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Old July 18th, 2008, 12:45 AM   #521
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Nope
Hmmm, just as I thought: ours are later than yours.....oh well.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 01:05 AM   #522
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I'd kill for Colombia's rail to be like the US's
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Old July 18th, 2008, 02:33 AM   #523
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^agreeing on a very expensive, high speed rail in a region made up of many different states would naturally be a hard sell.
Maybe if you look it at from a short-term outlook, yes.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 02:58 AM   #524
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High speed rail in the US is fairly viable, basicly it requires two major urban areas no further apart than 800 miles and ideally less than 600 miles apart.
Which would make current HST technology highly competitive with air travel. For those who don't believe it, read the article below.
You shouldn't be expecting or advocating cross-continental HLTs, even with the fastest maglevs this couldn't become a reality. But the shorter distance intercity market is viable for HSTs. The train could simply replace the plane at such distances. The only problem is the US government's (and public I suppose) unwillingness to invest some serious bucks into it.

Planes versus Trains
Europe's high-speed trains are taking away market share from airlines and there does not seem to be any way to stop them.

By Cathy Buyck
Air Transport World, January 2008, p.38

LET THERE BE NO DOUBT: EUROPE'S HIGH-SPEED TRAINS are on a mission to increase their competitive clout over their counterparts in the air.

[...]

He also admits he is taking advantage of these circumstances to grow his footprint. For the SNCF boss, the threshold between airline and HST travel is about 3.5 hr. for the business traveler"when traveling at 300 km./hr., short-haul is up to 1,000 km."and up to 6 hr. for the leisure passenger. Not all HSTs, however, run at 300 kph and in Europe high-speed is considered 240 kph on HS tracks and 220 kph on classic ones.

Making Tracks

[...]

[Air France]'s experience with TGV is unequivocal and in line with the so-called LEK arithmetical model, which calculates the evolution of market share as a function of travel time. "High-speed rail wins significant market share . . . on routes with journey times of three hours or less," concludes Bordes-Pages. "A two-hour train journey gives the HST operator a 90%-95% market share, a three-hour journey 60% and four hours 38%."

The proof: The first TGV started service in 1981 between Paris and Lyon, cutting journey time on the 480-mi. trip from 4 hr. to 2 hr. At present, SNCF offered 25 frequencies each weekday between the cities, with service every half-hour between 6 and 9 a.m. and 4 and 8 p.m. It holds a market share of 90%, leaving AF with just 10%.

Rail held 22% of Paris-Marseille air/rail traffic before TGV Mediterranean went into service in 2001, cutting the trip from 4.40 hr. to 3 hr. In four years the rail share rose to 65% and in 2006 it was 69%. Following the subsequent opening of TGV Est last June, which slashed travel time between Paris and Strasbourg from 5 hr. to 2 hr. 20 min., AF trimmed capacity to several eastern cities including Metz.

Other examples are as compelling. Since the first revenue-earning Eurostar trains ran in November 1994, they have established a dominant share of the rail/air market across the Channel: Eurostar has about 70% of the London-Paris market and 65% of London-Brussels. Bmi discontinued its [Heathrow]-[Charles de Gaulle] flights last April. The slide in favor of rail likely will increase further, as the HST operator shaved another 15-20 min. off travel times following the opening of a new high-speed line in the UK last November (completion of the 68-mi. High Speed-One line took more than 10 years and cost £5.8 billion) and a new rail hub at St. Pancreas International, which received an £800 million facelift.

Iberia is anticipating passenger traffic will decline by 35% when the AVE connection between Madrid and Barcelona (600 km./373 mi.) is fully completed, reducing the train journey time to 2.5 hr. from 6 hr. In 2006, IB transported some 2.7 million passengers on the route of whom more than 1.5 million used its Air Shuttle services that do not require a reservation.

[...]

Unreal Pricing

[...]

"Of course airlines would argue HST operators are subsidized," an amused Pepy responds. "One should not confuse the train operating company or airline company with the infrastructure providers. I do not confuse AF and ADP, I do not confuse BA and BAA. There are plenty of subsidies to airports like there are plenty of subsidies for high-speed tracks, but we are paying for track access." He continues: "We do have profit-and-loss accounts. TGV reported a net profit of about 10% on revenue last year. This is the reason why Air France is interested in operating TGVs."

[...]

On a networkwide average, HST tickets cost 50% less than the equivalent airfare, Pepy reckons. "But some of our off-peak offers are just unbeatable," he adds smugly. "[AF KLM Group Chairman and CEO] Jean Cyril Spinetta often states that SNCF is a low-cost carrier. I would not use the same words, but from the passenger point of view we are a low-fares company. Definitely."

