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Old February 22nd, 2008, 04:08 AM   #421
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Our government doesn't give a shit about infrastructure, so that's probably as good as it will get.
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 04:22 AM   #422
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Our government doesn't give a shit about infrastructure, so that's probably as good as it will get.
I think you mean rail infrastructure...there always seems to be plenty of dollars to go around for highways and interstates.

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Old February 22nd, 2008, 04:25 AM   #423
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I don't know how it is in Florida, but even our highways here are in desperate need of repair.
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 05:55 PM   #424
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Well, the interstates here are usually pretty good, we do not have snow and ice to contend with so I suppose that helps; as for the highways, they are generally good, but of course it depends on the county and if it is a major road or not....but passenger rail is absolutely terrible; there are only two trains a day from most stations, and they are all the regular service that has to share the whole track with freight service.

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Old February 23rd, 2008, 05:44 AM   #425
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Because building a dedicated fast track is much more expensive, and therefore much less likely.

Upgrading the existing track would be a waste of money.


http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/...gh-speed_n.htm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even if it spent $7 billion on track upgrades, Amtrak couldn't reduce the travel time between Washington and New York to less than 2 hours and 20 minutes, which is only 25 minutes less than the trip now takes, the company's president told Congress on Wednesday.

The statement by Alex Kummant came during a presentation on the federally funded railroad's capital needs. During the hearing, members of the House transportation committee expressed frustration about the lack of truly high-speed rail service in the U.S.

The closest thing Amtrak has to high-speed service is the Acela Express, the railroad's premier Washington-Boston train, which travels at an average speed of 82 miles per hour and reaches 150 mph in parts of Rhode Island and Connecticut. In other parts of the country, where Amtrak runs trains on congested tracks owned by the freight railroads, speeds can be far slower and delays are frequent.

But even on the northeast corridor, it would be impossible to maintain speeds of 125 to 150 mph on the entire route using the current infrastructure, which Amtrak shares with numerous commuter lines and some freight carriers, Kummant has said. Such speeds — which could cut the trip from Washington to New York down to about an hour and a half — would require a dedicated line, he reiterated Wednesday.

"We'd be very enthusiastic about a major high-speed corridor," Kummant told the rail subcommittee. "Our reality is the system we run today."

The Washington-New York segment currently takes 2 hours and 45 minutes on the Acela. Investing $625 million in upgrades would allow Amtrak to reduce that time to 2 ½ hours. A full overhaul, including several new tunnels and bridges, would cost $7 billion, but even that would only achieve a trip time of 2 hours and 20 minutes, with an average speed of 97 mph, Kummant said.

Building a dedicated line for high-speed service like France's TGV would cost $10 billion, and that doesn't even include the amount that would have to be spent on real estate acquisition in some of the most urbanized parts of the country, Kummant said.

Rep. John Mica of Florida, the ranking Republican on the transportation committee, has long advocated creating European-style high-speed rail on the northeast corridor with private capital. On Wednesday, he estimated such a project would cost $32 billion.

Committee Chairman James Oberstar, D-Minn., said that while there was no consensus on how high-speed service should be achieved, "that we get there is something that I think no one can dispute anymore."

But Kummant cautioned that overseeing a $32 billion project would be a serious challenge for Amtrak without significant changes in the organization. The railroad is better equipped to handle projects in the vicinity of $200 million.

"If you wrote us a check today, if I were you, I would be very wary of the execution," he said.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 05:49 AM   #426
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Well, the interstates here are usually pretty good, we do not have snow and ice to contend with so I suppose that helps; as for the highways, they are generally good, but of course it depends on the county and if it is a major road or not....but passenger rail is absolutely terrible; there are only two trains a day from most stations, and they are all the regular service that has to share the whole track with freight service.

Steve
Snow and ice are bitches that we have to contend up here. They do an excellent job of making the roads pothole-filled (I was wondering to myself once, "and this is the richest country in the world?", when I was driving). I remember the roads buckling once when it was hot in the summer.

