amtrak is adding more Tracks in NJ , PA , and DE already. So only a few big are needed , a few bypasses and bridge / tunnel replacements. The Only section of the NEC that i can see handle 220mph is South of Newark , the CT section will max out around 170mph. Amtrak has been getting very popular here in the NE , Northeast Regional & the Keystone have been selling out a few trains daily. The Acelas are also getting popular. & Amtrak is looking at a certain type of fleet for the NEC & Keystone lines.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 09:17 AM   #1323
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Not so easy. The allowed gradients, curve radius etc. for high-speed railways (in some European projects as low as 17/1000 and 5300m respectively) are far more stringent than those allowed on FHWA manuals for interstates. On long plain curve-less stretches like I-80 west of Salt Lake City that could be viable, but otherwise, it's not.
One of the advantages of dedicate high speed tracks is that you can build them with higher grades and tighter curves, as you can match super-elevation exactly to speed. That makes bundling the lines with freeways quite feasible.
Just ride Köln - Frankfurt behind the driver once...

[/quote]
The historically hot-debated HS line project between Frankfurt and Stuttgart in Germany is a good example - too bad that the great city of Mannheim doesn't want to have "second class" medium speed service only, so no line gets fully build because serving Mannheim would greatly increase the costs of such new HSR line.[/QUOTE]

Leaving out Mannheim would also "leave out" much of southwestern Germany and even Switzerland, so this would not really be a good idea. The population distribution of that part of the world anyway means that upgrading the existing network piece by piece yields more value than building a ground level airline.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 03:04 PM   #1324
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Sure it can be done. That ($$$) is the problem, particularly with the current fiscal situation. In the NEC area, for instance, all state governments are pretty much on dire straits. Then, you have all the political situation in Capitol Hill. Imagine if DOT appear with a "billionaire wasteful bill" that you put "America a little closer of coming an European socialist state"... I doubt the US fed. govt. would be willing to pick up a fight in the light of swift opposition even to things like modestly increased Pell Grants for students...

I'm not being a negative person, but I think there is no political will to build such a system right now.
Ding ding ding...we have a winner.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 10:58 PM   #1325
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Sure it can be done. That ($$$) is the problem, particularly with the current fiscal situation. In the NEC area, for instance, all state governments are pretty much on dire straits. Then, you have all the political situation in Capitol Hill. Imagine if DOT appear with a "billionaire wasteful bill" that you put "America a little closer of coming an European socialist state"... I doubt the US fed. govt. would be willing to pick up a fight in the light of swift opposition even to things like modestly increased Pell Grants for students...

I'm not being a negative person, but I think there is no political will to build such a system right now. In 3/4 years, if the economy stars recovering and the bailouts turn out a profit or only a modest loss to the government, then we can think about HSR real activity construction.

