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Old November 4th, 2008, 06:00 AM   #661
hoosier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spam King View Post
.

however, comparing US railways to europe is a bit unfair, most of america doesn't have the density to support rail travel, not to mention the distances involved. that being said there are many corridors which urgently need high-speed rail (and not some half-assed excuse like acela)
Actually, 80% of America is urban. The low population density of places like Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana skews America's average population density downwards.

There are many corridors in the U.S. dense enough to support HSR. Pretty much the entire country east of the Mississippi River as well as the I-10 and I-5 corridors.
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Old November 5th, 2008, 01:51 AM   #662
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80% is urban? I find that hard to believe and see that only being true if the definition of urban is set very low.

Just to give you an example, New Jersey is the densist state per square mile in the United States, but anyone who drives across it knows very well it is anything but dense, but mostly one giant suburban sprawl.

Another example is the state of New York. South of Rockland County lies some of the densest areas in the Country, however north of Rockland County (which is located way south of Albany) I am almost sure that trees outnumber humans by a rate of 15 to 1.
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Old November 5th, 2008, 03:09 AM   #663
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urban includes town of 5000 people...just because people live in towns doesn't make the country DENSE. also the size of the US means this "density" you seem to be talking about spread out over a much larger area
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Old November 5th, 2008, 05:43 AM   #664
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Last Friday, I was surprised to learn there being ten (10!) different fares for travelling from NYC to Wash DC on the Monday, where the lowest one cost 72USD and the highest 299USD. It's like there were ten classes of travel between the two cities. Are those fares considered regular (normal) to travel on that rail corridor?
I've not experienced the NEC, but I can tell you that Amtrak has a "bucket" pricing system. The first X number of seats sold are at their lowest price, or bucket. Then the next Y number of seats are sold at a higher bucket, and so on. There are usually five price buckets for a given type of seat. And on the NEC there are coach, business class, and first class seat types. So each train has at least two classes which would sell at different prices. And between NYC and DC, there are dozens of trains per day, with each train selling seats independently. So there could easily be ten or more different prices for that trip, depending on the seat class and time of day you choose and the bucket level for each.
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Old November 6th, 2008, 12:38 AM   #665
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I wonder if high speed rail system become realistic in USA just like California's proposed high speed rail passing (it is seem like it will be passed) will hurt Amtrak?
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Old November 6th, 2008, 01:14 AM   #666
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I wonder if high speed rail system become realistic in USA just like California's proposed high speed rail passing (it is seem like it will be passed) will hurt Amtrak?
The HSR will hurt Amtrak lines in California but that's all.

However, the Capitol Corridor between Sacramento and San Francisco will stay strong because there is no planned HSR route between those two cities.
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Old November 6th, 2008, 01:15 AM   #667
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I wonder if high speed rail system become realistic in USA just like California's proposed high speed rail passing (it is seem like it will be passed) will hurt Amtrak?
I think that Amtrak just needs to get the equipment and resources to construct a national HSR network which they would run and operate.
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Old November 6th, 2008, 01:27 AM   #668
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The HSR will hurt Amtrak lines in California but that's all.

However, the Capitol Corridor between Sacramento and San Francisco will stay strong because there is no planned HSR route between those two cities.
That is what I thought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
I think that Amtrak just needs to get the equipment and resources to construct a national HSR network which they would run and operate.
I agree. That will helps Amtrak to stay in business if they become part of HSR.
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Old November 6th, 2008, 04:54 AM   #669
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hoosier, there is a plan for HSR to Sacramento, however, it will not be occurring in the initial phase of construction. It will be a later spur hopefully if Altamont Pass will be used for that service.
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Old November 6th, 2008, 08:30 AM   #670
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Passenger trains gain favor with public, Congress
4 November 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) - After half a century as more of a curiosity than a convenience, passenger trains are getting back on track in some parts of the country.

The high cost of energy, coupled with congestion on highways and at airports, is drawing travelers back to trains not only for commuting but also for travel between cities as much as 500 miles (805 kilometers) apart.

Californians are considering selling billions of dollars worth of bonds to get going on an 800-mile (1,287-kilometer) system of bullet trains that could zip along at 200 miles (322 kilometers) per hour, linking San Francisco and San Diego and the cities in between.

In the Midwest, transportation officials are pushing a plan to connect cities in nine states in a hub-and-spoke system centered in Chicago.

The public is way ahead of policymakers in recognizing trains as an attractive alternative to cars and planes, said Rep. James Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

"I think we're at a transformational point in intercity passenger rail service," said Oberstar, Democrat-Minnesota.

Amtrak, the passenger rail service that struggled for years to attract riders, drew a record 28.7 million in the year ending Sept. 30. That is 11 percent more than the year before and the sixth straight year that ridership has increased. Ticket revenue hit a record $1.7 billion, a $200 million increase from a year earlier.

Rail travel is gaining greater favor in Congress, which provides the subsidies needed to keep Amtrak rolling. Lawmakers are trying to find ways to deal with high energy prices, congested and aging roads and bridges, and an air traffic control system that relies largely on World War II-era technology.

Congress passed legislation this month that sets a goal of providing $13 billion over five years to Amtrak; it's a major vote of confidence for the railroad. The measure also encourages development of high-speed rail corridors and contains $2 billion in grants to states to enhance or introduce new service between cities. The money still must be appropriated.

President Bush, an Amtrak critic who has opposed anything more than minimal money for the rail service over the past eight years, signed the bill Oct. 16.