Supposedly, our DOT is so bad that they are breaking it up. Connecticut will have three new departments soon...one for highways, another for mass transit, and one to administer our airport and seaports.

As for the passenger rail. It sucks. We don't have commuter rail, so we get only Amtrak. Most other cities in Connecticut have commuter rail to New York, but not Hartford. The train comes much more than twice a day (it comes like 6 or 7, not sure), but compared to what it can be, it's lacking.

As for frieght...we don't have much freight rail anyway, so it's not an issue.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 06:45 PM   #427
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^ I think I read in a book the Hiawatha once went 164 mph, certainly high speed!

I rode the Amtrak to Chicago before. It is not that fast. It was 4 hours late because a freight train caught on fire in Milwaukee.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 06:51 PM   #428
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^ I have heard they want to possible combine the SLE into the NHL, and possibly extend the NHL to Springfield. It doesn't seem that anything will happen soon.

It would be cool if they kicked the fright off the NEC, and then buy those new AGV trainsets from France. Cut the number of stops, upgrade the caternary, and lower the fare. The fares are pricey when you could just get a Greyhound, Peter Pan or Chinatown bus.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 06:56 PM   #429
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There is a plan for a new line from Minneapolis to Duluth. It will run at 110 mph. They said 125 would require grade seperation and there would not be much time savings. They also considered 150 but it would probably require the line to be electrified. It is being called a commuter rail, so I don't know if Amtrak will run the service. A plan was recently approved by some politicians in Minneapolis and Duluth, and it could open in 2012.

Sorry, there is no website yet.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 09:01 PM   #430
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standing room only

Published Friday, February 22, 2008, by the Oakland Tribune

Train seats getting scarce
Long-haul intercity trains can hardly meet demand


By Erik N. Nelson
Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO -- While most of their co-workers were still snug in their
beds, about 60 of the Bay Area's hardiest commuters milled about the
platform at Sacramento's Amtrak station, waiting to board the Capitol
Corridor's first train of the day.

After a few minutes, the doors opened on Train 521, and the bleary-
eyed travelers climbed aboard.

With a departure time of 4:30 a.m., it's known as the Oh-My-God
Train.

"It's a quiet train. If you walk through the train, a lot of people
are asleep," said Betty Digilio, a 45-year-old Sacramento resident
who starts work at 6:30 a.m. at the East Bay Municipal Utility
District in Oakland.

It's not as quiet as Eugene Skoropowski expected, however. As the
Capitol Corridor's managing director, he launched the early run in
2006 thinking it might be popular with San Jose-bound commuters
boarding in Oakland, where it arrives at the more human time of
6:21 a.m.

But a year-and-a-half later, about a third of the train's average of
140 to 180 passengers board in Sacramento, and those numbers keep
climbing at all times of the day.

The Corridor and California's two other intercity rail lines, the San
Joaquins from Oakland to Bakersfield and the Pacific Surfliner trains
from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, carry 20 percent of Amtrak's
nationwide passengers.

While ridership on those California routes has grown 43 percent to
5 million annual trips in 2007, vehicle miles in the state have gone
up only 8 percent, and the population has risen 11 percent. State
funding for this fast-growing sector has not kept pace, however.

So five hours after Train 521 departed, Oakland-based Skoropowski
was also in Sacramento, sitting down with legislators and officials
from the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority and their
counterparts who run the other two railroads.

A daylong series of meetings and events calls attention to the fact
that as travelers and commuters clamor for seats on their trains,
officials struggle to expand service to meet that demand.

Since a voter-approved bond jump-started the Capitol Corridor in
1990, the line has received only sporadic capital funding from
state coffers averaging only about $578,000 a year.

"We have worked very hard with the dollars that have been given to
us," said Forrest Williams, a San Jose city councilman who chairs
the joint powers authority that governs the Capitol Corridor, "but
we have reached that point where we cannot expand any more" without
compromising service.

Some relief is in the works from a new state-wide transportation
bond, which will pump $400 million into intercity rail improvements.
Last year the Legislature budgeted $187 million of that, of which
$150 million will pay for six new trains -- two for each of the
three rail routes.