However, it is not all bad that there is no money/will to do it right now: projects have more time do be discussed and assessed, so when there is money available, projects will be more close do shovel-ready status.
The NEC is entirely owned by Amtrak which is doing small improvements now , The NY Penn - New Haven section is finally getting upgraded to handle higher speeds and tilting. So by 2015 alot of the minor and some of the Major stuff will be done. & Speeds will increase for an Average of 80-90mph to 110mph then by 2020 it will increase to 200mph or 220mph. Its not that hard to upgrade the NEC. I'm more excited to see the New NEC & Keystone fleets Amtrak picks out.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:53 PM   #1326
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Are they going to remove all grade-crossings and rectify tracks where radius curves are too small?
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Old March 30th, 2010, 01:08 AM   #1327
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Are they going to remove all grade-crossings and rectify tracks where radius curves are too small?
Only 3 Crossings on both lines are left and they will be removed sometime in the next 5-10 years. The Curves will be straighted out and a few eliminated.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 01:12 AM   #1328
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Only 3 Crossings on both lines are left and they will be removed sometime in the next 5-10 years. The Curves will be straighted out and a few eliminated.
Well, that certainly rocks!
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Old March 30th, 2010, 01:30 AM   #1329
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That is a good measure, standardizing VMax over longer stretches avoid additional time losses caused by deceleration/acceleration, which are usually more massive than the 1-2 minutes it cost to travel a couple miles at reduced speed.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 06:01 AM   #1330
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I like the St.Paul-Madison link next to the river because it will go through where my grandparents live and I can catch a train to the Twin Cities from there. Also, there is more oppurtunity for economic growth along that line including the cities of Red Wing, Lake City, Winona, and La Crosse.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 07:10 AM   #1331
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I think all cities where high speed rail stations planned should consider to build its own public transit systems to serve high speed rail passengers. There are some cities in USA where high speed rail supposed to be built though don't have local public transits system yet. I can see all cities that already have public transit systems will do successful with high speed rail system but I fail to see how it will be successful to serve some cities that lack of public transit system. That is something that some US cities should consider that.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 12:19 PM   #1332
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+1, but don't forget that some systems that do have it, need to improve it enormously, I have never been able to understand why a country like the United States or a city like New York, can not have an efficient public transportation system.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 03:08 PM   #1333
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I think all cities where high speed rail stations planned should consider to build its own public transit systems to serve high speed rail passengers. There are some cities in USA where high speed rail supposed to be built though don't have local public transits system yet. I can see all cities that already have public transit systems will do successful with high speed rail system but I fail to see how it will be successful to serve some cities that lack of public transit system. That is something that some US cities should consider that.
Park-and-ride facilities and optimized station placement are better solutions for the usual american city traffic pattern. Build a high-speed road near a major intersection/junction, with massive parking lots nearby and facilities like car rental offices, just like in the airports. So you can drive to the origin station, ride a train and immediately take a rental car to reach your destination.

I'd say it is a big mistake to increase HSR costs by mixing high-speed with downtown revitalization/renovation/renewal. Usually (not always) those who can afford airfare-like prices on rail do not live downtown and don't take transit. New York-Washington corridor is probably an exception.

Billions can be saved if stations bypass dense built-up areas altogether, using interstates and freeways as their feeder backbone network, thus improving the catchment area.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 03:52 PM   #1334
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Park-and-ride facilities and optimized station placement are better solutions for the usual american city traffic pattern. Build a high-speed road near a major intersection/junction, with massive parking lots nearby and facilities like car rental offices, just like in the airports. So you can drive to the origin station, ride a train and immediately take a rental car to reach your destination.
I cannot see people doing this for the sort of distances trains are competitive for. When all the branch lines were axed in the UK in the 60s they assumed people would drive to the train station and then take the train the rest of the way. Far easier to just drive the whole distance. Most people find car rental a hassle and a double expense if they already own a car not too far away. Parkway stations do however work in the UK and work for many people living in rural areas and living in cities. But none have car rental stations as well as there simple isn't a market for them.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 06:40 PM   #1335
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Leaving out Mannheim would also "leave out" much of southwestern Germany and even Switzerland, so this would not really be a good idea.
There would also be no money saved by bypassing Mannheim - even in the DB plans with the bypass (which no one except DB supported, and which DB itself dropped two years ago), the connections to the WER/Pfingstberg lines through Mannheim would have to have been built anyway. Additionally, several 100 million investment would have been necessary for a new "bypass station".

The WER/Pfingstberg lines (built in the late 70s to early 80s for about 400 million DM) represent the current HSR route through Mannheim, allowing 200 km/h speed throughout; about 10% allow 250 km/h. This connection has about 20 km length within Mannheim proper, consisting of two separate sections of elevated railways, a 5 km long tunnel, and 4 dedicated platforms at Mannheim Central Station.
Of this stretch currently 30% are shared with regional passenger trains; none of it is shared with freight trains (during the day). With the current plan the shared trackage section will be shortened to 25%, and the usage of the shared section will switch to roughly 90% HS / 10% regional from current 75% HS / 25% regional.

