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Old July 23rd, 2008, 06:19 PM   #581
drunkenmunkey888
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The U.S. is a very low-density country so high speed rail would not be efficient. The northeast has densities approaching that of Europe and Asia, which is why a pseudo-high speed rail is viable, ie: Acela. Apart from the crowded northeast, there is absolutely no reason to invest in rail transport b/c its just too inefficient. Why aren't people asking why Australia and Canada lack significant high speed rail systems? Why is a country like China, with comparable size investing heavily in HSR?

Answer: rail is a density dependent investment and areas under a certain density make HSR unfeasible
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 09:15 PM   #582
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The US is a country where there is a high demand for short-haul air travel. If oil becomes too expensive, electrified high speed rail will become the viable alternative.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 04:33 AM   #583
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriszwolle View Post
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.
When in the air, planes are are faster but you are not considering all of the delays that make air travel a big ******* hassle.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 04:34 AM   #584
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Why are people even bothering to bring up a nationwide HSR network? This was never an aim by anyone.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 04:35 AM   #585
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Originally Posted by Judge Phillip Banks View Post
Its not about greed. Where is there the demand for a highly connected rail system outside the Northeast? The convinence and affordability of air travel has made a good train system pointless. And so has the highway, car, and cheap oil. High gas prices will probally change transportation patterns in the future though.

Offshore drilling? What does that have to do with anything aside from a random attack on Bush who just signed off on a great idea? A great idea that any sane country would have done years ago.
Off shore drilling is a horrible idea. Invest in conservation, mass transit, and renewables.

Air travel is a mess in this country. I take it you don't fly. Long delays, higher fares, and safety concerns are the tip of the iceberg.

Intercity rail was hugely popular in the U.S. before governments tore up their cities and reinvented them around the car. People use cars and planes because that is all they have available to them. Give people more options, and I guarantee they will use HSR.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 04:39 AM   #586
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Originally Posted by Judge Phillip Banks View Post
^agreeing on a very expensive, high speed rail in a region made up of many different states would naturally be a hard sell.
But spending billions on highways is OK?
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Old July 24th, 2008, 04:42 AM   #587
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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?
Yes the density is high enough to support rail.

And laying new track is less expensive and consumes less ROW than building freeways. There is no legitimate reason to oppose HSR unless you are a ******* ***** for the oil industry.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 04:45 AM   #588
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Originally Posted by Chicagoago View Post
Why MUST we have a very well developed rail system? It's pathetic because it hasn't been developed. God forbid we don't do everything like Europe.

We designed our system around cars for close travels, and our enormous air travel system for longer trips. It worked fine for us for decades, and is now coming under pressure because of rising oil prices.

Yes it needs to be addressed and we're currently in trouble, but so many people are acting like since we didn't use the high speed rail scenario when we developed transportation in the country that we're BASTARDS.

We developed air and auto over train. We chose to do it and even though it has its problems, that's what we settled on decades ago. SORRY. I'd love to have a local high speed rail system in place, but I'm a little annoyed at all the high and mighty people who just wander through these threads bashing and yelling at the Americans now that our transportation needs to be addressed.
So you are upset that people on here want things to change? How dare they!

Relying on the car and plane has led to insanely high per capita CO2 emissions in the U.S. plus ridiculous sprawl and traffic congestion.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 04:49 AM   #589
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Yes, THSR is the Taiwanese high speed rail project. Korea's KTX also had significant cost overruns, which is why I am doubtful 2 non-primary American cities would be in line for such a multi-billion dollar investment. Considering past government support for such big projects such as Boston's Big Dig was not a very pleasant experience, I highly doubt politicians would want their names behind anything supporting such a huge expenditure. 30 billion dollars is a lot of money.
Well America has spent nearly $700 BILLION in Iraq and there are plenty of politicians supporting that ******* war so your argument is shit.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 04:51 AM   #590
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Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
Well America has spent nearly $700 BILLION in Iraq and there are plenty of politicians supporting that ******* war so your argument is shit.
Just because the government decided to spend a few hundred billion for oil doesn't mean they'll shift the money to create HSR even if the war in Iraq never happened. Money doesn't rotate from one objective to another so easily. No government works like that.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 04:53 AM   #591
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Originally Posted by Arizona92 View Post
HSR is a socialist scheme to rip off individual liberties (like driving your car) in America and to make people depend on the nanny state which provides everything but takes away all your freedom. America, please don't fall for this and don't give up your gas guzzlers, your guns and your bibles unless you want to become like the Workers' Paradise Maoist Freedomless Europe. Go McCain!
I hope to god you are joking.

