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Old May 17th, 2013, 01:20 AM   #2481
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Mostly because of bad regulations and bureaucratic inertia. You can name any city pair east of the I-35 corridor (Minneapolis-Chicago, Cincinnati-Cleveland, Detroit-Cincinnati, Jacksonville-Atlanta, Dallas-Houston, and so on) and I can guarantee you you can find similar city pairs (similar population, similar geographic separation) in Europe with far better rail service.

Amtrak's been in business for 40 years now and is barely beginning to learn how to actually run a passenger railroad.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 01:33 AM   #2482
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How can the American people doesn't have such interest by the railway transport?
I always thought that traveling by train is faster than traveling by car or bus on the road, because, traveling by train, you don't face traffic problems in the roads.
And traffic problems in the roads is a very constant problem here in Brazil, more exactly in the holidays, when people goes out to travel from the Capitals to the seashore or the countryside, and at the end of the holidays, when they return from the seashore or the countryside to the Capitals. And it's on this occasion which the passenger rail is very absent, because the passenger long-running trains to the countryside and the seashore here in Brazil, stopped operating in 2000.
And I miss very much the long-running passenger rail here on my country, because the great part of the rail stations (specially in the countryside and seashore cities) is abandoned.

we have the interstate highway system. I can drive to any other city in the country faster than taking a train, much faster. The next closest major city to my city is a 3 hour drive by personal car, 5-6 hour trip by amtrak and that doesn't include traveling to and from the station with dealing with parking or taking a bus to the station
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Old May 17th, 2013, 08:58 AM   #2483
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we have the interstate highway system. I can drive to any other city in the country faster than taking a train, much faster.
That brings us to a weird situation: As I understand it the interstate highway system is paid for by public funds whereas the railroads are privately owned. That's an unfair advantage for road travel.

And very important: how often do those trains run? If they only run a few times a day or less, they're pretty much useless. Travel by train only makes sense if they run at least hourly and offer competitive journey times. In the US for the most part they obviously don't.

I bet that once rail travel in the US can offer competive travel times it wil take off again. The NEC is a good example.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 11:17 AM   #2484
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we have the interstate highway system. I can drive to any other city in the country faster than taking a train, much faster. The next closest major city to my city is a 3 hour drive by personal car, 5-6 hour trip by amtrak and that doesn't include traveling to and from the station with dealing with parking or taking a bus to the station
That is weird given the fact thar road transport in the US is also much slower, especially in densely populated areas. Speed limits are quite low.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 08:27 PM   #2485
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That is weird given the fact thar road transport in the US is also much slower, especially in densely populated areas. Speed limits are quite low.
That varies enormously by state too, from 55mph to 80mph on interstate freeways. Something I noticed travelling from Albany to Niagara was the constant changes in speed limit. A serious rail service, not even necessarilly high speed standard but just up to the standard of the North East Corridor or your typical European main line could compete effectively there.

Air travel is the main thing that takes the floor out of the rail market in the US, but that's on longer cross-country journeys. More locally a nationalised or at least properly regulated rail network could reduce road usage a lot.

Of course in most countries speed limits on major highways mean next to nothing for a lot of drivers and the US is no exception.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 09:55 PM   #2486
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That varies enormously by state too, from 55mph to 80mph on interstate freeways. Something I noticed travelling from Albany to Niagara was the constant changes in speed limit. A serious rail service, not even necessarilly high speed standard but just up to the standard of the North East Corridor or your typical European main line could compete effectively there.

Air travel is the main thing that takes the floor out of the rail market in the US, but that's on longer cross-country journeys. More locally a nationalised or at least properly regulated rail network could reduce road usage a lot.

Of course in most countries speed limits on major highways mean next to nothing for a lot of drivers and the US is no exception.
I think you are both missing the bigger picture: what counts for travelers is total travel time. It is pointless to compare speed of a rail link between two stations with speed of a highway link between two exits if the distance is not that large that the difference might be several hours. The overwhelming majority of people will not live close to the rail station, and will need last-mile transport which is faulty/lacking in most of US.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 10:11 PM   #2487
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That is weird given the fact thar road transport in the US is also much slower, especially in densely populated areas. Speed limits are quite low.
Congestion is getting very bad here , some states are responding by restoring or upgrading the rail network like New England. Others are dragging their feet while the problem gets worse and worse.... Some parts of I-95 take 45mins to go 5 miles....during the lunch hour.
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Old May 19th, 2013, 03:36 PM   #2488
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It's a bit of a chicken and egg problem. People don't use trains much because they are slow, irregular and expensive. Better train system is not developed because there is not enough demand for the aforementioned reasons.

