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Old June 21st, 2008, 10:45 AM   #481
hoosier
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The US has plenty of money to build dedicated HSR corridors all across the country. But it has a White House that can't stand to spend money domestically unless it goes to building an advanced security state. The rest of our tax dollars go to the black hole known as the Department of Defense and two wars.

Oh well, these things have a way of working themselves out. As China invests in its infrastructure, the US lags behind and its economy and quality of life suffer as a result.
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Old June 21st, 2008, 10:24 PM   #482
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Originally Posted by He Named Thor View Post
Awesome awesome awesome!

Hopefully this money gets put to good use. It's about time Amtrak was actually given some. Just gotta make sure the White House doesn't screw this up.
I hope that Amtrak uses some of this cash to upgrade its existing networks. There seems to be a lot of focus on upgrading the DC - New York route, which already has relatively high speed trains that make it more convenient in some cases to air travel.

Meanwhile they have all of these aging routes down the East Coast that could be upgraded a lot more cost-effectively than the lines served by Acela. Train travel is definitely up - I considered buying a train ticket from Tampa to New York because of the rising cost of flight (used to be able to get $150 round trip a couple of years ago...) The two trains they run daily from Florida to Washington - Silver Star and Silver Meteor, are both booked for weeks.

However, these routes still take about 20 hours because of ancient infrastructure and frequent stops. I'd consider taking the train up if I had multiple stops to make on the way, or if I weren't in an enormous hurry. As it is, trains are somewhat attractive because a) flying isn't all that cheap anymore; b) driving is horrendously expensive; c) I wouldn't have the headaches of driving cross-country; and d) I wouldn't have to deal with the hassles of post-9/11 air travel.

I think Amtrak's priorities should be expansion and upgrade of their rolling stock, followed by track and tunnel construction to cut travel times. Imagine if it were possible to travel Florida to DC in 8 hours. I'd take that over flying any day.

And that's not to even mention that Amtrak's gaps in service are nuts. There's no direct way to get from Tampa to Atlanta - to do that by train I would have to travel to DC, and then DC to Atlanta - over 30 hours of travel time. I can drive it in 8.

I'm guessing that such gaps are a relic of the old private lines that Amtrak took over - Amtrak has been essentially babysitting most of these lines without any regard for the ways in which route demand has changed. There really ought to be something of a hub and spoke system in the long range planning, with major hub-hub routes equipped for high-speed travel, and then slower spoke routes.

If gas prices stay high, I bet there will be room in the budget for finally advancing train travel in this country beyond the 1930s.

Last edited by TamHavPolis; June 21st, 2008 at 10:39 PM.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 08:02 AM   #483
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You make some very good points. I find it disgusting that the government has allowed intercity rail service to deteriorate into its current pathetic state.

What is the opposition to high speed rail in this country? Why do we invest so much in roads and so little in rail?

And what is ironic is that the US road network is woefully inadequate as well. This country suffers from a severe infrastructure deficit across the board.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 09:34 AM   #484
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TamHavPolis View Post
I hope that Amtrak uses some of this cash to upgrade its existing networks. There seems to be a lot of focus on upgrading the DC - New York route, which already has relatively high speed trains that make it more convenient in some cases to air travel.

Meanwhile they have all of these aging routes down the East Coast that could be upgraded a lot more cost-effectively than the lines served by Acela. Train travel is definitely up - I considered buying a train ticket from Tampa to New York because of the rising cost of flight (used to be able to get $150 round trip a couple of years ago...) The two trains they run daily from Florida to Washington - Silver Star and Silver Meteor, are both booked for weeks.

However, these routes still take about 20 hours because of ancient infrastructure and frequent stops. I'd consider taking the train up if I had multiple stops to make on the way, or if I weren't in an enormous hurry. As it is, trains are somewhat attractive because a) flying isn't all that cheap anymore; b) driving is horrendously expensive; c) I wouldn't have the headaches of driving cross-country; and d) I wouldn't have to deal with the hassles of post-9/11 air travel.

I think Amtrak's priorities should be expansion and upgrade of their rolling stock, followed by track and tunnel construction to cut travel times. Imagine if it were possible to travel Florida to DC in 8 hours. I'd take that over flying any day.

And that's not to even mention that Amtrak's gaps in service are nuts. There's no direct way to get from Tampa to Atlanta - to do that by train I would have to travel to DC, and then DC to Atlanta - over 30 hours of travel time. I can drive it in 8.

I'm guessing that such gaps are a relic of the old private lines that Amtrak took over - Amtrak has been essentially babysitting most of these lines without any regard for the ways in which route demand has changed. There really ought to be something of a hub and spoke system in the long range planning, with major hub-hub routes equipped for high-speed travel, and then slower spoke routes.

If gas prices stay high, I bet there will be room in the budget for finally advancing train travel in this country beyond the 1930s.

I haven't ridden Amtrak along the East coast, but I pretty much agree with what you had to say.

