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Old April 16th, 2017, 12:50 PM   #3321
MarcVD
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I do not buy into social reasons for justifying long distance train travel because I do not believe sightseeing is a social right (as opposed to commuting to work every day) ; if long distance passenger trains were using another means of transportation, the adverse effect on environment would bz negligible so no environmental justification either; and as opposed to what people sometime pretend, communities along rail lines have always other means of transport available if trains would disappear.
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Old April 16th, 2017, 12:52 PM   #3322
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
I do not buy into social reasons for justifying long distance train travel because I do not believe sightseeing is a social right (as opposed to commuting to work every day) ; if long distance passenger trains were using another means of transportation, the adverse effect on environment would bz negligible so no environmental justification either; and as opposed to what people sometime pretend, communities along rail lines have always other means of transport available if trains would disappear.


Source: http://www.roadarch.com/bus/mo.html

Most of the transcontinental routes are for sightseeing. They are more about a sense of patriotism and national pride. I can understand spending millions of dollars for these purposes.

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Old April 16th, 2017, 01:02 PM   #3323
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Originally Posted by Arnorian View Post
Amtrak under Trump:

Read More: http://transitmap.net/post/159591316380/amtrak-budget
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Old April 16th, 2017, 07:53 PM   #3324
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I REALLY REALLY want him to die as quickly as possible. Or how about the entire republican party for that matter?
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Old April 17th, 2017, 01:13 AM   #3325
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
I do not buy into social reasons for justifying long distance train travel because I do not believe sightseeing is a social right (as opposed to commuting to work every day) ; if long distance passenger trains were using another means of transportation, the adverse effect on environment would bz negligible so no environmental justification either; and as opposed to what people sometime pretend, communities along rail lines have always other means of transport available if trains would disappear.
That logic makes no sense: Poorly fund services so that they're unnattractive; cut services because they're unattractive.

The once daily (or even weekly, on some routes) trains are not why Amtrak is losing money, but the lack of frequent intermediary services between points along these corridors is.

Cutting these services wholesale doesn't fix that, at all. Nor does it free up imaginary funds for the NEC, or other coastal, metro areas. That funding will just be withheld.

The "cut everything and spend on the Acela" crowd is being duped into enabling something extremely shortsighted.

And as an aside, I used the Crescent multiple times to travel between NOLA and NYC, while living in AL, and can tell you it isn't just a "sightseeing train;" There are plenty of students and others using it to travel between cities along the corridor (e.g. Atlanta-Charlotte).

More would do so if service levels were increased. It takes almost the same amount of time (including delays) to travel between Birmingham-Atlanta as Atlanta-Charlotte and NOLA-Birmingham as Charlotte-DC. Worse, Atlanta-NYC currently takes only 4-6 hrs longer than NOLA-Birmingham.

Fix these intermediary services and you'd have something more viable. Not all of these routes are like the Empire Builder: These proposed cuts will affect routes that would be perfectly viable if we spent funds to make them so - and it wouldn't cost a lot to do so.
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Last edited by phoenixboi08; April 17th, 2017 at 04:24 PM. Reason: typos; syntax
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Old April 17th, 2017, 11:53 AM   #3326
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That is of course the other alternative : put enough money into the system to make a dependable service out of it. But even if this would get a political green light - which is very unlikely - the private ownership of the infrastructure would probably not allow it. Free entreprise principles will never allow to impose priority for passenger trains on private networks.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 01:47 PM   #3327
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Can anybody explain why is it so for current government in US that trains must be profitable but interstates and road network can be subsidized (as we know the road network in US is subsidized).
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Old April 17th, 2017, 02:03 PM   #3328
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Because of the "**** yours I got mine" mentality. Many people use roads so see it as a benefit to themselves, there's less people who use those Amtrak routes. Politicians play into that.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 02:25 PM   #3329
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The effective range of most railway corridors is around 500 km.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 05:00 PM   #3330
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsmartman View Post
The effective range of most railway corridors is around 500 km.
Isn't it more appropriate to say "the effective range of demand for railway travel is ___km?"