With the economy in crisis and credit tightening, rail supporters acknowledge there is uncertainty in securing all the money, especially when competing with highway and aviation lobbies for any additional transportation dollars.

Congress has "a lot of mouths to feed on the transportation side," said Joe McHugh, Amtrak's vice president for government affairs.

Unlike Europeans, whose cities are connected by passenger rail networks, relatively few Americans travel by rail except in the popular corridor from Washington to Boston, in parts of California and routes extending from Chicago. Outside the Northeast, ticket fares usually do not cover direct operating costs.

Critics say it is unfair to require people in areas where there is no Amtrak service or infrequent service to subsidize the train travel of people in the few corridors where there is frequent, fast service.

"I do not think you can justify many, perhaps most, of the routes Amtrak is running," Sen. Jeff Sessions, Republican-Alabama, said during Senate debate last month. "Fundamentally, the romantic view that we are going to have some sort of major international rail system does not seem to be realistic."

Still, some states are pushing for more and better passenger train service. In California, voters will decide Tuesday whether to launch the most ambitious rail project undertaken by any state. The ballot measure would authorize nearly $10 billion in bonds to pay for planning and construction.

Proponents say a high-speed rail system could help reduce congestion at California airports, lessen dependence on foreign oil and decrease greenhouse gases. Critics say the state could be forced to raise taxes to pay off the bonds, and the money would be better invested in urban transit systems and highway construction.

In the Midwest, expansion of the passenger rail network is supported by Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Some cities that would be in the network have passenger train service to Chicago -- Obama's hometown -- but it is often slow and infrequent. The regional plan calls for using 3,000 miles (4,828 kilometers) of existing rail rights of way and introducing modern train cars and engines operating at speeds up to 110 mph (177 kph).

Obama's transportation plan pledges support for Amtrak and calls for development of high-speed rail networks across the country as a means to conserve energy and boost the economy.

His Republican opponent, John McCain, has been a persistent critic of Amtrak's reliance on subsidies. Obama co-sponsored the recent Amtrak bill; McCain voted against it.

Gov. Ed Rendell, Democrat-Pennsylvania, said higher gas prices and concern about dependence on foreign oil has made people more willing to invest in passenger rail.

"There is an appetite for city-to-city rail," Rendell told reporters recently. "Why should we be different than any other country in the world? You go to Europe and you can't get an airplane to a city less than 200 miles (322 kilometers) away."
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Old November 7th, 2008, 10:30 PM   #671
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I'm riding the Southern Crescent tonight from Atlanta to Charlotte for the weekend...I've never used Amtrak before, so this is an experiment for me. There was only one departure time and it gets in at 1:30 a.m. - so not the most convenient situation. But an airline flight was about $50 more and with airport wait times and all Amtrak takes about 1-2 hours more than flying (and driving).
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Old November 9th, 2008, 02:24 AM   #672
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Hoping for photos
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Old November 9th, 2008, 04:23 PM   #673
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Hoping for photos

No photos...mostly because it was dark and rainy. The trip was decent - the train interior and seat were very similar to an airplane, only with more leg room. It felt as if we were moving very slowly though...a little slower than one would drive a car on the highway. We definitely need HSR if rail travel is ever going to catch on again in the U.S.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 06:13 PM   #674
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No photos...mostly because it was dark and rainy. The trip was decent - the train interior and seat were very similar to an airplane, only with more leg room. It felt as if we were moving very slowly though...a little slower than one would drive a car on the highway. We definitely need HSR if rail travel is ever going to catch on again in the U.S.
You enjoyed your trip though? Good to hear. Was it dark the whole way? A large part of riding the train is the view, which doesn't work if it's dark.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 01:08 AM   #675
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You enjoyed your trip though? Good to hear. Was it dark the whole way? A large part of riding the train is the view, which doesn't work if it's dark.

Yes...it was dark the whole way - departed Atlanta at 8:30 p.m. A view is something probably would have helped the trip not seem as hellishly long. I would just recommend to anyone planning a trip on Amtrak to bring along plenty of entertainment...books, crossword puzzles (I did 3 Sunday NY Times puzzles), music, laptop, etc. A lot of passengers slept, but I can't sleep on planes or trains for some reason.

Last edited by WeimieLvr; November 11th, 2008 at 09:01 PM.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 01:04 AM   #676
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Amtrak has a "bucket" pricing system
Ten shallow, rotten pails

Oh! Beech Grove ain't the name of Car #10001; it's the name of its depot.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 02:12 AM   #677
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Oh! Beech Grove ain't the name of Car #10001; it's the name of its depot.
Yes, Beech Grove is the name of Car #10001.

Also, Beech Grove Indiana (in the southeast metro Indy area) is home of one of the main Amtrak repair shops. The shops are referred to as Beech Grove.
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Old November 17th, 2008, 06:51 PM   #678
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Hmmm, some Amtrak manager told me (in between my pair of postings about the peculiar passenger car) that Beech Grove was the name of their/one of their maintenance facility/ies. Do you know what the purpose of its observation turret is (pretty please!) Thanking you again in advance.
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Old November 18th, 2008, 04:40 AM   #679
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Hmmm, some Amtrak manager told me (in between my pair of postings about the peculiar passenger car) that Beech Grove was the name of their/one of their maintenance facility/ies. Do you know what the purpose of its observation turret is (pretty please!) Thanking you again in advance.
Well, that manager is correct... it IS the name of one of their maintenance facilities. AND, it is also the name of Amtrak car #10001:

According to this, that turret houses a camera.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 05:48 PM   #680
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Alright; good, coz that's what I tried relating to the gentleman over the phone.
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