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Old January 26th, 2008, 01:15 AM   #341
UrbanBen
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Originally Posted by Facial View Post
And above that, very powerful people who ensure to brainwash us into thinking that cars and petroleum are the only and best way for living, and who love to greenwash themselves and their industry on page-wide newspaper ads and television commercials...
Oh yeah, I don't disagree with that (or what xote said), I just know we can't change that until we change our local policies.
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Old January 26th, 2008, 05:15 AM   #342
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15 cents sounds like too little.

23 cents per gallon gas, 7 cents per gallon diesel sounds more like it to me. Quite simply put, the people who guzzle the most will pay more, but at the same rate as everyone else including those who conserve their gas.

Also, as former California gov. Gray Davis wanted, we need to triple the car tax.
Counting state fuel taxes, Connecticut has a 62 cent fuel tax.

The result? One of the highest gas prices in the nation.

Yet, car usage is in the 90th percentile.
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Old January 26th, 2008, 05:30 PM   #343
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That would definitely be a no brainer, but as pathetic as it sounds, Hartford and Providence are not directly connected by rail (or highway, for that matter). There are rail lines between the cities indirectly, but they are mostly abandoned or taken out. I wish it was possible though.
I had an idea for an HSR line for the Acela Express that would alleviate the 90mph restriction that would split from the NEC, go up to Danbury, Waterbury, and Hartford to rejoin at Providence. It would reduce travel time by over 45 minutes assuming speeds of 135-150mph.
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Old January 26th, 2008, 08:09 PM   #344
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I had an idea for an HSR line for the Acela Express that would alleviate the 90mph restriction that would split from the NEC, go up to Danbury, Waterbury, and Hartford to rejoin at Providence. It would reduce travel time by over 45 minutes assuming speeds of 135-150mph.
Why not just eliminate the grade crossings? Or is there another speed limitation in that section?
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Old January 28th, 2008, 10:00 AM   #345
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Why not just building a dedicated fast track? :P
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Old January 30th, 2008, 03:51 AM   #346
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Originally Posted by Songoten2554 View Post
hello does anyone want to add some points into this i am getting viewers
I would imagine once there's a government financing program in place, that the rail-lines will be electrified faster-than-you-can-shake-a-stick-at-it.

....

In northeastern BC (Canada), there was once a freight line that was electrified, with specially built loco's... 6,000 kW, or something like that. The number is right, the unit may be wrong. The line was built to service a couple of coal mines, off the BCR mainline. The main reason for the electrification as I remember it was, because there was a very long tunnel, and there were ventilation problems with diesel.

Any way, long story short, the railway didn't seem too keen in running the system. I seem to remember there were maintenance problems with the one-of-a-kind loco's. Then the coal price plummeted, and the railway got a special dispensation to run diesel loco's. I'll see if I can't find a link.

...

Also that "new" tunnel that the CPR has in the Rockies (built late 1980's) was bored out oversize to accommodate for future electrification catenary.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 05:56 PM   #347
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Originally Posted by Trainman Dave View Post
Over the last five years, I have not noticed any difference between the airports in the US and in Europe. They are all over crowed and the skies are seriously congested
I can't speak to air travel in NA vs Europe, but I will say their motorways are, for the most part, a LOT better than those found in the US and Canada.
I could ALMOST live with our poor rail service if our roads and highways were much better than those found in Europe...but they're not. So for all of the talk about the US and its highways lobby, we can't even get that right.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 07:23 PM   #348
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Originally Posted by foxmulder View Post
Why not just building a dedicated fast track? :P
Because building a dedicated fast track is much more expensive, and therefore much less likely.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 07:27 PM   #349
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I can't speak to air travel in NA vs Europe, but I will say their motorways are, for the most part, a LOT better than those found in the US and Canada.
I could ALMOST live with our poor rail service if our roads and highways were much better than those found in Europe...but they're not. So for all of the talk about the US and its highways lobby, we can't even get that right.
There's a simple reason we "can't get it right". Building a stretch of highway encourages development around it that is lower density than that required to recover the taxes necessary to pay for the extension that enabled it. As we expand our highways, we become less able to pay to maintain them.