To keep pace with burgeoning demand, officials said they will need a
stable source of income such as the state program that helps maintain
local streets and roads. The fund should start at about $55 million a
year and rise at the same rate as ridership, they argued.

The rail advocates are also backing the development of a fourth
line, starting with one train a day, that provide the "missing link"
between the Capitol Corridor's terminus in San Jose and the Pacific
Surfliner's northernmost station in San Luis Obispo.

Robert Oakes, transportation policy aide to Sen. Tom Torlakson,
D-Antioch, said that while the senator always has been supportive
of intercity rail, he was surprised to hear of standing-room-only
trains.

"That's really good news, but you don't want to scare people away,"
he said. "It's one thing to stand on BART. It's another thing to
stand for an hour and a half on the Capitol Corridor."


Contact Erik Nelson at [email protected] or 510-208-6410
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 09:53 PM   #431
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brice View Post
Upgrading the existing track would be a waste of money.


http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/...gh-speed_n.htm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even if it spent $7 billion on track upgrades, Amtrak couldn't reduce the travel time between Washington and New York to less than 2 hours and 20 minutes, which is only 25 minutes less than the trip now takes, the company's president told Congress on Wednesday.

The statement by Alex Kummant came during a presentation on the federally funded railroad's capital needs. During the hearing, members of the House transportation committee expressed frustration about the lack of truly high-speed rail service in the U.S.

The closest thing Amtrak has to high-speed service is the Acela Express, the railroad's premier Washington-Boston train, which travels at an average speed of 82 miles per hour and reaches 150 mph in parts of Rhode Island and Connecticut. In other parts of the country, where Amtrak runs trains on congested tracks owned by the freight railroads, speeds can be far slower and delays are frequent.

But even on the northeast corridor, it would be impossible to maintain speeds of 125 to 150 mph on the entire route using the current infrastructure, which Amtrak shares with numerous commuter lines and some freight carriers, Kummant has said. Such speeds — which could cut the trip from Washington to New York down to about an hour and a half — would require a dedicated line, he reiterated Wednesday.

"We'd be very enthusiastic about a major high-speed corridor," Kummant told the rail subcommittee. "Our reality is the system we run today."

The Washington-New York segment currently takes 2 hours and 45 minutes on the Acela. Investing $625 million in upgrades would allow Amtrak to reduce that time to 2 ½ hours. A full overhaul, including several new tunnels and bridges, would cost $7 billion, but even that would only achieve a trip time of 2 hours and 20 minutes, with an average speed of 97 mph, Kummant said.

Building a dedicated line for high-speed service like France's TGV would cost $10 billion, and that doesn't even include the amount that would have to be spent on real estate acquisition in some of the most urbanized parts of the country, Kummant said.

Rep. John Mica of Florida, the ranking Republican on the transportation committee, has long advocated creating European-style high-speed rail on the northeast corridor with private capital. On Wednesday, he estimated such a project would cost $32 billion.

Committee Chairman James Oberstar, D-Minn., said that while there was no consensus on how high-speed service should be achieved, "that we get there is something that I think no one can dispute anymore."

But Kummant cautioned that overseeing a $32 billion project would be a serious challenge for Amtrak without significant changes in the organization. The railroad is better equipped to handle projects in the vicinity of $200 million.

"If you wrote us a check today, if I were you, I would be very wary of the execution," he said.
"Current infrastructure" is different from "current right of way". I think you're missing my point, which is that there is a snowball's chance in hell of us condemning new parcels wholesale for a new corridor. You can go 200mph in the current corridor, you'd just have to build entirely new infrastructure - which is still cheaper than new land. Also, that 97mph average is probably including existing stops...
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Old February 24th, 2008, 06:53 AM   #432
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^ I have heard they want to possible combine the SLE into the NHL, and possibly extend the NHL to Springfield. It doesn't seem that anything will happen soon.