It'd be nice if they had multiple trains going on some of their routes too. I was going to take Amtrak to Cleveland a while back, but their schedule sucks. The train arrives (from Chicago) is 6.05am. So I'd have to carry my stuff with me until check in at the hotel. The train departs (to Chicago) at 3.45am. I usually don't wander around unfamiliar cities after dark, I can't even imagine making my way to a train station at 2.30am.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 11:43 PM   #485
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TamHavPolis View Post
And that's not to even mention that Amtrak's gaps in service are nuts. There's no direct way to get from Tampa to Atlanta - to do that by train I would have to travel to DC, and then DC to Atlanta - over 30 hours of travel time. I can drive it in 8.

I'm guessing that such gaps are a relic of the old private lines that Amtrak took over - Amtrak has been essentially babysitting most of these lines without any regard for the ways in which route demand has changed. There really ought to be something of a hub and spoke system in the long range planning, with major hub-hub routes equipped for high-speed travel, and then slower spoke routes.
Amtrak used to have a Chicago-Florida route called the Floridian. I think it ran through Cincinnati to Chattanooga to Atlanta to Jacksonville. I'm not sure why they got rid of it, but to me that's one of the three biggest holes in the network. The other two are the old Sunset East route from New Orleans to Jacksonville, and the Los Angeles to Las Vegas route, which had been serviced by Amtrak's Desert Wind from LA to Salt Lake City.

My first priority would be to double or triple the amount of rolling stock available, both to replace ancient (pre-Amtrak, in some cases) cars and to make more frequencies available on existing and new routes. To me, the long-distance routes need a minimum of four daily frequencies spaced more or less 6 hour apart. That would allow for a morning, afternoon, evening, and late-night departure/arrival in every city.

Then once that's done, start putting money into the track and making speeds faster.
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 04:51 AM   #486
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OK, I was wrong about the Floridian route

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Old July 6th, 2008, 03:33 PM   #487
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What exactly does this railway do?

Shuttle freight between the port and handling/loading yards??
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Old July 6th, 2008, 08:38 PM   #488
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It's the connection between customers in the port and the major railway companies that transport the goods all over America, Canada and Mexico.

They transport the wagons from the ports and/or companies in the NO area to the big yards were the big longhaulers shunt the wagons into the right trains on the big routes. The smaller local companies can serve local areas much economically and also on the service front they're better because of the local knowledge etc.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 10:52 PM   #489
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Why is America's rail system so pathetic?

Asia and Europe get it, why can't we? A high speed bullet train could make it from NYC to Miami in 6 hours. NYC to Montreal in 2 hours.

Apart from the northeastern megapolis, our country seems to be very disconnected. Is it the people, the government..what is the reason?
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Old July 16th, 2008, 10:58 PM   #490
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Because of the air system
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Old July 16th, 2008, 11:04 PM   #491
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I think its the transportation department and the people. The USDOT does not have the money to build a high speed train in dense areas because the cost of land is very high in urban areas in the US. Everything is expensive in the US because IMO, everyones only out to make a big profit unlike in Asia and Europe. The people prevent a HSR because of displacement and property values, as well as cost. Also many people used to driving in the US are not very willing to just start using mass transit.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 11:05 PM   #492
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Quote:
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Is it the people, the government..what is the reason?
Duh governments probably see no reason whatsoever in happily following the half-steppin' powerbrokers whose imagination taxes their fears too much at losing their cornered market (markets? hell no!). Automobiles are instrumental at their quashing imagination.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 11:05 PM   #493
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Exactly. Air travel is quite cheap, and faster. However, with increased security issues in Europe, the train can be faster. Nobody is gonna sit 60 hours in a train from NYC to LA if you can do it by plane in like 5 hours.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 11:21 PM   #494
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It's because back in the 1950s the Big Three, oil companies, rubber companies, etc all conspired to take out all the streetcar systems.

Once that was done the passenger rail system was gutted.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 11:40 PM   #495
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When You have a good highway system and a public which owns an average of two cars why would you need trains.
ADD to that fact that flight tickets are not so expensive and it's a quicker mode of transportation why would anyone need trains.
But I would like to see better trains on american tracks.
There are more trains in the west that go on a sceinic route and they are relatively fast.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 11:58 PM   #496
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"The USDOT does not have the money to build a high speed train in dense areas because the cost of land is very high in urban areas in the US"

Yeah but we have the money to send the Space Shuttle up and money for military.
And now offshore drilling?

So basically it is our country's greed that fails us with rails.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 12:33 AM   #497
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Canada's system is probably worse. I've heard that it's sometimes faster to take the bus than the clumsy GoTrain
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Old July 17th, 2008, 01:03 AM   #498
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Hmm.... I don't use the GoTrain very often, but when I do I've never had a problem. VIA is a great way to travel as well, but the price is disgusting.

As for in the US, I think it mostly has to do with people not wanting to use trains, choosing the convenience of car travel. If enough people wanted increased train development, there would be so. Perhaps with the rise in gas prices we will see increased attention on train travel in America.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 01:06 AM   #499
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Quote:
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the clumsy GoTrain
Uhh, that would be its track, not its rolling-stock self...
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Old July 17th, 2008, 01:08 AM   #500
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Density. Asia and Europe were forced to be more dense than the vary spacious US. As such, the US could afford to use cars to get around and have huge airports. That is starting to change a little bit as some cities are reaching the end of their sprawl capability. It explains why you're seeing a rail revival in cities and now we're even getting more pushes for HSR (the most prominent being in California).
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