In the absence of national land use policy, like European nations and Japan have.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 08:31 PM   #350
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why is it that the United States one of the greatest countries in the world has a third world railway network that is something i am figuring out why???
Do you mean passenger rail? We don't have a 3rd world railway network, we just have a poor passenger rail network.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_A...eetcar_Scandal

Quote:
U.S. railways carried 427 billion ton-miles of cargo annually in 1930. This increased to 750 billion ton-miles by 1975 and had doubled to 1.5 trillion ton-miles in 2005.[1][2] In the 1950s, the U.S. and Europe moved roughly the same percentage of freight by rail; but, by 2000, the share of U.S. rail freight was 38% while in Europe only 8% of freight traveled by rail.[3] In 1997, while U.S. trains moved 2,165 billion ton-kilometers of freight, the 15-nation European Union moved only 238 billion ton-kilometers of freight.[4]
There are over 228,500 KM of railway in the US.....

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Old January 30th, 2008, 09:27 PM   #351
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Do you mean passenger rail? We don't have a 3rd world railway network, we just have a poor passenger rail network.
Agreed. I've *been* to third world countries with higher levels of service. Remember that we also have more freight than anyone else, and we're bigger consumers than anyone else. Our highway freight is higher than everyone else as well.

In terms of what to do about the passenger rail part:

1) Support local commuter rail. This is where your long-haul ridership comes from - those commuter rail stations that share Amtrak stations are key to sustainably creating a passenger base. Dense urban development around these stations should be encouraged. Park-and-rides, while an acceptable stopgap measure, are generally not conducive to long-haul riders - once a passenger is bringing baggage, mode change from car to train is much less likely.

2) Support light rail. The same reasons apply as commuter rail, but because light rail tends to be electric, people become aware of the differences between diesel and electric trains (noise, for one thing) and get used to riding on better quality track than that shared with freight. I can't reiterate enough - intercity rail simply won't survive unless a good percentage of potential users have urban rail. Until people are used to being riders instead of drivers, they will drive intercity.

3) Support state funded intercity service. Amtrak Cascades is my local example - Washington State supports Seattle-Portland and Seattle-Vancouver BC round trips, and has been funding small, incremental service upgrades. Our Sound Transit commuter rail service, Sounder, has also paid for upgrades to BNSF track that have benefited Amtrak Cascades. An upcoming project will actually separate freight and passenger traffic in an old corridor now owned by Sound Transit, and there are future plans to add state-owned passenger bypass tracks in other parts of the corridor. This all requires money, which means lobbying by us!

Things to keep in mind here:
- Maglev is ridiculous given how hard the fight is just to get another round trip a day. Start small.
- New corridors just aren't happening except in limited regard - even the California High Speed Rail Project is using mostly existing right-of-way. Don't eschew small upgrades just because they're owned by freight railroads.

I would say that CalTrain is our best hope for near-term electrification. Freight electrification will only happen when diesel gets even more expensive - without a subsidy or property tax break (which could be a good idea, possible at the state level), we're not going to see that soon.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 10:45 PM   #352
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The *ONLY* way there will be a wholesale electrification of North America's railroad network is if/when the economic numbers are there for it. That is, if the price/availability of petroleum fuels gets worse than the cost of electrification. Remember that to install an electrification, it requires building new and expanded power plants, new and expanded wholesale power lines (can you say NIMBY?), stringing the catenary wire, buying an entire fleet of new locomotives and new shop space and parts lines for them, along with ongoing maintenance and energy costs. No small change.

Mike
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Old January 30th, 2008, 11:35 PM   #353
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The *ONLY* way there will be a wholesale electrification of North America's railroad network is if/when the economic numbers are there for it. That is, if the price/availability of petroleum fuels gets worse than the cost of electrification. Remember that to install an electrification, it requires building new and expanded power plants, new and expanded wholesale power lines (can you say NIMBY?), stringing the catenary wire, buying an entire fleet of new locomotives and new shop space and parts lines for them, along with ongoing maintenance and energy costs. No small change.