Existence of interstate highways system, however, is a straw man argument. Highway systems in Germany, France and Italy are just as good if not better and people still use trains a lot.
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Old May 19th, 2013, 04:29 PM   #2489
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Existence of interstate highways system, however, is a straw man argument. Highway systems in Germany, France and Italy are just as good if not better and people still use trains a lot.
Oil pricing and city density.
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Old May 19th, 2013, 05:06 PM   #2490
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Oil pricing and city density.
Driving rates are dropping and Transit rates and opinions on investment are moving in a positive direction...sadly our damaged Political system still won't invest in critical projects. The Transit/Railway/Highway/Road master plans combined will cost around 580 billion for the Northeastern States. Which is doable since each state will do a certain amount...the problem is the state leaders don't seem to want to do anything...in some states even private is blocked from investing which further slows the network upgrades and expansions. They have recently agreed to road diet and make most of the Suburban roads , boulevards Pedestrian / bike friendly and add bus rapid transit on high used routes...but Rail upgrades and expansions are lagging big time. We have the Ridership...most transit projects average at least 20,000 riders.
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Old May 20th, 2013, 06:34 AM   #2491
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I think you are both missing the bigger picture: what counts for travelers is total travel time. It is pointless to compare speed of a rail link between two stations with speed of a highway link between two exits if the distance is not that large that the difference might be several hours. The overwhelming majority of people will not live close to the rail station, and will need last-mile transport which is faulty/lacking in most of US.
So how do airlines handle that issue?
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Old May 20th, 2013, 09:39 AM   #2492
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So how do airlines handle that issue?
The speed differential of air travel (actual flight time) is just too great that it superseded anything else, except for short haul flights where high-speed train might be a competitor.
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Old May 20th, 2013, 10:12 AM   #2493
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The speed differential of air travel (actual flight time) is just too great that it superseded anything else, except for short haul flights where high-speed train might be a competitor.
Mid-distance flights too. I mean, Paris-Marseille is very competitive by train, and the distance is 800 km. That would include distances fron New York to Washington, Toronto, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Boston, Raleigh, Pittsburgh and others or most of California.
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Old May 20th, 2013, 03:14 PM   #2494
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You can only have a successful rail service with decent rider ship when your local public transport is aimed to be a feeder service.

Key to success is making certain stations reachable from many directions with a minimal frequency of at least 1 train per hour, but more would be preferred.

If we look at Holland, we have one big airport near Amsterdam. Beneath the airport is a six platform station. From there you can travel to literally every corner of the country at least twice per hour. (sometimes this is 1 direct connection and one which requires a cross platform interchange at some point half way).

As a result, the airport station is struggling with demand as it is not only a hub to the world, but also a big commuter hub for those changing trains.

Ho to make it a success:

- Good and frequent bus/tram/metro services in your city to the station.
- Good and frequent rail services to key destinations
- Good and frequent bus/tram/metro services in another city from the main station.

And with frequent I mean at least 4 services per hour all day to and from the local stations, and from all city districts.
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Old May 20th, 2013, 07:02 PM   #2495
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Mid-distance flights too. I mean, Paris-Marseille is very competitive by train, and the distance is 800 km. That would include distances fron New York to Washington, Toronto, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Boston, Raleigh, Pittsburgh and others or most of California.
Paris-Marseille is a short flight. Mid-distance would be something like Paris-Athens or Paris-Moscow. Long ones would then be Paris-Delhi or Paris-Tokyo.

In an ideal situation from the resource point of view "short" distances up to ca 1000 km and no sea obstacles would be covered by rail and air traffic would concentrate on mid distance and long haul flights.
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Old May 20th, 2013, 09:45 PM   #2496
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Old May 21st, 2013, 12:50 PM   #2497
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
It's a bit of a chicken and egg problem. People don't use trains much because they are slow, irregular and expensive. Better train system is not developed because there is not enough demand for the aforementioned reasons.

Existence of interstate highways system, however, is a straw man argument. Highway systems in Germany, France and Italy are just as good if not better and people still use trains a lot.
Well what happens in Western Europe and USA are completely different. In Western Europe, the government paid a lot of attention to their railway service. Train service are fast, efficient enabling people from all classes to be very mobile, without the hindrance of traffic jam, or the hassle of maintaining private vehicle.

Not to mention high speed trains that allows people to travel between two distant citie centers in a short time.
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 12:30 PM   #2498
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There is another important factor. Petrol prices in Europe are three times higher then those in the USA.

Triple the price of petrol in the USA and people will start a bus company, negotiate deals with Amtrak and public transport might kick off.

And a bit "normal" tax might do good for the USA as the national debt is something to start worry about.
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 07:28 PM   #2499
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I don't think it's up to Europeans to mingle with US tax systems. They don't mingle into ours, and things simply work a little different over there.
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 08:11 PM   #2500
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I don't think it's up to Europeans to mingle with US tax systems. They don't mingle into ours, and things simply work a little different over there.
Bingo!

The US isn't Europe and vice versa.
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