[...]

Strange Bedfellows

Air France codeshares with SNCF on a dozen TGV routes from Paris CDG while Lufthansa codeshares with ICE on the Frankfurt to Cologne and Stuttgart routes. AF stopped flying on routes such as Paris-Lille and Paris-Brussels in 1995 and 1997 respectively. [Lufthasa] dropped its four [Frankfurth]-[Cologne-Bonn] dailies at the start of this winter schedule. "We operated the route with 50-seat CRJs and it was not viable. Our customers preferred the 55-minute ride on the ICE trains," says VP-Hub Development and Capacity Management Frankfurt Jorg Hennemann, who adds that he is all for intermodal transportation. FRA has a double railway station on its landside, one for regional trains and the long-distance station that opened in 1999.

Competition or cooperation, train versus plane "too black and white way of looking at it," he argues, describing it as "a perfect example of a very good and complementary system." LH makes "good use" of it "because it is a competitive advantage compared to other hubs in Europe," he says.

However, he does not fear the competition from the Alleo JV between SNCF and Deutsche Bahn, which operates the new French-German HST link that shrinks journey times between Paris and Frankfurt from 6:15 to 4 hr. and between Paris and Stuttgart from 6 hr. to 3:40. "I reckon that the journey time is borderline for a business traveler. Besides, over 80% of our traffic from Paris is transfer."

[...]

"Air France waits impatiently for the French train market to open up for competition so we can launch, with a partner, our own TGVs," Bordes-Pages confirms. The timeframe? "If the domestic market is open in 2010, we will have AF TGVs running in 2010."

[...]

read the full article here: http://www.atwonline.com/magazine/ar...articleID=2177
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Old July 18th, 2008, 04:51 AM   #525
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I'd hate to imagine how ******* awesome the US's mass transit systems/intercity high speed rail/general transport systems could be had the Government spent the money they used in Iraq on developing real public transport across North America.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 06:08 AM   #526
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Hey, I live in Philadelphia along the Northeast Corridor (or BosWash) and the train service still sucks. It's cheaper to take a bus to NYC or DC and it will take about the same amount of time (or less) than train. Also, I think that we should have a Maglev line connecting all the cities from Boston down to DC and maybe later extend it to Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Miami. Many cities in the Atlantic coast are too close to each other for air travel. Well, here's my proposal for the Maglev stations:
Boston-(Providence?)-Hartford-NYC-(maybe somewhere in NJ)-Philadelphia-Wilmington, DE-Baltimore-DC

later extension: DC-Richmond, VA-Charlotte-Atlanta
branch: Charlotte-Jacksonville, FL-(Tampa/Orlando?)-Miami
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Old July 18th, 2008, 06:10 AM   #527
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here is the website for the California High speed train that will link Downtown LA and Downtown SF in the first phase in 2.5 hours. its on the ballot this November.

http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/

its a great site. maybe someone can post the pics and vids?
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Old July 18th, 2008, 12:29 PM   #528
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Originally Posted by ImBoredNow View Post
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.
The highway system and car ownership argument also applies to Europe though as does the cheap air fares, you can fly pretty much anywhere around Europe for less than $100 return.

Nobody is going to take a train from NYC to LA but nobody takes a train from Edinburgh to Istanbul, Helsinki to Lisbon or Stockholm to Palermo unless they are a leisure traveller with lots of time on their hands, these distances are so great that planes are much quicker.

Where High speed trains DO have a speed advantage over both cars and planes is on trips of say 100-600 miles. There are a lot of places in the US where this could work; Bo-Wash corridor, around the mid-west, California, Florida etc