Mike
Yeah, but it all comes down to electricity being cheaper than petroleum (in terms of system cost to a given railroad). Electricity won't suddenly become a fixed amount cheaper - they'll start diverging. At that point, the rate at which they diverge will almost immediately overwhelm fixed costs - it'll just be a matter of leveraging the capital necessary. The railroads' access to liquid capital will be all that matters.

In terms of NIMBYism in electrical generation - this year we've got Nanosolar shipping (or so we hope) $1/watt panels, with a target of 30c/watt. It's just going to be a matter of time before the grid adapts, and we already have hydros strategically placed across the country to serve as phase locks. NIMBYs don't really affect distributed solar, and while you're right that they continue to be a problem for wind generation, that is changing.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 06:06 AM   #354
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Why not just eliminate the grade crossings? Or is there another speed limitation in that section?
How about the entire MNRR New Haven line that's limited to 90mph?
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Old January 31st, 2008, 07:10 AM   #355
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How about the entire MNRR New Haven line that's limited to 90mph?
I'm not familiar with it, but is it limited because it's not grade separated? Or just because of curves, or signals?
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Old January 31st, 2008, 07:30 AM   #356
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Originally Posted by UrbanBen View Post
Yeah, but it all comes down to electricity being cheaper than petroleum (in terms of system cost to a given railroad). Electricity won't suddenly become a fixed amount cheaper - they'll start diverging. At that point, the rate at which they diverge will almost immediately overwhelm fixed costs - it'll just be a matter of leveraging the capital necessary. The railroads' access to liquid capital will be all that matters.

In terms of NIMBYism in electrical generation - this year we've got Nanosolar shipping (or so we hope) $1/watt panels, with a target of 30c/watt. It's just going to be a matter of time before the grid adapts, and we already have hydros strategically placed across the country to serve as phase locks. NIMBYs don't really affect distributed solar, and while you're right that they continue to be a problem for wind generation, that is changing.
I was thinking more of major power transmission lines as being NIMBY fodder. It seems like every major new 345 Kv transmission line that is proposed here in Wisconsin, for example, gets all the lawyers and enviro-whackos out of hiding and into the courtroom. And a typical mainline freight train here in Wisconsin requires 6-8 megawatts (two AC4400CW or equivalent locomotives) to adequately power - and add another 2-3 MW for climbing Byron Hill on CN's ex WC, nee SOO mainline southbound out of Fond du Lac, WI. A general rule of thumb that I use is that each 100 MW capacity of power plant requires about one 120 car (about 14,000 t) trainload of coal per week to feed.

Those are not just 'plug into the wall' amounts of power.

Mike
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Old January 31st, 2008, 09:30 AM   #357
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Amtrak identifies 2 potential Virginia routes
30 January 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) - Amtrak says the most promising routes for additional Virginia passenger train service are from Washington to Lynchburg and Washington to Newport News.

The railroad says in a report that the Interstate 95 corridor from Washington to Richmond has the greatest potential, but that adding service to Lynchburg would be easier.

Amtrak has cars in storage that could be used for the train, and Norfolk Southern tracks it would use are in good shape.

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transit asked Amtrak to identify new markets as part of its statewide rail plan.

Amtrak says it could add a train to Lynchburg if the state subsidizes the operation with nearly $2 million a year, plus an undetermined amount for capital costs.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 06:14 PM   #358
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Could Amtrak service through southern Idaho return?
27 January 2008

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) - The stars may be aligning for a return of the Amtrak Pioneer passenger train to make a comeback in Idaho, politicians and an Amtrak official say.

The Pioneer route between Salt Lake City and Seattle was discontinued in 1997 after losing $20 million the previous year.

Although Amtrak has never returned a discontinued route to service, Don Saunders, Amtrak's vice president for state and commuter partnerships, said passenger rail expansion is more likely now than it has been during his 20-year career.

Legislation will soon be presented in the U.S. House of Representatives to bring back the Pioneer, U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, told the Idaho State Journal.

Simpson said the House version calls for continuation of the route, rather than to simply study the route that was contained in a version approved by the U.S. Senate last year.