Since when does HSR force people to not drive a car?

How does a nanny state take away freedom? Please refer to which constitutional amendments are violated by a "nanny" state.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 04:59 AM   #592
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chafford1 View Post
The US is a country where there is a high demand for short-haul air travel. If oil becomes too expensive, electrified high speed rail will become the viable alternative.
The demand for short haul air travel is there because it is the only choice people have!!
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Old July 24th, 2008, 04:59 AM   #593
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drunkenmunkey888 View Post
The U.S. is a very low-density country so high speed rail would not be efficient. The northeast has densities approaching that of Europe and Asia, which is why a pseudo-high speed rail is viable, ie: Acela. Apart from the crowded northeast, there is absolutely no reason to invest in rail transport b/c its just too inefficient. Why aren't people asking why Australia and Canada lack significant high speed rail systems? Why is a country like China, with comparable size investing heavily in HSR?

Answer: rail is a density dependent investment and areas under a certain density make HSR unfeasible
America is a low population density nation because of places like Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana.

HSR would work wonderfully along the NE corridor from Richmond to Boston, across the entire Midwest, SE, Pacific coast, and Texas. The demand and density is there.

And our nation's clogged and inefficient airports would receive much needed relief by introducing HSR.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 05:02 AM   #594
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Just because the government decided to spend a few hundred billion for oil doesn't mean they'll shift the money to create HSR even if the war in Iraq never happened. Money doesn't rotate from one objective to another so easily. No government works like that.
The government most certainly could reallocate money if it wanted.

The point is that if there is political will for an initiative, large sums of money can be found. This happened with the interstate highway system and it sure as hell can happen for HSR.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 08:44 AM   #595
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HSR would interface nicely with the boom in downtown development in cities across America. Rail would be vastly preferable to air or car travel for medium-length trips. I should be able to get from Chicago to St Louis in an hour and a half.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 09:20 AM   #596
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Originally Posted by trainrover View Post
I don't understand how Montreal keeps getting tapped into HSR wishes...it's too expensive a destination for (N) America to be negotiating toward (sorry, Montreal)...
Why would it be too expensive?
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Old July 24th, 2008, 09:32 AM   #597
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Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
The government most certainly could reallocate money if it wanted.

The point is that if there is political will for an initiative, large sums of money can be found. This happened with the interstate highway system and it sure as hell can happen for HSR.
The process would be far different. If the Iraq war disappeared overnight, the savings will not likely be a major reason why certain other projects can be funded. They still need to go through the political process, analyzed for its merits, then approved by Congress if it's something as big and expensive as a HSR network. I doubt Congress would want to approve something based on the fact that the government has saved a hundred billion dollars so let's start a crazy spending spree on anything that drops on their plate. I would strongly believe that questions will continue arise over the enormous cost of building HSR and whether the perceived benefits can justify the investment cost. Then the wavering politicans can be won over by the flushed coffers argument. But then, are politicians willing to take on such a huge gamble for their own political survival when a multi-year project such as a new HSR network can span a few presidencies? Who knows if the next change in government will put the brakes on this?
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Old July 25th, 2008, 08:58 AM   #598
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To a certain extent, almost everyone here is partly right. There ARE regions where fast trains would be competitive with planes, and probably have enough latent demand to sustain passenger rail.

Just not High Speed Rail(tm)... as in, "spare no expense, costs be damned, 180mph or nothing at all".

Like it or not, the Federal Railroad Administration has imposed regulations on passenger trains that share tracks with freight trains. And they define "share" in the loosest, broadest, most all-encompassing sense of the word. You can have a train that runs for 400 miles on its own elevated tracks, but if it runs through a mile-long tunnel or over a causeway that EVER might be used by even a single freight train at 2am on random Thursdays in May, it's officially required to be a rolling bank vault capable of surviving a full-speed head-on collision with a mile-long freight train hauling cement. It sucks, but it's not going to change anytime soon.

The biggest consequence of those regulations is that the difference in cost between launching 110mph passenger rail and launching 111mph passenger rail is in the billions of dollars for a hypothetical passenger rail line connecting 3 obvious metro areas -- Miami, Tampa, and Orlando. FDOT has studied the matter to death, and every single time they've come to the same conclusion: 110mph passenger rail wouldn't just be viable -- it would be profitable. But no-compromise HSR would hemorrhage money forever, and never come close to covering its daily operating costs, let alone generate enough revenue to ever pay down its construction debt.