But then you have the additional problem of density within the city itself, a central rail station is fine for visiting downtown offices and inner city areas but many US cities are quite spread out so you need good local public transport to get you from the main train station to your final destination. If the local transport is not convenient then rail loses its time advantage over the car for shorter trips and people will just drive the whole distance.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 01:16 PM   #529
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Originally Posted by Jonesy55 View Post
Where High speed trains DO have a speed advantage over both cars and planes is on trips of say 100-600 miles. There are a lot of places in the US where this could work; Bo-Wash corridor, around the mid-west, California, Florida etc
Some good points in that post. I just wanted to comment on this one. Over time, that distance where train beats plane is going to go up. Back when high speed trains started, a cruising speed of 225 km/h was considered to be pretty fast. Now, the Paris-Strasbourg line is running at 300. Alstom's new AGV is going to have a cruising speed that's over 350.
Meanwhile, new planes have mostly been about greater efficiency/capacity, a passenger jet's speed has definitely not gone up by 50 % in the last couple of decades. Boarding times, a damn important portion of travel time on these distances, certainly haven't gone down.
At 400 km/h speeds, you're going to see trains outrunning planes on routes like Paris-Berlin, or Berlin-Milan, effectively covering a pretty large percentage of the continent.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 01:23 PM   #530
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I think it is something to do with the country being designed around the motor car.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 02:02 PM   #531
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Old July 18th, 2008, 02:42 PM   #532
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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?
You can be proud at your rail system for goods actually. However your passenger rail system is indeed pathetic for a wealthy country as the US is one.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 03:25 PM   #533
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The US is a huge country. Rail isn't so feasible except in the heavily populated areas where cities are close to each other such as the Northeast's Washington - New York - Philly - Boston corridor. Once the distance is over 1000km (or perhaps even half of that), then the cost of high-speed rail would be absolutely ridiculous. Air is the best way to connect everyone.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 04:33 PM   #534
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The USA has plenty of areas that can support HSR. I'm hoping one of the next presidential canidates will push it (doubtfull). The map below clearly shows the areas that can support routes.

http://tti.tamu.edu/publications/res...s/corridor.jpg
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Old July 18th, 2008, 05:01 PM   #535
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Can the population in some of these corridors support and sustain service? The ultimate question is whether the government needs to drain a lot of money for the regular upkeep when the route's economic feasibility is questionable.

For example, Atlanta to New Orleans seems to be a very long way and would be more feasible for air service instead. Given the cost of laying track for HSR, is it worth the investment?
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Old July 18th, 2008, 05:51 PM   #536
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"The US is a huge country. Rail isn't so feasible except in the heavily populated areas where cities are close to each other such as the Northeast's Washington - New York - Philly - Boston corridor. Once the distance is over 1000km (or perhaps even half of that), then the cost of high-speed rail would be absolutely ridiculous. Air is the best way to connect everyone."

Very true. And some of those places in Oklahoma and Kansas like being disconnected from the rest of the US.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 05:54 PM   #537
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For example, Atlanta to New Orleans seems to be a very long way and would be more feasible for air service instead. Given the cost of laying track for HSR, is it worth the investment?

I don't believe it would be worth it in the early years, but maybe as the technology becomes cheaper it would be a great idea because it would spur a whole new business and touristic relationship. Same goes for the other semi-minor cities on the map.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 06:47 PM   #538
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Can the population in some of these corridors support and sustain service? The ultimate question is whether the government needs to drain a lot of money for the regular upkeep when the route's economic feasibility is questionable.

For example, Atlanta to New Orleans seems to be a very long way and would be more feasible for air service instead. Given the cost of laying track for HSR, is it worth the investment?
Atlanta - NO is what? 700 Kms? Would take two hours by train, city to city. Getting to an airport and checking in takes about as long. After that a one hour flight, getting your luggage back, explain that your toothpaste is not a bomb, finding a cab to get from the airport to the city...

I also doubt that regular upkeep on a train track and a couple HSL's is going to be that much higher than what it costs to regularly inspect/maintain an airport and a fleet of Boeings. At distances like these, HSR is typically pretty price-competitive against airplanes.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 09:50 PM   #539
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Atlanta - NO is what? 700 Kms? Would take two hours by train, city to city. Getting to an airport and checking in takes about as long. After that a one hour flight, getting your luggage back, explain that your toothpaste is not a bomb, finding a cab to get from the airport to the city...

I also doubt that regular upkeep on a train track and a couple HSL's is going to be that much higher than what it costs to regularly inspect/maintain an airport and a fleet of Boeings. At distances like these, HSR is typically pretty price-competitive against airplanes.
350 km/h is going to be a very challenging speed unless the route doesn't stop along the way. How much will it cost to make such tracks available?

For comparison, the new Taiwan High Speed Rail connects Taipei and Kaohsiung, a distance of half that between Atlanta and New Orleans. Price tag was $15 billion.

That's the feasibility argument right there.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 10:01 PM   #540
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Yea, the Mountain West is really where any ideas or pramatism about cross country HSR go to die.

We should concentrate on regions first (Bo-Wash, Midwest, Texas, Cali, Pacifec NW, and Florida and go from there. Perhaps if Canda carried through its Windsor-Qeubec line that could also come into play.
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