"I'd like to do more than just the study," Simpson said. "I'm optimistic we can move this along and one day, hopefully not far from now, we can get the Pioneer route back."

Under the Senate version, Amtrak would receive $11.4 billion over the next six years. The House version might involve a different dollar figure and require the resurrection the Pioneer and other routes Amtrak has eliminated through the years, Simpson said.

Amtrak President and CEO Alex Kummant has voiced strong support for the Pioneer feasibility study.

Legislation to bring the Pioneer back could be completed this year, Simpson said.

Amtrak started the Pioneer in 1977, about six years after Union Pacific got out of the passenger rail business.

Simpson said Congress has changed its mind about requiring Amtrak pay for itself as the cost of gasoline continues to rise and airline ticket prices soar.

"The Pioneer went away because the ridership didn't measure up to the cost to do it," Simpson said. "But that was back when gas was a buck a gallon. I'd think that now you'd see an increased use of the Pioneer from when it was there last."

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said he would prefer legislation to bring back the Pioneer, rather than a feasibility study of the route.

"If the House can succeed in including language that directs a reopening of the line, it's a much preferable solution and I'm very supportive of that,"

Crapo agreed the climate toward passenger rail is different than in the 1990s, when Congress put funding restrictions on Amtrak, resulting in the rail service cutting the Pioneer and other routes.

Retiring U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, U.S. Rep. Bill Sali and Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter do not want to bring the Pioneer back without a feasibility study. Otter might be the toughest sell.

The governor's position on mass transit is that it needs to pay for itself, Otter spokesman Jon Hanian said.

Saunders said if Congress passes legislation to bring back the Pioneer, the passenger service could return in the next three to five years.

It could take three years just to get the engines and passenger cars needed for the route, he said.

"We don't have the cars for the Pioneer service. We don't have any extra equipment left," Saunders said. "Our equipment demand is at full capacity."

Restarting the Pioneer would involve examining the old route and possibly making changes to it, he said.

It would take a cooperative effort from the federal government, communities and states along the Pioneer route, Amtrak and Union Pacific, Saunders said. And it would likely require state funding, as well as federal dollars, he said.

Saunders said Amtrak is interested in the Pioneer because of the two corridors that make up the route Salt Lake City to Boise, and Nampa to Portland, Ore.

Amtrak believes there's enough growth potential along both corridors to warrant further study, he said.

Passenger rail is a more energy efficient form of travel than automobile or airliner, Saunders said. Coupled with congestion on U.S. highways and the inconvenience of air travel, it is the right time to push for new passenger rail routes, Saunders said.

Among the others who feel the time is right for the Pioneer's return are Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, a GOP candidate for the Senate seat Craig will vacate when he retires.

Risch said bringing the Pioneer back is a great idea that most Idahoans would support.

McCall Democrat Larry LaRocco, Risch's opponent in the Senate race, also wants the Pioneer to make a comeback.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 12:41 AM   #359
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Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
I was thinking more of major power transmission lines as being NIMBY fodder. It seems like every major new 345 Kv transmission line that is proposed here in Wisconsin, for example, gets all the lawyers and enviro-whackos out of hiding and into the courtroom. And a typical mainline freight train here in Wisconsin requires 6-8 megawatts (two AC4400CW or equivalent locomotives) to adequately power - and add another 2-3 MW for climbing Byron Hill on CN's ex WC, nee SOO mainline southbound out of Fond du Lac, WI. A general rule of thumb that I use is that each 100 MW capacity of power plant requires about one 120 car (about 14,000 t) trainload of coal per week to feed.

Those are not just 'plug into the wall' amounts of power.

Mike
None of the power where I live comes from coal - we have hydro and wind. I have to say, I haven't heard a peep about power constraints from our new light rail system - 35 light rail vehicles, each 90 tons. I suspect you're talking about a problem that really isn't part of the public discussion here - let's address that if it actually *becomes* a problem. If we're building in urban areas, new transmission lines probably won't be necessary.

Note that CA's HSR project hasn't run into any discussion of electrical capacity.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 12:42 AM   #360
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Fantastic! As a Seattlite, I'd love another new destination.
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