What I mean is, the length and workable density depends a lot upon the amount of movement between intermediary/terminal locations.

Phrasing it as you did, while correct, gives the impression that demand for travel is derived from the distance as opposed to the utility of the trip.

They're definitely correlated; if anything, the latter could be a causal mechanism of the former (e.g. people are willing to travel farther as trip utility increases).

Modeling sensitivities that lead some to choose air, and others rail, is a lot more difficult, and I still tend to lean more towards the view that it has to do predominantly with flexibility and cost rather than speed, alone (for most, general travelers).

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Free entreprise principles will never allow to impose priority for passenger trains on private networks.
Except there exists a legal framework to do just that - which is why the private railroad companies were originally required to operate passenger service in exchange for generous land grants.

The railroads made out with the best outcome: the government nationalized passenger service (a loss leader) and not the ROW/infrastructure (assets). It's a historic mistake that can be easily and legally amended.

A simple solution would be to amend the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970 - and all related legislation - to reassert that these private railroads (specifically, in terms of their ROWs) are Common Carriers, and as such have responsibilities to 1) enable passenger service along their ROW if they won't operate it and 2) allow the government to seize abandoned/underutilized ROW (similarly to Regulatory Takings/Eminent Domain) that is necessary for passenger services.

If this occurs to you as being 'scary,' consider that governments do this with entities that landbank, absentee landlords, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
That is of course the other alternative : put enough money into the system to make a dependable service out of it. But even if this would get a political green light - which is very unlikely - the private ownership of the infrastructure would probably not allow it.
Which is why devolving the conversation into one in which we focus on who most deserves the remaining scraps of Federal funding won't turn out well, for anyone.

We can pretend that alleviating Amtrak of offering these services - by statute, their fiduciary responsibility, as a National [Common] Carrier - will mean increased investment, elsewhere; however, chipping away at the notion of there even being a National Interest in operating rail service will be a fait accompli in the desired goal of shunting all funding of what remains to the States/Local/Regional Governments.

I personally don't care what private, freight operators 'want.'
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Old April 17th, 2017, 05:47 PM   #3331
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I'm not completely convinced.
What caused all the problems with rail is the gouvernement getting involved.
Pennsylvania Railroad was investing heavily, but the rules kept getting tougher and tougher.

If the gouvernement isn't interested in railroads now, why would they be when making laws.
I firmly believe that by removing some laws it can be profitable for companies to start passenger travel again.
(example: disabled access to all stations and all platforms make it difficult to have a working, profitable line in the beginning; not being able to start other ventures (sprawl around stations) blocks attracting users to rail, etc...)

I hope you can see that there are two sides to the medal.
Personally I am all for public railroads, but I don't see it happening in the US. Better first making airlines cover WHOLE their costs (no free flight rights, airport use, kerosine without all the taxes, pollution, etc.)
Level the playing field
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Old April 17th, 2017, 06:54 PM   #3332
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Scary ? No, not really. Being European, I'm quite used to government interventionism, and also to much better options with regards to public transportation. No, this is more how I feel inspired by what we can observe from this side of the atlantic...
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Old April 17th, 2017, 11:51 PM   #3333
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
Scary ? No, not really. Being European, I'm quite used to government interventionism, and also to much better options with regards to public transportation. No, this is more how I feel inspired by what we can observe from this side of the atlantic...
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Old April 18th, 2017, 09:08 AM   #3334
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
Scary ? No, not really. Being European, I'm quite used to government interventionism, and also to much better options with regards to public transportation. No, this is more how I feel inspired by what we can observe from this side of the atlantic...
As we know railways in US and also in other parts of the World are proven rail can be profitable with all those capital costs included.

One big drawback in government interventionism I see is that the costs will be left background. There is no clear framework of let's call it farebox recovery system and it generates the feeling as roads are "free" what induces unfair conditions if to talk about fair competition in between the different modes.
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Old April 22nd, 2017, 03:07 PM   #3335
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Amtrak conductor reportedly tells harried NJ Transit riders to 'shut up'

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Originally Posted by NJ.com
NEW YORK -- An Amtrak conductor harangued commuters aboard a delayed NJ Transit train as they were exiting at Penn Station Friday morning, shouting at them to "keep walking and shut up," witnesses told News 4 New York.