It would be cool if they kicked the fright off the NEC, and then buy those new AGV trainsets from France. Cut the number of stops, upgrade the caternary, and lower the fare. The fares are pricey when you could just get a Greyhound, Peter Pan or Chinatown bus.
Commuter rail is coming to Hartford/Springfield via New Haven. It will be here in 2010 or 2011. But it would be rather limited in service...better than nothing, really. The DOT (or whatever it will be now) is looking at asking either Amtrak or the MTA to maintain the network. If it is the MTA, the commuter rail will be integrated into the Metro North network for sure...it will be probably called the Hartford branch of the New Haven Line or something.



Anyway, The SLE is already run by Amtrak, so unless the MTA gains control of it, it won't be integrated into the network. But it's de-facto in it...Shore Line East trains go all the way to Stamford daily, I believe.

As for the prices...either way, it's pricey to get into New York from here. Greyhound is NOT cheap...$48/round trip. We don't get the deals that the other cities get for some reason. I heard of a Chinatown bus servicing Hartford, but I think it only comes once at day.
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Old February 26th, 2008, 12:42 AM   #433
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Only a few SLE trains go to Stamford. Most end at New Haven. Only 1 train goes to New London though.
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Old February 27th, 2008, 12:39 AM   #434
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If we designed them to withstand freight collisions and derailments with freight standards, we would do horrible amounts of damage to the rail network. Tier II laws (obsolete and extremely stupid) force passenger trains to be heavier than they should be, wapring and crushing rails in the process, requiring increased amounts of track repair that cost ungodly amounts of money. If we look at European and Japanese passenger trains, they are extremely lightweight yet have incredibly higher safety records and run more efficiently. If we separate freight and passenger enough and eliminate level crossings, safety will become extremely better and performance will improve.


Well something needs to be done, Amtrak trains are derailing left and right from hitting pickup trucks and tow trucks. There was one incidents in Georgia where a towtruck injured 40 people in the train and flipped all the cars over.

American Trains are built horribly, yes trains are very fragile and are easily destroyed by road vehicles but still, safety can be improved, like the trains in Europe.
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Old February 27th, 2008, 03:13 PM   #435
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Trains should not be fragile. Here's a derailment at 100mph, all vehicles remain intact



This train hit a car at 120mph, derailed and stayed upright and in tact. It was only the unfortunate coincidence of a freight train coming the other way that it collided with half a mile later that caused many deaths. 10 died.

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Old February 27th, 2008, 10:08 PM   #436
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Another example... American trains are built like shit, In the US, the car always wins...


GLENDALE, CALIF. - A suicidal man parked his SUV on the railroad tracks and set off a crash of two commuter trains Wednesday that hurled passengers down the aisles and turned rail cars into smoking, twisted heaps of steel, authorities said. At least 10 people were killed and more than 180 injured.
The SUV driver got out at the last moment and survived.

The collision took place just before daybreak on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Employees at a Costco store rushed to the scene and pulled riders from the tipped-over double-deck cars before the flames reached them. Dazed passengers staggered from the wreckage, some limping. One elderly man on the train was covered in blood and soot, his legs and arms apparently broken.

"I heard a noise. It got louder and louder," said passenger Diane Brady, 56. "And next thing I knew the train tilted, everyone was screaming and I held onto a pole for dear life. I held on for what seemed like a week and a half it seemed. It was a complete nightmare."

Dozens of the injured were in critical condition, and more than 120 people were sent to hospitals in the nation's deadliest train accident in nearly six years. Killed were one woman and nine men, including sheriff's Deputy James Tutino, 47, whose flag-draped body was saluted by law officers and firefighters as it was carried from the wreckage.

Before his rescue, one trapped man apparently used his own blood to write a note on a seat bottom. Using the heart symbol, he wrote "I love my kids" and "I love Leslie." The man's identity was not known, but Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Rex Vilaubi said the man was alive when he was removed.

The wreck set in motion a huge rescue operation involving more than 300 firefighters, some of whom climbed ladders to reach the windows of the battered train cars. A triage center was set up in a parking lot, where the injured lay sprawled on color-colded mats - red for those with severe injuries, green for those less seriously hurt.