Why? 110mph trains can have grade crossings. They have to be "sealed", with quadrant-barrier gates and other safeguards, and in the long term most crossings WOULD eventually be made grade-separated... but it's not a non-negotiable prerequisite for launching service on Day One, when you might only have enough business to justify 4-8 trains per day between each city pair. With 110mph service, those trains have to cover the construction debt of roughly $3-5 million per mile -- the cost of throwing down another track in an existing rail corridor and improving the crossings, but otherwise leaving everything "as is". It's not free... but it's not cost-prohibitive or terribly outrageous, either. Put bluntly, it's politically "do-able" and can actually happen.

With 150-180mph service, those trains would have to cover construction debt of $25-100 million per mile starting from Day One of revenue service. Guess what... they wouldn't even raise enough revenue to pay the interest at that point, and the principal amount would just keep compounding and compounding faster than revenue from the service itself could ever possibly grow. That's the real reason why HSR isn't viable right now anywhere in the US. Today, there's almost zero market and consumer demand for passenger rail. That would change if HSR were available, but it would take time to change... time that you just don't have when you're paying interest on $20 billion in construction debt.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that HSR might be "perfect", but it's NOT going to happen anywhere in the US anytime soon. But 110mph service that's convenient, reliably on-time, and comfortable IS coming to most of the corridors identified on the "HSR map" within the next 10-15 years... as long as passenger rail advocates can manage to NOT shoot their cause in the foot by holding out for "true" HSR. The fact is, if push comes to shove, and rail supporters decide to hold out for "HSR or nothing"... they're going to get their wish, and get "nothing".

As for fuel costs, most of the scenarios mentioned ($5,000 plane tickets?!?) are wildly exaggerated. The fact is, if you draw a pie chart of expenses faced by airlines, their single largest expense isn't fuel or salaries... it's the capital cost of leasing or owning their jets. The airlines were bleeding money back when oil was $28 a barrel. They'd be bleeding money even if jet fuel were free. Here's a little secret: the airlines are losing money, but the holding companies that own them, AND own the planes that they lease to themselves, aren't nearly as destitute as they want everyone to think they are. It's all a big shell game. Airlines like American & United, that are literally tangled webs of interrelated ownership agreements will be on the brink of bankruptcy forever, because that's their most profitable state of being for their REAL owners. It lets them cry to Congress for handouts, cry to the unions for concessions, then close the door and laugh all the way to the bank... with a bankruptcy every few years to wash away more old debt, liquidate old contractual obligations, and shuffle their assets around to other airlines -- all of which are ultimately owned by the same investors anyway.

Finally, the uniquely American obsession with turning passenger trains into rolling bank vaults has one positive benefit -- the same mass and strength that theoretically enables them to survive a head-on collision with a mile-long freight train makes them into much, MUCH "harder" targets to bomb. For all the good blowing up a suitcase-sized bomb inside a passenger coach would do, the terrorists might as well just toss around a couple of grenades. Or just forget about the train, and throw the same grenades into a crowd at a stadium, mall, or church instead. The point isn't that the train is invulnerable... it's that there are much "softer" targets available. If a plane catches fire after a bomb explodes, there's a good chance everyone on board is going to die, regardless of how many passengers were killed by the explosion itself. If a train catches fire, people can run into an adjacent car, or even smash out windows and take their chances jumping. Passengers on a train have a lot more "self help" options available in the event of an attack or emergency.

Last edited by miamicanes; July 25th, 2008 at 09:12 AM.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 09:26 AM   #599
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10ROT View Post
Why are people even bothering to bring up a nationwide HSR network? This was never an aim by anyone.
I think this was a rhetorical question. But I will answer

Lets build a subway/metro/tunnelbana . It´s like a train inside a tunnel.
::::

but you´d have to erase entire neighborhoods
It´s just too expensive
Has anyone ever built one that is profitable
i feel unsafe riding with bums
building one comes with social housing and the bums will come to us
it´s a death trap in case of a fire
but trains are outdated , my grandmother told me she used one once
I used one in Paris 1995 and it smelled awful
no one would use it
if it gets too crowded people are not able to get out when they want to
it is just too claustrophic for people what if the lights go out
the smoke from the locomotive will make me get lung cancer

just a straw man argument people use. Apparently contra views make people not understand pro arguments. Even if something was really a bad idea , people will always respond to their prejudiced views they think someone else is representing making it obvious people have not understood the other viewpoints. Listen to nimbys vs developers arguments . Those people are very often only talking at eachother without both sides not really got their opponents arguments
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Old July 25th, 2008, 10:06 AM   #600
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Excellent post Miamicanes.
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