The 6318 train was one of several NJ Transit trains running late Friday morning due to an Amtrak switch problem near Newark. The train entered Penn Station on Track 8 at 9:25 a.m., nearly an hour behind schedule, rider Aston Smith told News 4.

"We came off onto the platform as Amtrak was calling a Track 7 departure," Smith told News 4. "As Amtrak passengers were funneling down escalators in the down direction, they're hitting a mosh pit of debarking NJ Transit customers."

...
Read More: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/201..._nj_trans.html
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Old April 29th, 2017, 10:12 AM   #3336
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Commuter beats up Amtrak contractor inside Penn Station bathroom

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Originally Posted by NY Daily News
Penn Station became punch station when an unhinged commuter attacked a contractor working for Amtrak, officials said Friday.

Owiane Wilson was in a bathroom by the Amtrak platforms inside Penn Station about 11:30 p.m. Thursday when he began yelling at a contractor performing maintenance, officials said.

The worker informed Amtrak police, who ejected Wilson from the station. A few minutes later, Wilson returned to the bathroom and jumped the contractor, punching and kicking him in the face.

Witnesses alerted Amtrak police who grabbed Wilson and charged him with assault, harassment, resisting arrest and trespassing, an Amtrak spokesman said...
Read More: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...icle-1.3087131



The attack took place nearly a week after mass bedlam erupted inside Penn Station as Amtrak police Tasered 30-year-old Serge Theronier, officials said. (JEFFERSON SIEGEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
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Old May 5th, 2017, 05:16 AM   #3337
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Grand Central Terminal - New York City


































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Old May 5th, 2017, 05:17 AM   #3338
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In HD:


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Old May 8th, 2017, 01:20 AM   #3339
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So correct me if I am wrong, the budget deal that passed has preserved funding for Amtrak at previous year's amounts. So long distance trains survive another few years.

It's a common threat to cut them. At no point in the budget negotiations was the investments into the NEC and regional lines ever in question though.

I have mixed feelings about Amtrak long distance service but I STRONGLY disagree with those would like to shut them all down entirely. Closing hundreds of stations, scrapping multiple fleets of rolling stock, laying off staff, ending long-standing track usage agreements with the private sector freight railroads, would probably make it costly or impossible to restore service on any of those corridors once it goes away. It would mean a lot of the country would see no benefit in Amtrak at all and that would lead to negative political repercussions for the agency.

However, I do feel that a lot of those twice a week, overnight trains are money losers and not really relevant as transportation anymore. Instead there should be more regional trains along those routes. What I would do is identify current service corridors where there is either a need, a strong business case for better rail, or if not at least strong community support for it. If towns along the line have invested their own money into stations and advertise train service that needs to be an important factor.

For example, eliminate the Crescent as a New Orleans-NYC train. Then create a new train service that just goes from Charlotte to Atlanta, 2-3 round trips a day, and an Atlanta-Birmingham service as well. This greatly increases service on the segments of the route where there is the most demand, support, and need for it. This means you could focus investment on physical infrastructure as well, maybe even building a medium high speed upgraded corridor with 110-125 mph speeds.

That's how I'd reform Amtrak, along with commissioning a reliable major train builder like Alstom or Siemens to design and deliver a large fleet of go-anywhere FRA compliant DMU's.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 12:20 PM   #3340
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Interesting concept.

Wouldn't you try to easy those FRA regulations though?
I'm seeing a lot of positive evolutions in the US. Long in disarray, with the advance in technology GPS with EMTS balises are a cheap rollout of positive train control. (instead of rolling out hundreds of kilometers of cable for signaling)

I saw or read an article where some folks of some private railroad corporation were devolopping and rolling that out. It would be intersting and a real boon for them to join the EU effort for EMTS 3.0 (GSM-R).

Let the rivalry begin
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