Authorities said Juan Manuel Alvarez, 25, of Compton, parked his sport utility vehicle on the tracks and got out before a Metrolink train smashed into the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The train then derailed and collided with another train going in the opposite direction. That train also jumped the tracks.

Alvarez was arrested and expected to be booked for investigation of a "homicide-related offense," said police Sgt. Tom Lorenz. Alvarez had also slashed his wrists and stabbed himself, but the injuries were not life-threatening. Authorities said Alvarez had a criminal record that involved drugs. District Attorney Steve Cooley said no decision had been made on charges in the wreck.

"This whole incident was started by a deranged individual that was suicidal," Glendale Police Chief Randy Adams said. "I think his intent at that time was to take his own life but changed his mind prior to the train actually striking this vehicle."

Alvarez's sister-in-law, Maricela Amaya, told Telemundo TV that he had separated from his wife, Carmelita, three months ago. She said the wife got a court order to keep him away, but he had tried to see his wife and son.

"He was having problems with drugs and all that and was violent and because of that he separated from her," Amaya said in Spanish. "A few other times he went around as if he wanted to kill himself. I said if you're going to kill yourself, go kill yourself far away. Don't come by here telling that to my sister."

She said he had also threatened suicide in front of his son.

According to the request for a temporary restraining order, which was granted Dec. 14, Carmelita Alvarez said her husband "threatened to take our kid away and to hurt my family members."

"He is planning on selling his vehicle to buy and gun and threatened to use it," she said in the court documents. "He is using drugs and has been in and out of rehab twice."

The crash occurred at about 6 a.m. in an industrial area of Glendale, a suburb north of Los Angeles. One train was headed for Los Angeles' Union Station from Moorpark, a western suburb. The other train was outbound from Union Station to the San Fernando Valley.

Costco employee Jenny Doll said trapped passengers - some severely injured - screamed for help as flames raced toward the front of the train car and smoke and diesel fumes filled the air. Forklift operators, truck drivers and stock clerks from Costco worked side-by-side to pull victims out, using store carts to wheel some of the most severely injured to safety.

"There were people stuck in the front. Everything was mangled," Doll said. "You could not even tell that it was a train cab at all."

It was the worst U.S. rail tragedy since March 15, 1999, when an Amtrak train hit a truck and derailed near Bourbonnais, Ill., killing 11 people and injuring more than 100.

Investigators from the FBI, National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Railroad Administration were sent.

Past crashes have raised questions about whether rail lines should be separated from roadways to prevent the possibility of vehicles getting onto train tracks. But Wednesday's tragedy also drew criticism over the configuration of the train that struck the SUV.

Timothy Smith, state legislative chairman for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, faulted the rail line for its use of the "cab-car" to lead the train, with the locomotive pushing from the rear. Unlike a locomotive, a cab car has a small control booth for the engineer, along with passenger seating.

If the heavier locomotive was at the front of the train, Smith said, it would have probably pushed the vehicle off the tracks and avoided a derailment. Having a locomotive pushing from the rear also creates an "accordion" effect on the middle cars, increasing damage, he said.
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Old February 27th, 2008, 11:52 PM   #437
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Another example... American trains are built like shit, In the US, the car always wins...



The car doesn't always win...
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Old February 28th, 2008, 12:12 AM   #438
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GLENDALE, CALIF. - A suicidal man parked his SUV on the railroad tracks and set off a crash of two commuter trains Wednesday that hurled passengers down the aisles and turned rail cars into smoking, twisted heaps of steel, authorities said. At least 10 people were killed and more than 180 injured.
The SUV driver got out at the last moment and survived.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 12:42 AM   #439
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Amtrak train hits car

Amtrak train hits truck

Train hits car (staged test)
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Old February 28th, 2008, 01:16 AM   #440
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rp-GzO7q0c8

Watch what happens when a frieght engine hits a 40 ton log truck, splits it right in two. No derailment, passengers would be ok.


Also this safety video is really interesting, why we don't do this is beyond me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rp-GzO7q0c8
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