Also, there's of course no debate about this line. It's being built, as in right now. First preliminary work started last year rebuilding the future link of this line into Frankfurt Airport.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 06:58 PM   #1336
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+1, but don't forget that some systems that do have it, need to improve it enormously, I have never been able to understand why a country like the United States or a city like New York, can not have an efficient public transportation system.
What's wrong with NYC's & Regions System or network , its at Euro Standards of size, although we need a few more connectors, but were getting there. In 15 years we should have a dense network of Regional , Subways (urban areas) , Light Rail & a few High Speed Lines. New England is planning on building 4 HSL by 2030 and at least 1000+ miles of Commuter lines and 600 more miles of Electrified lines. Eastern PA isn't that far behind , although its different there , mostly regular rail will be built. Except the Keystone HSL Ext to Pittsburgh & Cleveland. Maryland and Virgina are planning a network of Regional Rail and 1 or 2 HSL. Most of these regular / Commuter Rail lines will have a top speed of 110mph and average speeds of 60-90mph , the HSL will have a top speed of 160-220mph with averages of 180 or 190mph. In 20 years the Northeast & parts of the Mid Atlantic will have a rail system similar to Europe. Also alot of small to medium towns are planning Streetcar systems , and Larger Towns and cities are planning or about to build Light Rail / Streetcar systems , some form private investment. I can name at least 40 NE cities and towns that are planning to.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 08:45 PM   #1337
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+1, but don't forget that some systems that do have it, need to improve it enormously, I have never been able to understand why a country like the United States or a city like New York, can not have an efficient public transportation system.
True. Some US cities like Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and add on are expanding its public transit systems. USA is very fall behind when it comes to public transit but they're catching up now. Hopefully in next two decades, USA public transit system should be almost good as Europe.

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Park-and-ride facilities and optimized station placement are better solutions for the usual american city traffic pattern. Build a high-speed road near a major intersection/junction, with massive parking lots nearby and facilities like car rental offices, just like in the airports. So you can drive to the origin station, ride a train and immediately take a rental car to reach your destination.

I'd say it is a big mistake to increase HSR costs by mixing high-speed with downtown revitalization/renovation/renewal. Usually (not always) those who can afford airfare-like prices on rail do not live downtown and don't take transit. New York-Washington corridor is probably an exception.

Billions can be saved if stations bypass dense built-up areas altogether, using interstates and freeways as their feeder backbone network, thus improving the catchment area.
Park and ride facilities usually work better in the suburbs than city centers or limited public transit system in the general. There are some US cities that have public transit system that will connect to future HSR stations so park and ride facilities are out of questions for these cities. I can see some future HSR stations like Anaheim, Bakersfield, and Fresno to have park and ride facilities because they don't have decent public transit systems yet.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 01:26 AM   #1338
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. I can see some future HSR stations like Anaheim, Bakersfield, and Fresno to have park and ride facilities because they don't have decent public transit systems yet.
Some cities along the "Texas Y" corridor would be fit to P&R too. And don't know about the scope of the Orlando-Tampa line, as the route is kind of odd.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 04:09 AM   #1339
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Some cities along the "Texas Y" corridor would be fit to P&R too. And don't know about the scope of the Orlando-Tampa line, as the route is kind of odd.
Yeah but Dallas and Houston have its public transit system too but not so great but heard they're in process to expand its system as well. I don't know about Orlando-Tampa either since I am not familiar with state since I never been there before.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 05:44 AM   #1340
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How is the Tampa-Orlando route odd. Look on Google Maps or Earth, zoom in to Central Florida and locate I-4, and that is where most of the HSR line will go. It will go off I-4 once it reaches the Orange County Convention Center and head towards Orlando International Airport. Later on, the line will extend to St. Petersburg, but that will likely occur after the Orlando-Miami line.
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